India’s Queen of Pop – Usha Uthup

Usha Uthup

Usha Uthup, formerly Usha Iyer is India’s Queen of Pop.  They say she introduced the western pop music influence to Indian music.

India’s singing sensation Usha Uthup has said her single greatest influence was Radio Ceylon. The radio station ruled the airwaves in South Asia in the 1950s and 1960s. Usha Uthup grew up in India listening to the All Asia Service of Radio Ceylon. The iconic Ameen Sayani who was also a presenter with the station,  gave her the opportunity of singing on the Ovaltine Music Hour over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon. Usha, with her powerful voice, has entertained audiences all over the world but her first break in entertainment was with Radio Ceylon. The All Asia Service and the Hindi Service of the station played her music across the Indian sub-continent.

She met Vernon Corea at Radio Ceylon when she travelled to Colombo in the lates 1960s and 1970s. She has performed in Colombo and she was interviewed over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon by Vernon. They became friends and years later whenever she visited London in the 1980s, she was a regular visitor to Vernon Corea’s office at the BBC which was located in what is now The Langham Hotel in Central London in the United Kingdom.

Usha Uthup was a frequent visitor to Vernon Corea's office at the BBC Langham which was situated in the 1980s, in what is now The Langham Hotel in London opposite BBC Broadcasting House.

Usha Uthup has the rare distinction of singing Sinhala baila music. She has been interviewed by Vernon Corea on his popular radio programme ‘London Sounds Eastern,’ on BBC Radio London 206.


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