I Learnt from Dad – Yuvan

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Yuvan Shankar Raja is stepping into 25th year as a music composer. YSR, who started off as a music director with Aravindhan (1997),went on to do films like Poovellam Kettuppar, Thulluvadho Ilamai, 7/G, Rainbow Colony, Pudhupettai, Paruthiveeran and the upcoming Maanaadu. With 24 years of experience under his belt, and still breaking records, what with the chartbuster Rowdy Baby crossing over 1 billion views, YSR says that he is blessed to have come this far. When I started, people remarked that my father (Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja) was helping me. After a couple of years, they realised that I was on my own. The truth is that my dad doesn’t even know what I am up to. Back then, anything I did was compared to his work. So, I kept working without letting anything get to me. That apart, I’ve seen a major growth in technology from the time I started. From cassettes to CDs to online, a lot has changed in terms of sound and technology. But the concept of me going inside my room and creating music remains the same.

If the film’s director wanted a song with a particular emotion, I work on it that way. But what I do consciously is that I try and keep the album earthy so that the audience can connect to it. Working on folk songs has been challenging for me. Composing Yammadi Athadi was tough. I wouldn’t say folk isn’t my forte. But to think what can be done to that genre, can be a challenge.

I don’t make a conscious effort to work on a particular genre or choose between commercial and indie films. I learnt from my dad that a composer needs to be versatile. He would take up projects that are completely different from each other. I am passionate about movies but I go by the story. I see the film, get an idea, know what kind of audiences it reaches and work on the music.

I felt my life was getting monotonous. I woke up, went to the studio and worked on a genre the director wanted me to. at one point, I sat back and questioned everything I was doing. I wanted that breathing space and I am glad I took it.

It feels nice and it’s great working with Ajith our combination is working well. I also take some special effort when we come together. But while making music, I keep only his character in mind. Is he a cop or a don… Valimai work is going on in full swing and updates will follow.

Director Ram or Selva Raghavan, we work for the project, what the character wants, the mood and that’s how the magic happens. They give me their inputs as well. I feel they somehow know how to inspire me. For instance, in 7/G, Rainbow Colony, I like the protagonist’s character played by Ravi Krishna. That inspired me. Pudhupettai, too, had elements that pushed me beyond my boundaries

With Nenjam Marapathillai getting some fantastic reviews, We have composed two songs for the film Dhanush Selva Starrer. I am waiting for the lyrics, but Selva really likes the tunes. For me, I have to record a song. only then will I know if it works or not. We have recorded one song for Venkat Prabhu STR Maanaadu and still have a lot more to go. and yes, STR will be singing.

Rowdy Baby song I feel blessed. Dhanush and I never thought it would become such a big hit. When I saw the visuals of the song, the marriage was perfect. Prabhu Deva choreographer the groove, and the artistes made the song so popular. I feel a song should not be bound by time. Creating a song that lasts decades is a different feeling altogether. Tip for upcoming composers… Be different, don’t follow what others are doing. I listen to music from across the globe. I am tripping on Turkish music now. I am also listening to Guru Randhawa and Jazz. It’s a freeing experience. I choose a song if I like the groove and lyrics. I just walk in as a singer and come out of the studio.

Thanks Chennai Times

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