She was born into a South Indian Family on 10th August and showed early signs of being a musical prodigy. She started playing the veena (a South indian classical instrument) at 3 1/2 years and gave her first public performance at the age of 4 1/2 years. At the age of 5, she started playing the Sitar and the acoustic guitar at the age of 12 years. Singing came just as naturally and from early on, she was exposed to varied musical influences of Carnatic, Hindustani, Western classical, Rock, Blues and Jazz. Her mother Smt, Shakunthala Chellappa, a professional Carnatic Musician (trained under stalwarts Padma Bhushan B. Rajam Iyer and Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu) and a sitar player too, was her first and remained the only influential musical teacher for many years to come. Nandini has a Post Graduate Degree (M.Sc) in Pure Mathematics and a degree in Information and Systems Management and is a lover of Physics. She quit working in the IT corporate sector to take up music as a full time profession.
Music Career :
Her talent was discovered by singer Hariharan whose recommendation got her her first break in playback singing for a Tamil Feature Film ‘Uyirodu Uyiraga’ for composer Vidyasagar. Since then she has recorded songs for feature films for various music directors including Shankar - Ehsaan - Loy,Anu Malik and Dhruv Ghanekar. She has contributed her compositions to feature films, ‘Chalte chalte’ - Brides Wanted, ‘Tu hai Bhatakta jugnu koi’ - Holiday, ‘Naram Pookal’ - Urchagam. Her vocal collaborations and live performances with Trilok Gurtu, Wally Badarou, Shri and DJ badmarsh, Richard Bona, Ranjit Barot, Lesle Lewis, Ashutosh Phatak & Dhruv Ghanekar, Sanjay Divecha make her an avante garde Indian singer. She has also performed live with Prasanna, David Gilmore, Rodney Holmes and Mike Pope. Her collaboration with Mahmood Khan on his album ‘Panah’ was released by Magnasound in 2001. She has prominently made her mark as a composer/producer in the Ad-film scene with her memorable jingles and scores for several Indian and International major brands. Besides singing and producing, she also specializes in vocal harmonies’ arrangements. She has also toured extensively and has performed at several venues and jazz/world music festivals which include Queen Elizabeth Hall, WOMAD, Sfinks World Music Festival, SXSW, Kala Ghoda Festival, Croydon Festival and many more. After many years of collaborations with various artistes, she has released her solo album ‘Beete pal’, featuring Kai Eckhardt (bass), Michael Pope (bass), Atma Anur (drums), Prasanna (guitar), Ed DeGenaro (guitar), Steve Zerlin (bass), Sanjay Divecha (guitar), Marc Layton-Bennett (drums) and Vivek Rajagopalan (kanjira).
She made a comeback into Bollywood with the song 'Bhare Naina' which won her critical acclaim for her rendition and also won her the Global Indian Music Academy (GIMA) Award as the 'Best Playback Singer of the Year' in 2012. After the release of Bhare Naina she has continued to give hits with 'Dil Mera Muft Ka' in the film 'Agent Vinod' teaming up with Pritam and again with Vishal-Shekhar with the song 'Duaa' for the film Shanghai. She has been a part of the acclaimed and star studded devotional album 'Ganaraj Adhiraj' 2012 with her song 'Tera Naam Ved Puran'.
End of 2012 she has again made a comeback into Tamil Film Music, this time teaming up with Yuvan Shankar Raja with a soulful song 'Aaha Kadhal' for the film 'Moondru Per Moondru Kadhal'.
The beginning of 2014 has seen her stepping into the Marathi film scene with a highly nuanced semi-classical rendition of 'Aisi Mori rangi hai shaam' for the film PostCard and also receiving more accolades and acclaim for her soulful rendition of 'Harjaiyaan' from the movie 'Queen'.