AR Rahman: My drawback is I don’t remember the lyrics to songs at concerts
Musician AR Rahman, who has composed music for films of different languages, says if one memorises the lyrics then it becomes difficult to hop from one genre to another.music Updated: Dec 05, 2017 13:05 IST
An artist who practically breathes and lives music, singer-composer AR Rahman doesn’t like to be tied down by remembering the lyrics. “In concerts, I don’t remember the lyrics to songs. That’s my drawback, because I like to move on and explore different things. When you memorise a song, you stay with it, and you cant just trip off and go to another zone,” explains Rahman, who recently performed at The Sufi Route concert in Delhi.
Explaining his stance further, Rahman says, “I love doing multiple genres, like working with a symphony, Sufi group, Rajasthani group, or a hip hop person, doing a rap... So, I like to be born again in music and I go there without any expectations.”
“I feel the only healing thing in life is love. Love could be romantic, divine, compassionate or kind, but that comes in the choice of the ragas or notes. It could become love songs, bhajans, qawwalis or anything.” — AR Rahman
Then there comes the role of ragas, which Rahman weaves beautifully with the romantic tunes. “As a human being, I have seen many things in my life. But I feel the only healing thing in life is love. Love could be romantic, divine, compassionate or kind, but that comes in the choice of ragas or notes. It could become love songs, bhajans, qawwalis or anything... Like Khwaja Mere Khwaja, if you put different lyrics, it will be a love song,” says The Mozart of Madras, and even sings a little, to explain his point.
Real life incidents have often provoked Rahman to write a melody: “The Bombay (1995) theme was inspired by the riots. And it was extremely opposite to what happened. I always feel blessed that as an artist you can do that. You can take something very raw and uninspiring, and do a completely contrasting thing to it, expressing it in a more poetic and beautiful way,” he says.
So, how does he bring himself into a particular zone to create that genre of music, for example, romantic? “There’s a lot of contribution from lyrics, too. Sometimes you are just doing the tune, which could be anything, but then the lyrics actually fill the whole void and make it complete. And I used to wonder, these are very similar tunes, then why did this tune become [a] hit and that one did not? For example when I do tunes, sometimes I give a melody which I think would be a hit to probably a smaller filmmaker (I always feel that I should not deny anybody), and another tune to another person. It’s also the way the filmmakers respected it, and the lyricists write on it... all these matter a lot. Sometimes good work gets unnoticed because it’s given to the wrong people,” says Rahman.
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