HARIHARAN, the son of well-known Carnatic musician Smt. Alamelu Mani and Late Shri H.A.S. Mani, had his initial training in Carnatic music, but later switched over to the Hindustani style under the aegis of Padmashree Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Kahn. In the '80s Hari turned to ghazal singing. Since then, he's cut a variety of ghazal albums like Aaab-shar-e-ghazal with Asha Bohsle and Hazir with Ustad Zakir Hussain. Gulfam, released in 1993, won him the Diva Award for Best Album of the Year and he achieved Double Platinum sales for the same. In 1997 Paigam fetched him Double Platinum sales again. He has released 25 ghazal albums, four Colonial Cousin albums, three fusion albums, and a variety of other streams of music.
Since his debut in playback singing in 1977, Hariharan has sung over 300 Hindi film songs under various music directors. The song "Mere Dushman Mere Bhai" won him the National Award. Hariharan also has a number of Tamil songs to his credit.
In 1996, Hariharan and Leslie Lewis formed a band called Colonial Cousins, and the video for the song "Sa Ni Da Pa," from their self-titled maiden album, won the MTV Indian Viewer's Choice award in New York. The album also won the Best Album, Best Pop Song, Best Production Values, and Viewer's Choice Award in 1996 at the [V] Channel Awards Night.
Hariharan has performed various concerts for the Kargil Relief Fund and for mentally challenged children's institutions. He's also performed exclusive concerts for the ex-Prime Minister at Kumaragam in 2001 and at Goa in 2002. He rendered the invocation song at Parliament on January 26, 2000, during the centenary of Independence.