Though a software engineer by education and having earlier worked with the Oracle Corporation, Shankar’s interest in music made him venture into the field of music. He earned his first award as a playback singer in a Tamil movie, collaborating with A. R. Rahman and winning a National Film Award for his song in Kandukondain Kandukondain. A prominent star in the Kodambakkam film industry, he later gained more recognition by releasing his first music album called Breathless in 1998. He later got into music direction and became a part of the Shankar Ehsaan Loy trio, composing music for Hindi films. He enjoys a successful run with Fusion-Jazz band SILK with Louis Banks on Keyboards, Sivamani on percussion, Sridhar Parthasarathy on Mridangam and Karl Peters on Bass Guitar.
Shankar Mahadevan has also provided vocals for several compositions of Remember Shakti which features maestros like Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin, U. Srinivas and Selvaganesh Vinayakram. He was music director and singer for the famous “School chale hum” song that used to come on Doordarshan. He is also a mentor on Zee TV’s musical reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009.