In conversation with Aditiya Rao as he tells us about his latest release "SND"
Today we are in talks with Aditya Rao who is an Indian indie artist based in USA. We interviewed him regarding his debut album release where he tells us in-depth about his single called "SND."
1. What inspired you to become an artist I never went about wanting to “become an artist.” I’ve been musically inclined since the age of 5 and have done everything from learning Carnatic classical vocals, to being a drummer in a jazz band, to working on fusion music projects in India and the US. I am the happiest when I am in the act of working on music - whether it's performing on a stage with 50,000 people, or in a studio for a film or independent project. It’s how I know to express. 2. How is it to be an Indian artist staying in the USA? It’s actually a very interesting time to be an Indian artist working out of the US. It’s sometimes a challenge when I get typecasted by people who are less aware of my music and may think that I only sing in Hindi/Tamil/etc. But, that’s the nature of the game, and the way to win is to turn the challenges into opportunities. I’ve been able to work on some of the foremost artists and unique projects within the US, or completely remotely. I’ve performed for the Indian Prime Minister, the President of the United States, and a stadium packed with 50,000 attendees. I’m the lead vocalist and Vocal Arranger for 9 original songs in R. Madhavan’s biopic film Rocketry: The Nambi Effect (2022). I’ve sung for Indian and Hollywood film soundtracks - Pelé: Birth of a Legend (2016) and Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (2016) with multi-Grammy and Oscar-winning music director, A.R. Rahman. I’m is the leading voice on Hollywood film and television soundtracks such as Beauty in the Broken (2015) and Mira: Royal Detective (2021), and have sung as a chorus member for several artists including Billie Eilish, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Camila Cabello, and Carlos Santana. As of Jan 2022, I’ve released my debut album of 10 songs and continue to release independent singles every month. In addition, my original covers and collaborations on YouTube have garnered over 15M+ views.
3. Tell us a little about your latest release "SND" SND is about my love for music, personified and brought to life through the love I have for my forever girlfriend (aka my wife and co-songwriter). It’s about how I feel when I close my eyes and think about nothing but music. It’s my moment of serenity and a time where everything feels on track, rather than haphazard. The melody and lyrics are simple, while the music bed makes you feel pensive and percussive, simultaneously. That’s the beauty of SND. 4. Where did you come up with the name for "SND” SND - or simply “Sound" - also stands for "Sa Ni Dha," which are the literal names of the notes that Aditya sings in the song. 5. How did you meet Shri? SND has gone through multiple iterations dating as far back as 2011, when I met the featured artist and songwriter, Shri Sriram. Shri is an award-winning bassist, composer, producer, and arranger whose dynamic quest for new and collaborative ways of making music has taken him all over the world. We met at a hotel room in Mumbai, quickly set up our remote recording gear, and immediately hit it off with multiple ideas that fused genres together to truly create a sound that bends the norms and colors outside of the margins.
6. How long did you take to compose and produce "SND?” Between 2011 and 2022, I continued to experiment, digest, and sometimes - even step away from SND until the next idea came to mind, not worrying about how long it took to come up with the final mix because this song a true labor of love and a deep-dive into his lifetime love and respect for the art of music. Through the journey, he has brought on a stellar team of music thought leaders along with Shri, such as Nagaari (a San Francisco-based producer most notable for his original work as well as his productions on numerous projects with Indian Raga), Garry Purohit (an audio engineer and mixer who has most recently worked with Coldplay, Harry Styles, Kanye West, and Shawn Mendes), Anjanah Rao (co-lyricist), and Dan Konopka (a drummer for American rock band OK Go, and a mix/ mastering engineer) to develop the final mix of SND. SND has been recorded, produced, and developed in so many different locations and studios. I’ve recorded inside closets, at hotel rooms, in echoey bedrooms, and in my home studio. I’ve produced mid-flight, in-between meals, and in-between moving from Los Angeles to Austin, TX. And I think this unconventional way of getting things together, all came together in the most beautiful manner. 7. How did you meet A.R.Rahman? I was an intern at a company called Qyuki where I was doing market research to see how well such a platform can do in the US & in North America. The CEO at the time had come to Los Angeles for a few meetings, which is when he gave me a called and asked if I was free for lunch. I never would’ve guessed in a million years as to who else I was about to have lunch with! Since then, I’ve been blessed to have built a phenomenal work relationship with AR Sir, where we’ve collaborated on movies and performed together on live stages around the world. 8. What is it about being an artist that drives you to create more? Music is how I express myself, probably like every other musician. But my sound is as unique as my experiences were and continue to be. I don’t get tempted to stray away from who I am as a person, in my music. I have a small but mighty team of producers, lyricists, and mix and master engineers who help me bring it all together. I love the journey my own music takes me on. Think of it like an impromptu vacation where you don’t have everything planned out. The learning and richness that comes out of figuring it out is irreplaceable. That’s how my music journey makes me feel. Above everything else, the support I receive from those around me is reaffirmation that I’m definitely on the right track. Why wouldn’t I want to keep on creating?
This was just one of our awesome interactions with brilliant artists. Do check out our Instagram page for more amazing artists.