Malayalis who have religiously followed the hit TV show Idea Star Singer will always remember Nithin Raj, the guy who won a lot of hearts back then for his soulful rendition of each song given to him. His days on the show are just one of the many feathers in his cap.
Those who have been following the independent music scene in Malayalam will know that Nithin Raj has been around much before reality shows took over television. Nithin, who is today known as Musical RJ of a popular radio station, has just released his new Tamil single Komali, in which he took on the role of a rapper for the first time.
“Usually when I am given a work, being a singer, I go sing and come back. But for Komali, for the first time I penned down a portion of the lyrics, which I rapped as well. Though there is a lyricist for the song, the music director wished to add a bit of rap to it,” he says.
Nithin talks about his love for rap music and says, “I have always loved rap. I have been doing cover versions of other rap songs. But this is my first attempt at writing my own. What makes a singer a rapper is when the artiste pens down his own lyrics. Now I think I can call myself a rapper and this is what makes the song so special for me.”
Nihtin had sung two songs composed by Sidhartha Pradeep in the state award winning movie Manhole. He was also praised for his cover version of Showkali from the movie Acham Yenbathu Madamaiyada.
“The singers ADK and Sriraskol, who actually sang the song, called me up after listening to my cover of their song and praised me for the effort. They even shared it on their Facebook fan page. They asked me why I don’t write my own songs. The truth is I don’t know Tamil as I am a Malayali. Even though my father is a Tamilian, since I grew up in Kerala I never got a chance to learn Tamil. Whatever Tamil I know is from watching movies and listening to songs,” says the singer.
Nithin, who has sung harmonies for A.R. Rahman, shares his experience with the maestro. “I was singing harmonies for him when I was studying sound engineering. This means basically singing the backing vocals and doing that for Rahman is an entirely different experience altogether,” he says.
Nithin’s voice has excitement written all over it as he narrates the moment he met Rahman. “I actually didn’t know that I was being called to sing for his song. The only thing I was told was that there was a recording at his studio. The recording was at an odd timing — early morning. I was contacted by someone else, so I had no clue. When I got there I saw a bunch of Mani Ratnam’s assistants working on scripts. A photocopy of the scene was given to me and that’s when I knew it was for Ravan. That moment I saw him pass by and the feeling was otherworldly. I experienced a sea of emotions at that point. Being a professional, I put a lid on all those emotions and sang the song. I am usually a very forgetful person, but this I will never forget,” he smiles.