Bengaluru-born Aditya Rao to perform at 'Howdy, Modi!’

Bengaluru-born Aditya Rao to perform at 'Howdy, Modi!’

The singer-songwriter will present ‘Shape of You Raga Mix’ and closing song

For Aditya, who has been a part of many celebrated projects with well-known artists across the globe, sometime ago, he decided to make a paradigm shift to make more space for music in his life. (DH Photo)

As dusk falls here in India, at the NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, Bengaluru-born Los Angeles- based singer-songwriter Aditya Rao will be performing his biggest show yet – at the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event. For this global musician, who blends Eastern and Western flavours across genres, where musical borders are blurred, ‘‘the stars have decided to align’’ tonight.

In 2017, Aditya sang his way into innumerable hearts with the Carnatic mix of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’. The music video, done along with Vinod Krishnan and Mahesh Raghavan, garnered seven million views on YouTube. For Aditya, there was no looking back since then.

Ask him how it feels performing for Prime Minister Modi, US President Trump and a gathering of a strong 50,000 Indian-Americans, he says, “It is extremely surreal. This is by far the biggest audience that I have had the honour of performing in front of. Surprisingly it’s not scary, I am more excited than I ever was.”

Throwing light on how he happened to be one of the chosen ones, Aditya says, “The Texas India Forum is the main host of the event. They and multiple organisations, who partnered up with the India Forum, reached out to Sriram Emani, CEO of ‘Indian Raga’ and they caught wind of our seven million viewership. They thought it would be great for us to perform at the event,” he says.

“Their main focus is to have Indian Americans to come and perform and show the Prime Minister as to how powerful Indian diaspora in the US is and it will showcase all aspects of our culture and lifestyle,” he says.

For the ‘Howdy! Modi’ event, Aditya and Vinod Krishnan will be on the vocals along with three dancers for the iPad interlude. 

“The India Forum reached out to us. Every one of us is in multiple locales in the US and the best way to coordinate was through WhatsApp, create groups and send video of rehearsals of each other from our respective locales and homes, and back. We have practised the dance routine. We are presenting a new kind of extended version of ‘Shape of You’ curated especially for this event. 

So would he be meeting the Prime Minister?

“Maybe,” he says. “The bonus that came out of this is that we are actually going to sing the closing song as well. Vinod (Krishnan) and I are the male artistes for the closing song. The song is a custom-piece written specifically for the event. The Forum had handpicked members from each of the performing art . We have the honour of coming back and performing the closing song, right before Modi goes on stage. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking that we are closing the show but it is also a tremendous honour,” he adds,

Aditya also sheds light on his new album. “The album is six to seven songs-- all English—with lyrics penned by me and my wife Anjanah. It explains every element of being two cultures at the same time. Along with the lyrics, the music blends in flashes of Soul, Pop, R&B, South Indian Carnatic classical elements all at the same time. It’s an interesting fusion,” he elaborates

For Aditya, who has been a part of many celebrated projects with well-known artistes across the globe, sometime ago, he decided to make a paradigm shift to make more space for music in his life.

“I took that decision to quit my day job and made my passion my full-time career. I m going to finish writing and composing the new song by October. So the end goal would be to have the mixed and mastered version of the album before the close of the year and it’s called the ‘Broken Suitcase’.’’

But as of now, Aditya is concentrating on tonight’s stage --with palpable excitement--when the world would be watching him present the best of the East and West.