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Hard to believe! AR Rahman says he wants to become a better singer

AR Rahman, who recently performed at the United Nations on the occasion of Indian Independence Day, said he wants to improve as a singer before coming out with a non-film album. Sigh!

music Updated: Aug 16, 2016 18:31 IST
AR Rahman,AR Rahman singer,MS Subbalakshmi
AR Rahman performs at the Indian Independence Day concert organised at the United Nations on August 15, 2016.(Mohammed Jaffer/IANS)

He has two Oscars, two Grammys and a host of other awards. But showing his characteristic humility, music maestro AR Rahman says he wants to become a better singer before he can cut an album of non-film music.

Asked at a news conference here on Monday if he had plans for such an album, he said: “I want to do that, but I want to become a better singer.”

What was the secret to his creativity, he was asked. Beyond everything, he said: “There is truth; you channelize that in your consciousness.”

He added: “Greatness comes from recognizing the divine.”

Listen Kun Faya Kun from Rockstar here:

Rahman was in New York for an Indian Independence Day concert in honour of MS Subbalakshmi, who became in 1966 the first Indian to perform at the United Nations.

Read: Watch AR Rahman makes music out of thin air

Part of the culture of growing up in Chennai was “looking at the aura” of Subbalakshmi, he said.

About the musical influences, he said he was open to all music influences. “There was Carnatic and Tamil music all around and Hindustani.

Listen to MS Subbalakshmi singing Maithreem Bhajatha here:

“As I grow older, I respect the cultural foundations, with MS (Subbalakshmi) as the foremost,” he added.

Prakash Muthuswamy, who coordinated the UN concert, said Rahman created the Sunshine orchestra not with accomplished musicians, but by going to slums and other places in Chennai and looking for talented young people who have not had the experience of playing musical instruments.

Read: AR Rahman to perform at UN on India’s 70th Independence Day

He trained them at his own expense, taking care of their living expenses and education, even at the college level, Muthuswamy said.

Watch Thalli Pogathey from Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada here:

The Sunshine Orchestra performed at the UN concert on Monday.

Syed Akbaruddin said Subbalakshmi’s 1966 performance was like no other at the UN.

She had sung the Maaithreem Bhajatha 50 years ago when there was no talk of Sustainable Development Goals or of leaving no one behind, he said. These ideas now dominate global thinking, he added.

First Published: Aug 16, 2016 18:31 IST