Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki (born 23 April 1938), popularly known as S. Janaki, is an Indian playback singer and occasional music-composer from Andhra Pradesh. She is one of the best-known playback singers in South India and has recorded 48,000 songs in 17 Languages like Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Odiya, Hindi, Bengali, Tulu, Sanskrit, Sinhalese, Badaga, Punjabi, Urdu, Japanese, German, Latin and Arabic languages. Starting in 1957, her career has spanned six decades. She has recorded songs in more than 17 regional Indian languages and foreign languages. She has won four National Film Awards and 33 different State Film Awards. Her association with singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and composer Ilaiyaraaja is well known. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s her duets with P. B. Srinivas, S.P.Balasubramanyam and with Dr. Rajkumar were some of the most romantic duets in the history of Tamil and Kannada film music.
S. Janaki, who is known as "The Nightingale of the South", is a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Mysore and the Kalaimamani award from Tamil Nadu State Government.
In 2013, she refused the offer of a Padma Bhushan award by the Government of India, saying that it had come "too late" and that South Indian artists were not given their due recognition.
A book titled (World Record Book) Aalpanathile Thenum Vayambum, in malayalam authored by Abhilash Pudukad, details the life and career of Janaki.
S. Janaki was born on 23 April 1938 in a Telugu-speaking family in Pallapatla, Repalle Town, in Guntur, Madras Presidency, British India (now in Andhra Pradesh). She was interested in music from early age and started performing at the age of three. She learnt music from Sree Paidiswamy, a Nadaswaram teacher.
In her twenties, Janaki moved to Chennai on the advice of her uncle, joining AVM Studios as a singer. She started her career as a playback singer in the Tamil movie Vidhiyin Vilayattu in 1957. Subsequently, she performed in the Telugu movie MLA. She did sing film songs in six languages in her first year. She has also recorded devotional music of Meera. She picked a Malayalam lullaby "Amma poovinum..." from 10 Kalpanakal as her swansong of her 60 year singing career and retired on 11 March 2017 by a Kannada stage program in Bangalore.
Janaki was increasingly given work by music directors such as M. S. Viswanathan, K. V. Mahadevan, Sankar Ganesh, V. Kumar, etc.. But her combination with M S Baburaj in Malayalam is equalled to that of Lata- Madan Mohan in Hindi film music by many music critics. From the late 1970s to the mid-1990s she formed a strong singer-composer partnership with Ilayaraja in Tamil and Telugu. She was the favorite singer of Kannada music director G K Venkatesh and Rajan Nagendra and sung innumerable hits for them in Kannada.
Janaki says that the toughest song of her singing career is the Kannada song "Shiva shiva ennada naaligeyeke" from the movie Hemavathi. The song, which is in two different ragas, Thodi and Aabhogi, was composed by L. Vaidyanathan. Janaki prayed before recording it.
Janaki married V. Ramprasad in 1958; he died in 1996. Currently, she lives in Hyderabad with her son Murali Krishna.National Film Awards1977 – Best Female Playback Singer – (Song: "Senthoora Poove") 16 Vayathinile, Tamil Film1981 – Best Female Playback Singer – (Song: "Ettumanoorambalathil") Oppol, Malayalam Film1984 – Best Female Playback Singer – (Song: "Vennello godari andham") Sitaara, Telugu Film1992 – Best Female Playback Singer – (Song: "Inji Iduppazhagha") Devar Magan, Tamil FilmMirchi Music Awards2015 – Lifetime achievement award – SouthFilmfare Awards SouthFilmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South - 1997Kerala State Film Awards1970 – Best Female Playback Singer – Sthree1972 – Best Female Playback Singer – Pulliman1974 – Best Female Playback Singer – Chandrakantham1976 – Best Female Playback Singer – Aalinganam1977 – Best Female Playback Singer – Madanolsavam1979 – Best Female