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Charan Raj is not a great talker, especially when it comes to his own music. Like all other great musical artists, Charan, too, prefers to let his melodies speak. But even as he fumbles to explain his music, Charan exudes a sense of security and passion that also underlies his music.

Charan’s beginnings in the music business began early. “I have always been inclined to music. From my childhood I was trained in Carnatic classical music, and I used to sing a lot of light music and bhaava Hello», Reveals Charan.

As he grew older, his love for music also grew. He went from listening to rock music to western classical to jazz and electronics. Surprisingly, his parents were his biggest motivators.

“Before I even got serious about music, my parents always pushed me. If other children received two-wheelers from their parents, my parents offered to buy me musical instruments, ”Charan smiles.

During his engineering studies, Charan became serious about music. He was part of a band and even took part in college music festivals. Deciding to give him a chance, Charan took a year-long hiatus from engineering and began working as an arranger and programmer for composers in Kerala, Chennai and Mumbai.

It was during this stay that he began to work for composer Ricky Kej. Charan was also part of Ricky’s Grammy-winning album, ‘Winds of Samsara ‘. Calling Ricky his musical mentor, Charan says, “Working with Ricky has been very helpful. Of course, I learned music from him. Apart from that, I also learned discipline and dedication from him. Even while he was working on this album, Charan worked on composing the music for the film. Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu. While the film itself managed to impress audiences, the music added to its charm and uniqueness. Speaking about the music for the film, Charan says, “I knew Hemanth (Rao, director) before and we both share similar musical interests. While he was working on the script he kept me updated on the kind of music he was listening to and the tunes that would suit the script. Since we had a lot of pre-production time, we were able to create the music with a lot of leisure. The response, of course, has been very good.

While Godhi Banna … gave Charan a new identity, he was not new to Sandalwood. His debut as a music director in the Kannada films was the 2014 film Harivu. Charan’s approach to music is very simple: he sits with a blank mind and lets the music come to him organically, he says. “I don’t work with a song bank. Every movie is fresh for me. If I have a bank of songs, that means I don’t evolve. Instead, I would have relied on old songs, outdated songs. A lot of times when I sit down to compose, finding tunes is a struggle, but I love that fight; the ultimate joy is in the process, ”he concludes. But Charan is quick to point out that each film is a collaborative effort. “Everyone brings their ideas and they all go into my system, and then I create music,” he says. One of those collaborations was his first commercially successful album for the film Tagaru.

“Working with Suri-sir (director) was a dream come true. He asked me to create music for his film based on human emotions rather than situations. For example, when he asked me to create something about fear, I internalized that emotion and created music based on how I felt when I felt fear.

If there is one thing that Charan has proven to date, it is the fact that he can create various tunes and scores. So I ask him how he would describe his musical style. But Charan reveals that he is still in search of “his” music. “It’s hard to describe my music. Every day I learn something new, so my music evolves too. But I believe music should heal people, as AR Rahman once said. So, I would like to create music that brings happiness and comfort to people, that’s the main goal.

Now, this young musical director takes care of large-scale projects such as Kavalu Daari, Avane Srimannarayana, Bheema Sena Nala Maharaja, and more. Although all of the projects are entirely different from each other, Charan insists that each is equally difficult. “For example, Kavalu Daari is a thriller and very intense. So I use a lot of orchestral and analog sounds and synths. On the other hand, Bhima Sena… is a family artist but a layered film, so it has a lot of melodious acoustics, ”says Charan.

Charan turns to music maestros like Illaiyaraja, AR Rahman, Hamsalekha and Hans Zimmer for inspiration. Speaking about his future aspirations, Charan says he wants to continue improving his film music. “But I also want to do a lot of independent music. Because, in films, I work on a script, but when I do independent music, it’s like expressing myself. And it is very important for an artist “, signs Charan.


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