ChutneySG caught up with the man who composed the track, கண்மணியே from the upcoming local Tamil film, Enthan Uyir Thozhi (EUT), to share with us his thoughts on Singapore’s Indian music scene and his experience as a music director.
Meet Karthick Kannan. The 25-year-old who graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts with a Diploma in Music (Contemporary Pop), is an aspiring music director. Upcoming local Tamil film, EUT, is his first venture as a music director. However, we must admit that கண்மணியே sounds nothing at all like a maiden attempt. Scroll ahead for the answers to nine questions we fired at the promising young musician!
1. When did you start composing songs?
I am not really sure when I began composing as I wanted to become a singer more than a composer. I have been into music since young. I took part in Airtel Super Singer 2008 and was one of the zonal finalists from Chennai. I used to play rhythm guitar for short film scores and attended gigs as well. I composed and performed a soundtrack for a local independent Tamil short-film titled காதல் இங்கே வந்தாச்சு. Only after joining LASALLE College of The Arts did I start taking music seriously as a career. Prior to EUT, I had released my first single, titled Hero Song, as an independent artiste.
2. What are some of the difficulties in composing a song?
In my opinion, composing is not the most challenging part – arranging is. There are a lot of technical aspects one has to consider prior to arranging a song. These include instrumentation, rhythm, chordal structure, tone, and harmonies. The biggest obstacle in arranging would be deciding the right genre for a song. This occurs when a composer does not know why he is composing a particular song. For example, when I was composing கண்மணியே, I knew the vision of the director and it aided my thought process on how to construct the song. I personally believe that over time, with the right amount of experience and exposure, I will be able to overcome these challenges.
3. கண்மணியே, as seen from its teaser, is said to be an “acute rendition of pain”. Do you think it will strike a chord with Singaporean Indians?
To be honest, in terms of reach, it is entirely up to the audience. We have worked tirelessly to provide a quality song. Since things have gone global, let’s not restrict ourselves to just Singapore. The director and myself believe that pathos-rich songs reach out to the masses better.
4. In contrast to recent releases like சாரல் மழையா from JOE, and independent songs like உசுரையே தொலைச்சேன், what is different about கண்மணியே?
Firstly, in contrast to சாரல் மழையா and உசுரையே தொலைச்சேன், கண்மணியே is of a completely different genre and arrangement. The song has its own blend of Indian and Western elements. Every composer is influenced by different cultural and musical backgrounds. This song is written in Tamil, a language to which I have a strong emotional connection. The musical ideas, on the other hand, are inspired by Western music which was a result of my education at LASALLE. Moreover, Classic Rock is predominantly a Western genre. I am going to be a little biased here and add that it is one of my all-time favourite genres which perfectly suited the song’s requirements as well as the director’s vision.
5. How was your experience working on கண்மணியே with Pravin Saivi?
I have never worked with a vocalist from the other side of the globe. As mentioned earlier, things have gone global and with the boon that is technology, it was even easier to work together despite being miles apart. Pravin Saivi readily and happily obliged when we approached him to croon the song. Also, he was very accommodative despite his busy schedule. More than anything, he did justice to the song.
6. Are the other songs in EUT of similar genre to கண்மணியே?
There are three tracks in EUT, of which I have composed two. Each song is composed and arranged in a different genre. கண்மணியே is composed and arranged in Classic Rock genre. The other song which I have composed is of the Ballad genre. The third song which was composed and arranged by a Singaporean Malay composer, Yamin Daniel, is an upbeat Electronic track.
7. Who is your inspiration when it comes to composing music?
This is going to be a long list. Since young I have been listening to various genres of music. My personal favourites would include composers like Ilayaraaja, A.R. Rahman, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Howard Shore, Danny Elfman and Alexander Desplat. In recent times, I have taken a liking towards Santosh Narayanan, Ghibran and Junkie XL.
8. How confident are you that the songs from EUT will be a hit in Singapore?
Whether or not the songs will become a hit is ultimately up to the audience.
9. What more can be done to support young Indian musicians in Singapore?
There are artistes who have already made a name for themselves internationally despite being based in Singapore. Such artistes include Shabir, Lady Kash and Pravin Saivi. They have already proven that it is possible to achieve anything in the rapidly growing music industry in Singapore. However, it is still ultimately up to an individual to believe in their dreams and to chase them.