Spinning Platters Interview: AR Rahman

by Dakin Hardwick on June 9, 2010

AR Rahman is a celebrated composer and pop songwriter. He is most famous for composing the Oscar winning score to 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, but also has more than 50 films to his credit. He is about to embark on his biggest world tour ever, opening June 11th at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York, and playing at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on June 26th.  He took a few minutes out his busy schedule to talk with us about the tour, his feelings about his current wave of success, and how he juggles so many projects at once.

Spinning Platters: What inspired you to take your show on the road in America?
AR Rhaman: I’ve toured America before, in 2005, we wanted to start this tour in America because most of the key people are here, like the director, most of the technical people, and I live partly here, so it’s easier to communicate and set up the whole thing here.
SP:How did you end up choosing Amy Tinkham (Britney Spears’ Dream Within A Dream Tour/Madonna’s Girlie Show, etc) to direct the show?
AR: We wanted a show different from our other tours, taken from another prosepective totally, more with a universal appeal. She came to us, and our visions came together. She has done a lot of big shows, like britney spears and all that kind us stuff. I think the energy of this show will be very unique and that’s what made us connect. We just finshed our rehearsals.
SP: What can we expect from this tour?
AR:The whole show is based on my 18 years in film music and other stuff I have been doing. And what we’ve done is take that stuff and give it a completely new interpretation and at the same time we will have a lot of colors of india in the show, and whole sections of the show which will be based on love, sensuality, spiritualilty, and tradition. We will be celebrating music, as well is bringing in a lot of new and innovative experiences that will be very different from other shows.
SP:Did you know that Slumdog Millionaire was going to be as big as it was early on?
AR:I think the vibe from the initial previews revealed that it was going to be a big film. Going by that sense, we could just judge the whole thing and went ahead and fully promoted it.
SP: How do you feel about the Pussycat Dolls cover of “Jai Ho”?
AR: It was intentional. When the opportunity came on the table we desired to do it because we wanted the song reach out in Europe audiences, and that did the trick. It went to number one in many countries. I also think the Nicole (Scherzinger) is a great singer, and we will be collaborating after that, too
SP: You seem to be doing several movies a year. How do you juggle working on so many projects?
AR: When doing movies, your time is divided. I will spend three days working on one song, then I’ll go and work on something else, and then go back to work on another song or spend a month working on scoring. I have ups & donws. I think that it’s good to keep in touch with people by doing constant work. It’s also good to break away and come back to a piece of work.Last year I spent almost four months doing “Couples Retreat” and nothing else, and I love that, too.
SP: I felt that you working on Couples Retreat was a surprise for you. How did that come to be?
AR: Peter Billingsley, the director came up to me, even before all the awardsand said that he loved Slumdog Millionaire, and said that he would love me to be a part of it. I wasn’t sure about of kind of movie, but it was great fun. I wrote several songs, and I felt that the pressure was lessened because it was a comedy, but it turned out very well.
SP: What music do you listen to on your downtime?
AR: I don’t listen to much music anymore because I have to spend so much time involved in my own music. Occasionally I will listen to classical music on the radio, or watch MTV to keep an eye on what’s going on in the pop side
SP: How do you feel about the influence of middle eastern music on current pop music?
-In a good way, I think cultures have to meet somewhere. I think that the whole idea shying away from something else is going away in the world. I think everything becoming inclusive is good for the world, especially music.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

David Price June 12, 2010 at 6:25 am

Haha! Never thought there would be a reason to re-watch Couples Retreat, haha!


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