Music maestro AR Rahman is known for giving platforms to upcoming talent. Recently, as part of an initiative, he collaborated with a few budding artistes, who are popular names on YouTube. Here, he talks about young musical minds in India, and more.
How was the experience of collaborating with these artistes?
Some of them surprised me. I even met artistes who have not studied music, and have evolved musically without any coaching. If they are coached, they can reach another level. This is the kind of talent I want for my school, KM Music Conservatory (Chennai). There’s a nine-year-old boy [in my school], who used to play the drums. He was also interested in playing the piano. In six months, he learnt to play a piece that can take people 10 years to learn.
Did you learn something from these young artistes too?
It is a give-and-take relationship. There are certain things that naturally come to a person; you can’t teach those things. At the same time, you need to nurture talent to take it to another level. Sometimes, when you call a singer [to record a track], you expect him or her to learn the tune, and sing immediately. It’s frustrating when they come unprepared.
Several actors are trying their hand at singing these days. Who do you find the most melodious?
I’m looking forward to working with Kapil Sharma. He is a great singer.
How has working with international artistes helped you?
You can always learn. There is so much more creativity involved. I am an introvert. I compose music within four walls. And there I was, put in a situation where they’d be like, “Let’s do something… let’s play something.” And I was like, “I don’t do that.” And they were like, “Why not?” That opened up a lot of things [for me].
Do you plan to take your music school to other cities?
I think the place doesn’t matter. If you want to go to Harvard (Harvard University; USA), you have to travel. It’s not about expansion; it’s about how good it is. That’s what we are trying to do.
How do you keep reinventing yourself?
Everybody inspires me. Even the younger talent; they are so good. I like to practise for eight hours a day.