Jayachandran was born in 'Bhadralayam', Ravipuram, Ernakulam, and later his family moved to Irinjalakkuda. His father Ravivarma Kochaniyan Thampuran of the Cochin Royal Family was a learned musician, though not a professional singer. His mother Subhadra Kunjamma of Paliyam Swarupam was also a great music lover who encouraged Jayachandran to learn the notes of Mridangam at a very young age and with her support he could attain dexterity with the Mridangam. He began to sing devotional songs in churches at the age of 8. Jayachandran married Lalitha from Thrissur in May 1973. They have a daughter Lakshmi (b. 1975) & a son Dinanath (b. 1981). Now, both of them are married. He has at least one grandchild.
Jayachandran graduated from Christ College, Irinjalakuda. He was a student of the Irinjalakuda National School from where he received many prestigious prizes for playing the Mridangam and light music in the State School Youth Festival Jayachandran met Yesudas in 1958 when he participated in the state youth festival. Yesudas won the Best Classical Singer award and Jayachandran got the best Mridamgist award in the same year. He has won one National Award, four Kerala State Awards and four Tamil Nadu State Awards. He has recorded songs in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu andHindi languages. Jayachandran is also affectionately called the Bhava Gayakan.
In 1967, he sang the song Anuragaganam pole composed by M.S. Baburaj for the film Udhyogastha directed by P. Venu. Later together, P. Venu and Jayachandran produced more hits like Ninmaniarayile C.I.D. Nazir (1971) and Malayala Bashathan Prethangalude Thaazhvazha (1973). Jayachandran received the Kerala State Film Award for Best Singer in 1972 for the song Neelagiriyude ('Suprabhaatham')... for the film Panitheeratha Veedu. Its music was done by M. S. Viswanathan. The year 1978 brought him another Kerala State award, this time for the song Ragam Sreeragam from the film Bandhanam, composed by M. B. Sreenivasan. In 1985 he received the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song Sivasankara Sarva Saranya Vibho..., from the film Sree Narayana Guru, composed by G. Devarajan . The song Prayam Nammil.. from the film Niram brought him a third Kerala state award in 1998. In 1975, he sang for the Malayalam movie Penpada (with music by R. K. Shekhar)a song Velli then Kinnam Pol, regarded as the first composition of the then 9-year-old Dileep Shekhar, now more widely known as A. R. Rahman.
Jayachandran worked in close collaboration with the composer Ilayaraja, producing numerous popular hits in the Tamil language, including "Raasaathi Unna", "Kaathirundhu Kaathirundhu" (both from the 1984 release Vaidhegi kaathirundhaal), "Mayanginen Solla Thayanginen" (from the 1985 release Naaney raaja naaney mandhiri), "Vaalkaiye Vesham" (from the 1979 release Aarilirundhu Arubathu Varai), "Poova Eduthu Oru" (from the 1986 release Amman Kovil Kizhakaaley) and "Thaalaattudhey Vaanam" (from the 1981 release Kadal Meengal). In 1994, he received the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Singer for the song, Kathazham Kattuvazhi for the film Kizhakku Cheemayile, composed by A. R. Rahman. As a recognition for his contribution to Tamil film music, he was honoured with the 1997Kalaimamani award of the Tamil Nadu Government. Despite his popularity, there is an argument that he was sidelined by film music composers throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
Jayachandran was honoured with the Swaralaya Kairali Yesudas award at the beginning of 2001, which he was the first person to receive. The motive behind this award is to choose the best from the singers and lyricists within a span of 30 years. He has sung nearly 1000 songs for Malayalam movies over the years according to the MSI information database. Jayachandran, for the first time, sang in Hindi in 2008, for the movie ADA...A Way of Life along with Alka Yagnik, music scored by A. R. Rahman.• "Therirangum Mukile" – "Mazhathullikilukkam" (Malayalam)
Jayachandran debuted in films by playing a pivotal character in K. G. George's Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flashback after 3 years played a very interesting role inHariharan's Nakhakshathangal and later appeared in films after 26 years break in V. K. Prakash's Trivandrum Lodge, which stars Jayasurya in the lead role.
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