Chhod Aaye Hum Woh Galiyan for Gulzar’s Maachis (1996) was one of the first songs KK sung for a Hindi film. It is also one of the first songs about heartbreak and longing that he lent his voice; he went on to sing many more such songs both independently and for movies. Tadap Tadap Ke Is Dil (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam), Yaaron (from the album Pal), Sach Keh Raha Hai (Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein) are some of his most memorable soulful songs that have remained popular among music lovers. He was among the most successful Indian singers of the 2000s, and has recorded over 700 songs. He has recorded songs in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese and Gujarati language films.
Born on August 23, 1968, Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK, was brought up in New Delhi. He was an alumnus of Delhi’s Mount St Mary’s School and graduated from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. KK began his career by singing for advertisement jingles, and made his film debut with an AR Rahman soundtrack.
He was introduced as a playback singer with Rahman’s hit song “Kalluri Saaley” and “Hello Dr.” from Kadir’s Kadhal Desam and then “Strawberry Kannae” from AVM Productions’s musical film Minsara Kanavu (1997). He got his Bollywood break with “Tadap Tadap” from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999). Prior to this, he had sung a small portion of the song “Chhod Aaye Hum” from Gulzar’s Maachis.
In 1999, KK came out with a solo album titled Pal with Lesle Lewis composing the music. The album was arranged, composed and produced by Lewis. The lyrics were penned by Mehboob. The songs Aap Ki Dua, Yaaron and the title track Pal were on the lips of youngsters in no time, and also topped the music charts. Pal and Yaaron became friendship anthems.
His popular film songs included “Tadap Tadap” from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), “Dola Re Dola” from Devdas (2002), “Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai” from Woh Lamhe… (2006), “Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai” from Gangster (2007), “Aankhon Mein Teri” from Om Shanti Om (2007), “Khuda Jane” from Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), and “Tu Jo Mila” from Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), among others.
Some of his other upbeat songs that became big hits include Koi Kahe from Dil Chahta Hai, O Humdum Suniyo Re (Saathiya), Dus Bahane (Dus), It’s The Time To Disco (Kal Ho Naa Ho), etc. He has multiple songs to his credit from the films Main Hoon Na, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Life in a… Metro, Crook and Kites, all of which were musical hits.
KK has also sung many television serial songs like Just Mohabbat, Shaka Laka Boom Boom, Kuch Jhuki Si Palkein, Hip Hip Hurray, Kkavyanjali, and Just Dance. He has also sung the theme song for Star Parivaar Awards 2010 with Shreya Ghoshal. He was invited as jury member for a talent hunt Fame Gurukul.
He was a prominent part of Hindi film music, lending his voice to various genres of films, working with multiple music composers over the years. He is said to have been greatly influenced by the singer Kishore Kumar and music director RD Burman.