1. How was your experience with Coke Studio Tamil?
It’s a completely different experience, because it is my first mainstream independent single. I got to meet different people and was able to build good rapport and relationships with other artists.

2. You collaborated with Arivu and Sean Roldan for ‘Sagavasi’. How was your experience through this collaboration?
Sagavasi is a song about co-existence and acceptance. Living with others in harmony by accepting them for who they are and acceptance of everything is the core soul of the song. I believe in this ideology and this helped me indulge more in this song. It is my first collaboration with Sean Roldan and Arivu. I learned a lot from them and they are too supportive throughout the process. The lyricist of this song is Arivu.

3. You had said at the launch that you have gone out of your comfort zone for this song? Could you tell us more.
Most of my songs have been melody and high vocal ranges, in this project I got the chance to explore low vocal ranges.

4. Is there any expectations from your family?
People are yet to be aware of my work and this makes me think that I should work more, so that people will understand that I’m my own individual in the music industry. Since I resumed after a long break, I have been listening to music slowly and steadily. There wasn’t any pressure from the family rather from myself but I had let myself forget everything and indulged in the song.

5. When did your musical journey start?
I learnt music right from my childhood and my family was also in this field.

6. What is the reason behind this big break?
I was in a phase where I was studying and doing an internship with NGOs, as I was getting work experience. I focused on that side and forgot everything else and suddenly got a comeback by God’s grace which is why I’m here today.

7. What do you like more – singing or composing?
I like both, I’m not a composer yet but I hope to do something meaningful.

8. What does music mean to you?
Music is spiritual, authentic and liberating. When I was recording Sagavasi, I was little upset with certain things and I channelised all my emotions in the song.

9. There is a saying, ‘’music heals’ do you believe in it ?
Yeah, I believe in it because it happened to me. I was healed through this song. Music is something divine.

10. What is your struggle as a musician?
Doing things in our own style is not easy, when we do Indie music we don’t get enough recognition and exposure unless you are in a label. If you’re a musician and you are creating music without the help of a label or film music for it to reach everyone is a huge thing.

11. Who is your mentor?
I have my teacher and some friends from my father’s studio and my father.
12. Have you shown your work to your father? Will you ask for some suggestions?
Sometimes, he gives suggestions. He always says keep trying, because sometimes even trying removes fears and thoughts like what if I fail. So now I’m in a mindset where what worse is going to happen if I fail and coming to this mindset took me a while.

13. Why do you think it took this much time to adapt to this mindset?
Maybe pressure or other factors.


1. How did the process of Coke Studio Tamil start?
I’m the curator and composer of Coke Studio Tamil. I got an opportunity to work with many different and contrasting artists through Coke Studio Tamil. I came to Coke Studio Tamil as an artist initially, but when I was discussing with the team how to make songs, they were interested and I got into Coke Studio Tamil. Since I was making music for movies, they were in a dilemma but after I came here as an artist they asked me to take over the project, become the composer and curator for it and I was very happy because I started my journey as an independent artist. So, Tamil music is not only about cinema, rather independent music also flourished here because of the richness of thoughts, philosophy, literature is very high, and there is a school of thought for spirituality in Tamil culture. Whichever walk of life you choose there is profound originality of thoughts, heritage and practices in Tamil culture throughout history. But laziness is rooted, when this profound knowledge is being recorded. The cinema industry failed to record knowledge because of various factors such as the market and economy but we cannot blunder the industry. And I thought of filling this void, and Coke Studio Tamil is a support and platform in doing this because independent music is happening only in colleges and festivals. When this kind of independent music is supported and encouraged by a big platform like Coke Studio I think independent music will get its recognition. This also encourages the market of independent artists and live concerts because watching a live concert is a different experience, it’s different from watching them on Television and mobile phones because the point is to interact and engage with other fellow human beings. Even though the foreign countries are technologically and economically developed, people over there have the culture of getting out and going to concerts.

