The Man behind the Hit Single "Rangoli" - Satthia

At what age did your interest for music first started?
I wasn’t a trained singer. My Dad used to sing for Vasantham shows. Other than that, I did not attend any singing classes to enhance my skills. I only started singing in the year 2008-2009 for one of my relative’s event.
My interest for music started at that point of time. I decided to curb the interest and started taking part in reality singing shows such as “Yaar Antha Star” and “Vasantham Star”. However, I did badly for one of the rounds in Vasantham Star, which eventually led to my elimination. Upon returning home, I felt that I should have given my best and shouldn’t have been eliminated at that point of time since I was doing well. I had a good number of supporters who liked my singing too.
People around me tried to motivate me by saying that I can still gain back my chance through Wild Card Round or such mistakes do happen and I have to move on from it. However, I wasn’t willing to give up. Then, I got the opportunities to appear in Music Videos (MVs) done by Vasantham and my music journey pursued.

Who was your pillar of support in helping you achieve your musical dreams?

I had passion for singing and music, but it was my parents who gave me the strength to realise my dreams. When I took part in the singing reality shows, my parents would give me suggestions on certain songs, saying that it would be good if I could sing them for my upcoming rounds. Apart from that, even my friends would show their love and support for me through their encouragements.

Is there a reason why you decided to make your own MVs?

I was very much interested in music composition. I wanted to be an Independent musician. Thus, I decided to do my own MVs . However, the path to making one wasn’t easy. I faced a lot of challenges while releasing “Adi Aathi”. After the year 2013, I had to temporarily stop my musical activities due to NS. Once I completed NS, I wanted to do music once again. Therefore, I started working on my first independent song “Adi Aathi”.

Initially, I wanted Sony Music to release my song under their record label. I even sent them a copy of my recorded track. However, even after 2 weeks, I did not get back any response from them. I was very much disappointed by it. That is when my very good friend Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam (ADK) encouraged me to release the song under my own Youtube channel. He made me believe in my work and thus, I took the step to upload my video under my own channel.

Within 24 hours of releasing it, the video garnered more than 8,000 views. For a local musician, it was indeed a huge achievement. That is when I realised that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who releases the content. What matters is how well has the content been done for the people to embrace and like it.

Why did you name the music video as “Rangoli’? What is the meaning behind it?

It wasn’t planned. Usually when I compose a music, the title of the song would appear in my mind out of nowhere. It would just flow with the rhythm naturally. Thus, I would decide to use it to compose the full song.

How long did you take to make this entire MV?

I actually started working on my second independent MV back in September 2017. Since the title of the song was “Rangoli”, which means colours, I wanted the setting to depict a wedding or festival scenario and to be shot in a house that is spacious and looks traditional. However, most of the houses in Singapore were all HDB flats.
I tried renting a bungalow that perfectly fitted into the type of location I was looking for. However, I wasn’t authorised to shoot on the premise and it was only exclusive for TV programmes. Since I couldn’t find any other houses in Singapore that met my expectations, I decided to go to Malaysia to recce for a place to hold my MV shoot. However, in Malaysia too I faced disappointment. Since I couldn’t find the type of traditional house I was having in mind, I decided to pack my bags and head to India to find the premise that well suited my imagination.
In India, I came to know of a location, where I could hold my shoot. Like icing on the cake, there was even a wedding celebration going on at the premise. To top it all off, a film director in the Indian film industry agreed to shoot the MV. However, a few days before I could head to India for the shoot, the director contacted me saying that the dancers who agreed to be featured in the MV were demanding for a higher payment. Thus, I had no choice but to continue my search in Malaysia once again.
While looking for a location, I was concurrently on the search for a production team to help me shoot my MV as well. I met a director in Malaysia and I shared my idea with him. He gave me the confidence saying that he could help me shoot the video in Malaysia itself. I was ecstatic and started making the preparations for the production of my next MV. However, during the shoot, things started going downhill. The director was not in his best form and had his own personal issues to handle. As a result, the end product of the shoot did not turn out well.
I brought back some of the raw footages to Singapore to review them. Only one or two shots seemed visibly pleasant. I could not use any of the other shots taken to edit my MV. I had to reshoot the entire MV once again and it was definitely going to cost me a lot. I had already spent my savings in making the initial one, which did not turn out well.

Thus, I had to take a break and put aside me ideas for a while to go and save up some money before resuming on my music plans again. This time round, I decided to complete my shoot in Singapore rather than traveling. I met a new set of production team in end April 2018 and completed my shoot by June.

How did you finalise on Prashalini to be the lead lady in the MV?

Prashalini wasn’t my first choice for the MV. During the pre-production period, my production crew and I decided to finalise on a Malaysian artist to appear in the video. She was a celebrity in Malaysia with a lot of social media followers. I needed a prominent face in my MV to reach out to the mass Indian community, which includes the Malaysians too. Thus, we decided to cast her.
However, a day before the shoot, she backed out from the project citing that her mother wouldn’t allow her to move ahead with the shoot unless she was paid more. I was at a loss for words and didn’t expect this twist. To me, it’s not about the money. I can still pay her the amount she was requesting for and go ahead with the shoot. But I was very much upset with her attitude and didn’t want to work with her anymore.
I was sharing about my worries to one of my good friends Janani Vasu, with whom I acted in the local Vasantham drama “Vetri”. I asked her if her sister, Prashalini will be interested in being featured in my video. Upon hearing the idea, Prashalini was very much afraid and hesitant since she has no prior acting experience. But her sister and I assured her that it will be fine as long as she does what the director instructs her to. She decided to give it a try and that is how she came into the project.
What are your future plans in the music career? Are you planning to make more MVs or venture into music composition for feature dramas too?

I was always interested in independent music. I want to make my own songs and albums. But I would definitely compose songs for local dramas if I have the budget and capacity to do so. I have composed songs for dramas like Iruvar, where I did the “Rasathi” song. If I get more opportunities, I’ll be more than willing to do it.

Currently you are acting as well. Which category would you give your first preference to? Music or acting?

Music of course. It has been my passion and zest all these years. Acting was something that I had only recently ventured into, even though I had an interest for it since young. When I got the opportunity to act, I decided to give it a try.
But I don’t see myself as a great actor.
I thought that I will quit being an actor if audience starts disliking me after my first drama. But since many said that I was doing a good job, I decided to continue on.

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