Life’s been quite a journey. My career has been slow, yet steady. I like it that way. I never wished for overnight success. Neither did I want to rush through my career and suffer a burn-out.
I was never interested in studies. And honestly, I never felt I had it in me to make good music. I guess, the environment in which I grew up — dad neck-deep in music, my sister Bavatharini on the piano all the time and brother Karthik Raja constantly hooked on the latest music technology — just stirred me to take the first step. ‘Thuluvatho Ilamai’ and ‘Poovellam Kaettupaar’ proved to be turning points.
I see every director as a different brand. That way, it’s easy for me to compartmentalise my work. So I can easily switch from one film to the other and refresh myself when I hit a mental block. I don’t want my music to sound like a pastiche of other works. So I stop listening to my songs once the audio for a film is released. When I unwind, it’s usually with jazz.
Dad used to say it’s [live recording] the backbone for any musical endeavour. And I’ve realised that with time. So most often, my re-recordings are live. Technology does enhance music, but the warmth of a live orchestra is incomparable. Fans wrote to me after ‘Oru Devadai…’ (“Vaamanan”) saying the score had a divine quality. That’s because it was done live. Besides, I’m also conscious of the employment problem that technology-driven music creates.
My mind’s buzzing with scripts. I want to do something really different. A long-term goal is to open an orphanage for kids. I’ve envisioned something of huge proportions. But first let me make the money for it.
Dad is a man of few words. He rarely discusses my compositions. But I hear him humming my numbers to my nephew. The recent one is a hit from the Telugu flick “Oy”. A musical genius in the family is both a huge advantage and a disadvantage. I’ve absorbed so much from my father. But, at the same time, fans keep writing to me saying they expect more from me — because of my lineage!
Karthik Raja is immensely talented. It’s unfortunate he hasn’t got the right break. Be it technology, manuscript or knowledge of genres, he is thorough. I’m sure he will make it ASAP.
I’ve no regrets in my personal and professional life. Being a spiritual person, I believe whatever happens, happens for the good. I simply follow what dad says, ‘With music, you can reach out and spread happiness.’
I’m camera shy. But I had to do a portfolio for my world tour. So Karthik of Dreamcast and I worked in tandem and conceptualised the shoot. I wanted a rock star look. Possibly, with just a bit of the face showing. Since the show is full of surprises, I wanted the promo photos too to kindle curiosity.