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Hyderabad Rock Artist Alluri’s Multilingual Album


Hyderabad-raised singer-songwriter and independent artist Shriram Alluri says that he was, “in an extreme way to put it,” lying to himself on The Man of Truth, his debut album from 2016. He says, “I was writing songs in English – even though that comes naturally to me – it wasn’t an accurate representation of my whole self, I suppose.”
As a result, he decided to write an entirely Telugu album, his mother tongue, which served as the foundation for his 2019 follow-up O Katha – Stories of This Telugu Man. While visiting Europe and operating out of cities like London along the way, Alluri eventually returned to India and opened up shop in Mumbai approximately two years ago. He recalls with a chuckle, “I was hearing a lot of Hindi on the streets and I don’t speak Hindi that well, only the Hyderabadi variety that people laugh at when I speak.


After O Katha, Alluri felt compelled to write in different languages in order to reach a wider audience. His third album, which has not yet been given a name, is a bilingual release as a result of it. There are songs in Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and Telugu, Punjabi, and a bilingual tune in all of those languages. “There may also be one in Bengali and Tamil. These two still need to be completed. Naturally, there are also some songs in English, the artist continues. Alluri claims that the album will be mixed in February after being recorded in the UK with production overseen by Razorlight’s drummer Andy Burrows.

Hyderabad Rock Artist Alluri's Multilingual Album

The themes on the album cover relationships and things that the artist feels strongly about, even if it’s a sport or specifically, poker. “I wrote a song about poker called ‘The River,’ but no one would know it’s about poker,” Alluri says. As someone who’s been a songwriter for about 15 years now, he says he’s far more comfortable with it now, adding fiction to lived experiences and vivid dreams.

To write this record, Alluri had to set aside what was going to be one star-studded album being recorded in the U.K. with punk-rocker Glen Matlock and bassist-guitarist Earl Slick (known for working with David Bowie and John Lennon). “It’s weighing on my mind to figure out having a good label behind you. Putting the word out on a record is always challenging. I’m still persevering,” Alluri says. With two albums in the bag, the artist feels there could be more potential to work with a label, but the search is ongoing.

Hyderabad Rock Artist Alluri's Multilingual Album

While there’s a multilingual approach to his next work, an album like O Katha gaining traction abroad (“I’ve been placed in the world music category to a certain extent. And because I play a bit of a rock-and-roll style, it goes into a regular festival, but on a slightly different level,” he says) has given Alluri his niche. Even though it was difficult to convince Telugu-speaking audiences, director Tharun Bhascker has commissioned a song for his upcoming Telugu film soundtrack. “He was alternative enough to sort of get what I was doing and he’s actually going to use one of my songs from O Katha,” the artist adds. Taking this route through film music, Alluri hopes he gets called to perform for more Telugu audiences all over the world.

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