Whenever I was confused or felt low, I would just peep into his room and he would tell me ‘keep doing what you’re doing and listen to your heart’.
Uppalapu Rajesh is an Indian mandolin player in Carnatic classical music, a music producer and a composer. He is one of the most sought after classical artistes currently in India, having played with nearly all of the top musical stars in both north and south India, and has recorded a dozen or more albums. He is the younger brother of U Shrinivas, the notable mandolin player in Carnatic classical music, in India.
U Rajesh was born on 17 May 1977 at Palakol, Andhra Pradesh, as the youngest child of U.Satyanarayana and Kantham. In his childhood, his father and brother were his tutors in music. He started playing carnatic classical music on mandolin at the age of 6, and performed his first concert, at Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham in the presence of Shri. Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi.
He and his brother have performed in concerts together, and have released musical albums together.He is one of the directors of the music school, Shrinivas Institute of World Music (SIOWM), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, which is providing free musical tuition to the students.
Rajesh work with John McLaughlin's album Floating Point, received a Grammy nomination in 2009. He was the youngest participant in the Magic Mandolin Festival, (Germany), has performed at the Lincoln Centre, New York City, and has given concerts in BBC Live at London, Melbourne Concert Hall, Cité de la Musique, Paris, Greece, Canada, Middle-East, United States, and Europe.
He has performed live with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (with Dominique Di Piazza), KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, and Closer home (with Stephen Devassy). His music performance at New York in 2006, was voted among the best concerts of the year, by The New Yorker. He was specially honored by the President of India, in April 2007.
He has released solo albums, namely – Coromandel Duet (with A.K.Palanivel), Amalgamation, Vikku Vinayakaram, Spirits, Following My Heart and Into the Light. The musical album Samjanitha included himself, U.Shrinivas, Zakir Hussain, Sivamani, and George Brook. U.Rajesh has been involved in tours and recordings with many music artists in both North and South India, such as Ustad Zakir Hussain, Ustad Sultan Khan, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan, Louis Banks, Ranjit Barot, Mike Marshall, Sivamani and Pete Lockett, Karsh Kale and Greg Ellis, Bickram Ghosh, Kamal Sabri, Niladri Kumar etc. U.Rajesh in 2014, teamed with singer Karthik to form the band Srishti.