Shay Grewal from the C4 Family catches up with AR Rahman during his recent London concert and asks the man himself about his future plans plus his Foundation in India.

Shay Grewal meets A.R Rahman
A.R Rahman has become one of the world’s all-time top selling recording artists and has crossed musical boundaries whilst staying true to his love of Indian classical music. Rahman was catapulted into international fame when he won an Oscar for the soundtrack to the film Slumdog Millionairre and is in London for his world tour Jai Ho – The Journey Home. As I sat waiting to meet him in a London hotel I couldn’t help but feel excitement at the prospect of meeting one of the best producers and composers our generation has ever seen. A.R. Rahman has achieved worldwide success like no other and yet manages to stay down to earth and humble.

His music transcends all cultures and when I asked why he believes it is so universal he said, ‘when I started music I listened to all music and I thought I would love to see our music go across the world. This was the seed in my heart and if you have good intentions in your heart it always braches out.’ For many fans such as myself who have followed A.R. Rahman since the early days of Lagaan and Dil Se Rahman’s international success has been long overdue and I asked him how he felt to receive such awards as the Oscars, ‘It is a huge honour coming from an industry like Hollywood. But more than that it’s the joy of the people and it is a fantastic feeling to win. There are people who have been nominated 18 times…. so I’m thankful.’

A.R Rahman’s compositions are routed in classical Indian music so I was highly surprised to learn when he told me, ‘there are a lot of people I love to listen to and growing up I loved listening to Queen and Peter Gabriel.’ When asked about the UK music scene Rahman felt that it was forward thinking and very different to music around the world. He mentioned, ‘when sitting in the UK it forces you to think beyond. In India music is different to the UK and you need to be culturally sympathetic towards what they like.’

The A.R Rahman Foundation is one amongst many ways in which Rahman is channeling his passion of music to his fans. He said, ‘The foundation is fighting poverty and the route we have taken is to educate people. That education starts with music first and we are teaching Indian classical music to students in India.’ You get a real sense of love and passion for India when meeting Rahman and it seems wherever he goes and whatever he does his passion for India and classical music will always remain. As I asked him to give a message to the fans in the UK he humbly thanked everyone for buying tickets for his concert and said he looked forward to seeing us all there. Like his music he promises his concert will be a fun trip of energy and passion from start to finish, a journey many of us cannot wait to take!

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