He has two Oscars, two Grammys and a host of other awards. But showing his characteristic humility, music maestro AR Rahman says he wants to become a better singer before he can cut an album of non-film music.
Asked at a news conference in New York, if he had plans for such an album, he said: "I want to do that, but I want to become a better singer."
Prakash Muthuswamy, who coordinated the UN concert, said Rahman created the Sunshine orchestra not with accomplished musicians, but by going to slums and other places in Chennai.
Working With Youngsters
"He searched for talented young people who have not had the experience of playing musical instruments," Prakash Muthuswamy added, even as everyone looked in awe.
Training At Own Expense
He trained them at his own expense, taking care of their living expenses and education, even at the college level, Muthuswamy said.
The Sunshine Orchestra
The Sunshine Orchestra performed at the UN concert. Syed Akbaruddin said Subbalakshmi's 1966 performance was like no other at the UN.
Remembering The Legend
Subbulakshmi had sung the 'Maaithreem Bhajatha' 50 years ago when there was no talk of sustainable development goals or of leaving no one behind, he said. These ideas now dominate global thinking, he added.
Rahman's Upcoming Projects
In Tamil, AR Rahman is awaiting the release of Simbu's Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada. He is also working on Mani Ratnam's Kaatru Veliyidai, starring Karthi and Aditi Rao Hydari in the lead.
What was the secret to his creativity, he was asked. Beyond everything, he said: "There is truth; you channelize that in your consciousness." He added: "Greatness comes from recognizing the divine."
Rahman was in New York for an Indian Independence Day concert in honor of MS Subbalakshmi, who became the first Indian to perform at the United Nations in 1966.
Part of the culture of growing up in Chennai was "looking at the aura" of Subbalakshmi, he said.
About the musical influences, he said he was open to all music influences. "There was Carnatic and Tamil music all around and Hindustani.
"As I grow older, I respect the cultural foundations, with MS (Subbalakshmi) as the foremost," he added.
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