K. S. Chithra known as Chitra, is a legendary six time National film awards winning singer who has made her mark in the Indian playback industry. Known as the “Nightingale of South India”, she has sung in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese and Bengali films.
Born on July 27, 1963, in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala, into a family of musicians, Chithra’s talent was recognized and nurtured from an early age by her father, the late Krishnan Nair. He was also her first guru (teacher). Chithra received her extensive training in Carnatic music from Dr. K. Omanakutty, after she was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 – 1984. She is married to Vijayashankar, an engineer and businessman. Her only daughter Nandana, was born in 2002 in Chennai.
Chitra was introduced to Malayalam playback singing by M. G. Radhakrishnan in 1979. She made her debut in the Tamil film industry in Chennai under the guidance of film music composer Ilaiyaraaja.Poojaikketra poovithu song Film- Neethana Antha kuil is the first song in Tamil music by Illaya raja. Her knowledge of South Indian languages and Hindi enables her to render songs with originality and perfection. Ilaiyaraaja has contributed so much to Chitra's glory. Fazil was doing a remake his Malayalam movie in Tamil Poove Puchudava a strong subject movie with wonderful music of Illayaraja . Raja heard Chitra’s voice in the Malayalam version and got impressed by that and asked her for audition. Then her turn came for the movie Nee thana antha kuyil with a beautiful song “Poojaiketa Poovidhu”. “Antha Kuyil has incidentally become China Kuyil of South India”. Since then she has sung some wonderfully melodious songs mostly with classical overtures in Tamil Films and it is astounding that the Meastro Illayaraja & A.R.Rahman have fetched her some memorable songs leading to the National awards but nobody would have got the best singing virtues out of her than the Maestro. She gave a touch of vibrance and youthfulness to many Actresses in Tamil Cinema with her lovely voice.
Chithra has recorded thousands of film and non-film songs. During her career, numerous recognitions have come her way including six National Awards for best female playback singer.She is just behind Yesudas who has won 7 national awards as a singer. This is the largest number of national awards awarded to any female playback singer. She has also received 15 awards for the best female playback singer from Kerala State Government, 7 awards from Andhra Pradesh State Government, 4 awards from Tamil Nadu State Government and 3 awards from Karnataka State Government. She is the only playback singer to be recognised by all the four state governments in South India for her contributions.
Chithra has performed all over India, Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, France, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.
Chithra, who is a Grade A artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan, has established her own recording label, Audiotracs, to promote new talents in the music world by giving them opportunities to collaborate with her as singers, lyricists and music directors.