Kannaane Kanne, the song from Ajith’s Viswasam, swept the Tamil film music awards in 2019, and the soulful voice on the chartbuster track belonged to none other than young Sid Sriram. Today, with just 25 songs to his credit, Sid has turned composer for Mani Ratnam’s Vaanam Kottatum. He speaks to DC about VK and a medley of other interesting topics.
On hitting the bull’s eye: Actually, I never thought, it would happen in such a short period. Starting with AR Rahman sir with the film Kadal was a blessing. I still feel I am a newcomer in the industry. I have lot of goals and I am just scratching the surface now.
On his unique voice, and changing it to suit mainstream film music: After Adiye from Kadal and Ennodu Nee Irundhal from the film I, I did not get any calls from any composer. Probably, my voice did not get noticed then. But it didn’t occur to me to change my style of singing and adapt it to film music. As an artiste, as a singer and as a composer now, I believe a musician should maintain artistic integrity. I held to the way I sing..Thalli Poagthe in 2016 it was big turning point.
On people being able to identifySid Sriram’s voice: My voice was there right from my birth. I worked hard everyday and developed it. Now, when I compose or record or sing, I feel I am just a vessel. I don’t take the responsibility for the talent or the following I have. I go blank whenever I sing. I try not to think about this recognition. I want to give people something they can hold on to. But, I agree it is a beautiful thing and I keep going (smiles).
On his love for Carnatic music: Music is in my blood. My mom is a musician. She taught me from the age of three. My thattha Rajagopalan was an arranger. My first love is Carnatic music. I owe everything to it. Intellectually and vocally, it has given me a different perspective. For the last decade, I have been flying to the city for the December Carnatic season. After I started singing in films, a lot of youth have been attending and enjoying Carnatic concerts. I am proud of that.
On VaanamKottatum: I did have the vision of becoming a composer, but not just yet. As a playback singer, 2019 was a good year for me. Mid-year, I felt I was stagnating. I needed to push my artistic boundaries. Around that time I got a call from Madras Talkies for Vaanam Kottatum. I first met director Dhana and then Mani Ratnam. They told me they wanted a different-sounding experimental album. Mani Sir had watched and liked my independent album, which was in an uncharted path. He wanted a raw soulfulness and offbeat music for V.K. I felt it was a big task and took time to say ‘yes’. However, the learning curve with V.K. was amazing and in the process I pushed myself to the next level. I had discussions with Mani Sir at every stage,and realised I didn’t have to compromise. This album is something very special.
On having a mentor like Mani Ratnam: I am blessed. He encouraged me throughout. The vulnerability level while singing is within your control. But composing is different. There’s a lot offear and judgment. He said, ‘Don’t pay attention to anything external. Keep going and focus on the process’. That’s one important lesson I learnt.
On the ‘All Love No Hate’ music concert: I want to spread positivity through my music. That’s why it is called ‘All love No hate’. As a prelude, I wanted to meet people directly. That’s when the idea of going into thestreets and singing on public request came up. I was keen to see people’s energy and response. Noise and Grains put everything together.
On Ajith and Viswasam: No, I didn’t talk to Ajith after Kannane Kanne. I heard he loved the song. I can’t say that the film’s success was due to the song. He is probably busy with his work. All said and done, ‘Thala is Thala’. In any case, I don’t go out of the way to meet actors. Everyone has his/her work.
On remixes: I think it is good. Some of the remixes are great. We do versions of songs live all the time. My brother and I used to do the remix version PudhuVellai, Vennilave and most of Rahman Sir’s songs. We even did Then PaandiSeemayile. If the remix reinterpretation comes from an authentic place and is musically sound, I think there’s a space for it.
On his huge female fan following: I don’t look at social media. I have no time to think about the love letters (laughs). I appreciate all the love they shower on me, it feels good, but there’s nothing more to it.
On acting in movies: No way! I am not cut out for that....