2. Is there a craze for independent live music concerts?
Craze is secondary and it comes later but there is a habit where people go to the concert, interact with people and enjoy but the situation here is different. People don’t come up to interact with each other and we are trying to change that. Cities should open up for music because every city has its own music. Calcutta is a musical city because of so many concerts and events. It’s also happening here but there are many artforms and artists in Tamil Nadu and are scattered, when we bring it together in a single stage it becomes wonderful. This is happening because of the hard work of artists, all the artists come into one stage, this breaks all the divisions and discriminations. The audience will enjoy all the artforms and culture on one stage and Coke Studio gave me a great opportunity to do this. Artists like Madhav Chari, one of the finest jazz players, chose to live here in Chennai and play jazz. He could have been in New York but he chose to be here in Chennai and continue with his career here. There are many artists like this with many styles of music in Tamilnadu. That’s why Coke Studio Tamil is very relevant because the reason behind is that so many artforms of music and styles are there and are happening here in Tamil Nadu silently, so Coke Studio is bringing these artforms to public and public will love this because independent music, that is not only entertaining but it is also contemplative music, which will make the public think. Coke Studio Tamil will be a huge milestone to get the recognition it needs.

3. What are the unique things you have brought in?
We have brought artforms and instruments of the past and we have brought in new elements. We have brought in (‘Yazh)’ instrument, called a Harp, in European countries. It is an instrument used in the Sangam era. It’s been also mentioned in Thirukural and other Sangam literature. Don’t think of this as an instrument of the past and we don’t need to search 2000 years for the instrument. We can recreate the Yazh using the notes mentioned in the literature. Tarun Sekar, makes and sells, ‘Yazh‘’ with the help of the reference mentioned in Tamil literature. Culture is not a thing of the past, because we can recreate something from the past using literature. There is no need to say it was there 2000 years ago, a thing of the past. Culture is not only for special occasions and festivals, it’s for a living but if we want to take into our life we should take that social effort. And there are many like Tharun, who create new instruments, and this platform will be great a medium to introduce the instrument to the public. We have featured Parai, Veena, Jazz, brass in our songs. There hasn’t been a collaboration and interaction of Sufi and Carnatic music done but we have done that in the Urudhi song (a song about faith). We have also made a love gaana song, Daavula darling, where the soul of gaan is inclusive. We are trying to represent all the artforms which are present here in its truest form and it will make people think about people, life, land and humanity. We are trying to experience others, the humanity of all, through our music.

4. From an independent artist to a sensational music director. Can you share your journey with us?
I’m still on a journey, art is all about exploring and searching because the more we contemplate and explore, we can make better music only that will make the music valuable. Thiruvalluvar, Bharathiyar and Bharathidasan didn’t write for money rather for people. That’s why it thrives and triumphs and I want to give something valuable to the people, evolving and contemplating everyday is very important. We are thematic with the music where each song speaks about a theme, where Urudhi speaks about faith, Davula Darling, where the song speaks about soul and the character of Chennai loves scenarios. Vendum songs speak about responsibility for our actions.

5. The songs are very soulful and connect. Where do you get the ideas and what the process behind music and the lyrics?
Music is a deep communication. My aesthetic of music is to use a limited amount of meaningful words in the songs, where we express what we think and believe. Music is not about filling in unnecessary words in the song which contains fancy words just for its rhyming nature it should have deep meaning and purpose. Since you said soulful, my greatest inspiration is philosophy and philosophers. I have studied many philosophers, texts related to spirituality, rationality and everything has had an influence on me and everyone gives a perspective about the world. Ambedkar has a view about the world and Adhisankarar has a view about the world, both perspectives are contrasting but I get a new perspective through that. Love, compassion and humanity is my foundation and I’m trying to address this through my music i.e I’m trying to make people responsible for whatever actions they take because it has an impact on the world. Instead of suppressing pain you can accept it, and I’m trying to address it with music. I’m trying to make uncomfortables comfortable and comfortable people uncomfortable.

6. What are your struggles and challenges in music?
My challenge is just playing nonsense in the world, i.e, meaning actions are a struggle for me, a stressed human being is a struggle, the person who has everything and is crying for more is a struggle. The man who has all the knowledge and wisdom, yet he thinks he can’t do or change anything is a struggle. People are conflicted within themselves if that conflict gets perished all the struggles will vanish in all human beings. Working in self-interest is a struggle, when I do something I think other people also should get value from it and that has brought many obstacles and I have missed many opportunities because of not working with self-interest. Ignorance is spread all around the world and that is a struggle.

7. What is music to you?
Music is a vibration. It’s a power like electricity, and if we channel the power in the right. We can achieve anything. Music is a tool which has the potential to change the consciousness and thoughts of the world. It will make human beings as human beings and I think it is what I will try to do.


