I stumbled upon this interview Shankar Mahadevan gave to IndiaKnowledge@Wharton. There is a lot of good insights and advice for anyone who is pursuing music as a career, or as a student. A very good read indeed.
"You can definitely become a professional. You can definitely become successful. And you can become extremely popular even without learning music. But it all depends on what you want to do. How do you want to perform this art form of music: whether you want to approach it the real hard way by knowing every single technical [element] that is involved in a song? Why get into all that? Or you can just learn a few songs. If people are talented, they can just sing. But I feel that if you learn music the hard way and you know what you are doing [at] every step, you are a confident person. And you are able to face any circumstances, any situation, any form of music. You are able to absorb easily. And you will somehow stay on for a longer time because it is not superficial. You are a learned [person]. It is like any art form. It is like literature, for example. If you are well-read and you write something, there is a difference. There is an easy way out, too. But I think it always helps if you follow the path the correct way."