One of the most sought after Carnatic classical vocalists of today,P Unnikrishnan was born on 9 th July 1966 to K Radhakrishnan and Dr Harini Radhakrishnan. The family home, Kesari Kuteeram, was a well known landmark of Madras city, with great grandfather Dr KN Kesari being an eminent Ayurvedic physician and the promoter of the popular Telugu women's magazine Gruhalakshmi . The home was known to be a beehive of artistes and singers with eminent personalities in the field often coming home to perform and also be rewarded by Dr Kesari. It is no surprise therefore that Unni should have taken to the arts at an early age. Cricket was however his first passion and it was his ambition to make it to the national level. But his mother had noticed his talents in music and enrolled him for classical music lessons under Sri VL Seshadri. Studying at the Asan Memorial School, Unni balanced his interests in music and cricket and progressed on both fronts.
He graduated from the Vivekananda College, Madras University in 1987 with a B Com degree. Music tutelage was now under Dr S Ramanathan, the well known musician's musician. Unni also graduated in cricket to become a part of the Tamil Nadu Senior Division League as a top order batsman and wicket keeper. Concert opportunities began coming in from 1990 onwards with the first concert happening at Palghat. His facile voice and musical talents were noted and with that he joined the league of young Turks such as Vijay Siva and Sanjay Subrahmanyan to bring back the fans to Carnatic Music. Cricket had to sadly be left behind though he continues to be a life member of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. Tutelage in music continued after Sangita Kalanidhi Dr Ramanathan's time with Calcutta Sri KS Krishnamurthy and later Smt Savitri Sathyamurthy as Gurus. He also attended a six month training programme on the Veena Dhanammal bani conducted by Sangita Kalanidhi T Brinda and Sangita Kalanidhi T Viswanathan. Unni did his General Law and Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations and joined Parrys Confectionery Limited where he worked from 1991 to 94. By then he had become a very busy concert artiste. It was in 1994 that he received his first film offer and the very first songs, ‘Ennavalae' (Kaadalan) and ‘Uyirum Neeye' (Pavitra) bagged him the National Award for Best Male Playback Singer. He can be credited with the bridging of the classical music – film music divide which had been last achieved with great success by KJ Yesudass.
Unni then bade goodbye to a corporate career and became a full time musician. He married Priya, who is trained in Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam, in November 1994 and the couple is blessed with two children, Vasudev Krishna, born on 27 th May 1997 and Uttara, born on 11 th June 2004. Unni remains a top ranking musician and still finds time to train under Sri PS Narayanaswami and Prof. SR Janakiraman. He is an A grade artiste with the All India Radio. Interest in sports continues with his finding time to play tennis and swim and as often as possible at the Madras Cricket Club where he is a member.