1. You have started from the base, you have done many performances and sang many songs, now you are one of the most famous singers in India. How do you feel about your journey as an artist?
It is an important journey, as many people wished for it, our ancestors and my community people, because they haven’t got an opportunity like this. With this opportunity, I’m representing many people, and their issues. I feel very happy about it. Each step in this journey is like an experience and I wish many people will get this experience.

2. How did your collaboration start with Coke Studio Tamil?
Initially, when I approached the Coke Studio I thought, I just had to sing but they asked me to curate the project. Previously, I had the experience of curating for “Casteless Collective”, “Roots”, “Margazhyial Makkalisai”, and that way I was connected to many artists. Now, Coke Studio, an international brand is collaborating for curation in Tamil, which makes me excited. I chose this particular platform because many independent artists can come into this platform and can adopt this opportunity, through me. It is a bigger opportunity when I think about others and I’m handling four songs in this project. Everyone will get an opportunity on this platform, therefore I collaborated with Coke Studio.

3. How was it to work with Sean Roldan and Kathija Rahman?
Sean will be the main curator in this project. I’ve already worked with Sean Roldan, and I’m once again collaborating with him for this project. He is an important person in the music industry. I’m always happy working with him. Apart from music, the way he understands and approaches things is learning for me. He has become like a brother to me through this project. We worked closely with each other, he had the same care for the song, as much as I had, and we were equally engaged, the efforts and dedication were mutual in completing this project. I see working with Kathija a great thing. She in herself is a bold statement, she always chooses to hide her identity as a star-kid, her social media presence has inspired me a lot, but I never knew that I’m going to work with her. When I got the opportunity to work with her with this project, I observed how she wants to convey ideas and what her thought process is throughout, and with inclusive discussion, the whole concept became much stronger. Sean Roldan , Kathija and I came to a point after a lot of discussion, where we wanted to convey about people’s togetherness, going beyond their identity, and this was the message we wanted to spread through our project. This was a concept in which we three believed in and we worked on it.

4. How did it come out?
It came out nice! Saghavasi was one of the four songs which I have worked on. All the four songs came out to be interesting. We did what we could in the moment, and we gave our best.

5. Your lyrics are really powerful. From where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics?
People are my source of inspiration; their experience teaches us a lot. There are many people who want to share their experiences with us and choose to avoid them. Sometimes the people who are close share their experiences which have a lot of depth and learn from it, or it may be a college scenario. I have grown seeing people around me and their problems, which became my point of inspiration. Art is one of the biggest tools we have with us. With this art we can make people’s heads turn towards us, and art can bring equality and harmony in society. This was the message which we see in my songs earlier, but now, my thoughts have changed, art is for celebration. Spreading positivity through my music was the change which I brought into my lyrics.

Injustice is the one thing which triggers my writing towards a song, but other than that I’m a calm person in terms of writing, rather than pressurizing myself thinking about an issue because injustice happens every day. I wanted to bring a solution, and not take a wrong path, so I started to write about issues with a calm mind. With Saghavasi song, I wanted to convey that shore and ocean coexist, seed and tree coexist and soil and mountain can also coexist, but then why can’t Human beings be together, everyone is equal in this ecosystem even a cockroach is a living creature, so with this thought process we wrote the song.

6. How do you see music being rated for an audience?
All this idea came after the music industry came into existence. But traditional Tamil music is what has lasted its time, and no one needs to market such music. If we see International traditional music, there has been evidence of Tamil traditional music influences throughout history, Tamil music has been a major root. Industry which has grown from traditional music, selling and rating music for specific kinds of audience for business, but traditional music has its own impact and has created a foundation for such an industry. Art has its own power to carry itself, we can’t categorize this particular art for this particular people, it is for all, just like our traditional music.

7. What kind of struggles does a musician face?
It differs from each individual. According to me, conveying a message to everyone in a convincing way is a struggle. I’m always stuck in a struggle of how I have to convey the message according to a particular emotion, music connects with everyone and if I want to convince the other person then I have to make it in a manner which appeals to him, therefore my struggle is this. The conflict is me and me only.

8. What does music mean to you?
For me, music is a tool, to communicate, to get educated, educate others, and to bring people together and remove barriers.