“During my initial tryst with music, recording in Rahman sir’s studio was definitely a stand out moment. It still is, honestly. When I stepped into that place, I was mesmerized. His long-time friend and guitarist, John Anthony was around. He cleared all our doubts about the technicalities and instruments. What a learning experience that was! Rahman sir wasn’t in town. But the day we were leaving, he returned. We stayed back to meet him and he was so humble and encouraging. That day is one of the most memorable days of my life. By this time, I developed a much deeper understanding of music. So, every time I listened to Ilayaraja sir or Rahman sir’s songs, I experienced something new and fresh. As a regular listener, you only hum and enjoy it. But when you start exploring music, you understand all the ragas and charanas. I was soon also introduced to metal, jazz and other such genres, which I didn’t know existed. It was an eye-opener for me. ‘There is so much in music, so much and I know so little’, I thought. You won’t believe, but even today, I go by the same policy. This whole idea of being famous or being a music director doesn’t get to my head. I know that there’s so much more to explore. Looking at the work outside in the world, I always push myself to do better. Our music here is so basic and simple. We’re often stuck with the mainstream format of duet and item songs, which I’m not very fond of. I try and work for movies with a strong story and which gives me scope to tell a tale using music.
Since then, I have been able to compose for a few movies and it’s been a pleasure. When Pelli Choopulu released, both Tharun and I didn’t have too many expectations. It was more a product of our passion and hard work. But it clicked off! I think, when you love something and put your heart and soul into it, things happen the right way. But throughout, it’s important for one to be ready to learn new things. I often come across aspiring musicians, who call me and ask me for a chance or recommendation. I don’t like that at all. I mean, you can’t ask me for a chance because you want to be something. You need to try and experiment with your music, play different songs and send me some fresh tunes. If I think it’s good, I’d call you myself. I’m always open to having new people on board. That’s the tip I’d like to give to all the upcoming musicians – try harder and don’t demand. Enjoy what you do, you’ll find a way soon.”
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