Playback Singer – Thakara1980 – Best Female Playback Singer – Manjil Virinja Pookkal,Chamaram, Aniyatha Valakal1981 – Best Female Playback Singer – Various films1982 – Best Female Playback Singer – Various films1983 – Best Female Playback Singer – Various films1984 – Best Female Playback Singer – KanamarayathuNandi Awards1980 – Best Female Playback Singer – Sri Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari Mahatyam1981 – Best Female Playback Singer – Sapthapadhi1983 – Best Female Playback Singer – Sitaara1985 – Best Female Playback Singer – Pratighatana1986 – Best Female Playback Singer – Aruna Kiranam1988 – Best Female Playback Singer – Janaki Ramudu1994 – Best Female Playback Singer – Bhairava Dweepam1997 – Best Female Playback Singer – Thodu1998 – Best Female Playback Singer – Anthapuram2000 – Best Female Playback Singer – Sri Sai MahimaTamil Nadu State Film Awards1970 – Best Female Playback Singer – Namma Kuzhanthaigal1977 – Best Female Playback Singer – 16 Vayathinile1979 – Best Female Playback Singer – Uthiripookkal1981 – Best Female Playback Singer – Moondram Pirai1982 – Best Female Playback Singer – Kaadhal Oviyam1999 – Best Female Playback Singer – SangamamOrissa State Film Awards1986 – Best Female Playback Singer – Sata Kebe Luchi RahenaFilmfare Awards1986: Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer – Nomination – "Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re (Saaheb)Special Honours1986 – Kalaimamani from the Government of Tamil Nadu1987 – Sursinger Award for Mayuri (Hindi Version)1997 – Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South2002 – Cinema 'Achiever Award' from the Government of Kerala2001 – Special Jury Swaralaya Yesudas Award for outstanding performance in music2006 – Favourite Female Playback Singer Vijay Awards2009 – Honorary doctorate from the University of Mysore for contributions to Kannada Cinema2011 – "Basava Bhushan" Award from Karnataka2012 – Evergreen Voice of Indian Cinema Vijay Music Awards2013 – Maa Music Life Time achievement award by Maa Music Awards2013 – Padma Bhushan Award from Government of India (She refused to accept it citing too late and too little)2013 – Lifetime Achievement Award from Udaya Film Awards2014 - The second highest civilian award of the Karnataka state, the Karnataka Rajyotsava award by the Government of Karnataka in 20142015 - Life Time Achievement Award from Radio Mirchi for Outstanding Contribution in all South Indian Languages [Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil]2016 - Life Time Achievement Award from SIIMA for Outstanding Contribution in all South Indian LanguagesOther AwardsFirst Recipient of M S Baburaj AwardFirst Recipient of P. Susheela trust National AwardFirst Recipient of V Dakshinamoorthi AwardMadhavapeddi Sathyam AwardVayalar Award for contribution to Malayalam Film MusicGeeta Dutt Award from Andhra Pradesh GovernmentChi Udayashankar AwardSangeetha Ganga Gayana AwardSangeetha Rathna by Sangeetha KalavedikaSinger of the Century AwardManna Dey Puraskaar in 2014Singer Jikki Award in 2014Dr.Rajkumar Award in April 2015First Recipient of Ramu Karyat Foundation AwardGulf Malayalam Musical Award
Most of S. Janaki's songs have been with S.P. Balasubrahmanyam. However, in the South Indian film industry, she also had a large amount of duets with Dr. Rajkumar, T.M. Soundararajan, P.B. Sreenivas, K.J. Yesudas, P. Jayachandran, Malaysia Vasudevan, Sirkazhi Govindarajan, Mano, Ghantasala and Ilaiyaraaja, etc.
In the Tamil cinema, although she had sung with S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Malaysia Vasudevan, T.M. Soundararajan, P.B. Sreenivas, Jayachandran and Ilaiyaraaja, she also had songs with singers like Unni Menon, Krishnachandran, P. Unnikrishnan, Shankar Mahadevan, Srinivas (singer), M.G. Sreekumar, Hariharan (singer), and Dhanush.
In the Hindi cinema, although she also sang a few songs with S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, she also sang some songs with Kishore Kumar, Amit Kumar, Suresh Wadkar, Bappi Lahiri, Mohammed Aziz, and Udit Narayan.