Thursday, 7 September 2017

In The Limelight: Aalaap Raju

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MILFF 2017 is happening this Saturday, the 9th of September 2017 at StarXpo Center in KWC Fashion Mall, starting at 5.30 P.M. Of the many talented singers that is going to be performing that day, I got the luxury of catching up with Aalaap Raju.  

Aalaap Raju burst into the limelight with the song “Enamo Aedho” from KO which also saw him fetch the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 2011.

Below is the transcript of the conversation between me and brother Aalaap Raju. Happy reading!

Question: Hi Bro, have you been to Malaysia before?  Is this your first visit here?

Answer: Yes I have been here numerous times for both personal and musical trips. This place is not new to me at all. Starting from so many venues like the PETRONAS Twin Towers and the other usual tourist spots. My favorite is also the local Malay food like Satay. I’ve got a lot of good memories in KL.

Question: Can you share with our readers a little background about yourself and your music career?

Answer: I am actually from a musical family. Both my mom and dad are singers (Jayam Raju & Latha Raju). At the same time my dad is also a music composer while my mom was a dubbing artist too and actress too. This is my roots and music has always been in my blood but I only entered the music world very late in my life (around the age of 20-21). Despite coming from a musical family, I am completely self-taught on singing and guitar playing.

Question: Building from what you mentioned, if you weren’t into singing when you were younger, what was your area of interest and how did singing come along?

Answer: It was sports and mainly cricket. I had this big dream that I wanted to be a cricketer but things changed when I figured out what was deep within me. Actually it wasn’t me who figured it out but it was my friends. It was just like when you are hum a tune while having a conversation like this and someone hears you. It was that casual and my friends figured it out and said “Dude why aren’t you singing?”

That’s how it started and I began participating in collage cultural shows. With that my interest shifted to base guitar specifically and singing. I took it more seriously and put in a lot more work because it was completely self-taught and I had no one to tell if it is right or wrong. I had to figure all this out by watching videos or going for live concerts. It is OK now but I would love to achieve much more.

Question:  As you mentioned, you come from a musically rich family. When you were young, did your family ever pushed you into music and how did they react when you entered the music scene in your 20’s?

Answer: My parents are very chilled actually. They wanted me to concentrate more academically when I was younger. Unfortunately they have seen the sour side of things in the music industry from their stand point. So they didn’t want me to go through the same thing but when I got into music, they didn’t stop me. In fact they were surprised that one fine day this guy is singing and playing guitar. They were really surprised and when they first heard me singing they were taken aback. The fact they weren’t pushy as a parent made it all the much easier.

Question: How did your breakthrough happen?

Answer: I was working in the IT industry for 6 years and when I figured out and made the jump, I was welcomed in the music industry because people had start noticing me as a musician. I would work in the office and go for recording in formals with my ID card. It used to look stupid but it’s ok because I was trying to manage to prove a point. And when I finally took a 2 months sabbatical (unpaid leave), I worked on an album and made a demo. That demo fetched me a song like Enamo Aedho. That’s how it happened

Question: What pushed you to make the switch from Aalaap Raju, the IT guy to Aalaap Raju the singer? 

Answer: To answer you in a single line, what pushed me was pure passion. That’s it. NEVER EVER LET GO OF YOUR PASSION.

Question: Have you ever had a moment any embarrassing moment while performing life on stage.

Answer: To be honest, the embarrassing moment I had was on a musical front whereby it is acceptable to a certain ratio. The maximum I have done is that I swallowed lyrics. It’s like when your mind goes blank while singing a song which you may have sung a thousand times. It is so unbelievable that it can happen on stage. It is more like a word flipping not the whole line. Or maybe when I am trying to address the crowd and my mind goes blank and I somehow manage it by telling them to clap something like that.

Question: What is the proudest year you have had in your career?

Answer: I would pick 2010. I became a father that year and I sang two back to back hits with Harish Jeyaraj, which was “Enamo Edho” & “Engeyum Kadhal”.  On April 18 2010, I started my own studio. That year was full of jumps, bumps and surprises which started reaping benefit the next year. For me 2010 was a big year.

Question: Final question, 20 years from now how would you want people to remember you?

Answer: First and foremost, for me what is important is that people remember that Aalaap Raju is good person. It may sound very cliché but believe me good karma is everything. Anything above that is a bonus. That’s very important to me and I would do anything to be that person.

Boggler Blogger With Aalaap Raju
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