A R Rahman gave Sid his first break

Sid Sriram performed ‘It isn’t true’ from his album Entropy at Echoes of Earth.

Sid Sriram

The young vocalist, Sid Sriram, started his training in the US but he would come to Chennai every summer and winter to do focus training in Carnatic music. He eventually went on to study at Berklee College of Music, during which time he started writing his own music. 

He got his first break when AR Rahman called him to sing for a Mani Ratnam film ‘Kadal’. Now, shuttling between India and the US, Sid is launching his album ‘Entropy’ in 2019. He was in the city recently to perform at the Echoes of Earth where he spoke to Anila Kurian about his exciting journey in the music industry.

How was your performance at Echoes of Earth? 

We actually performed the whole album at Echoes. It felt amazing. The stage is probably my first love, so to bring the album to life on the Echoes of Earth stage was exhilarating.

What is your album ‘Entropy’ about?

The album is like a map that brings together different points in my life that affected me in a profound way. Each song is like a snapshot to a different point in my life, delving into the emotional textures and memories that I associate with each point. This album was my way of allowing people into my mind and my story. It’s a very vulnerable album and my hope is that the music will encourage people to re-connect with some of their dormant emotions. I am a firm believer in feeling through our full spectrum of emotions. 

You were introduced to the world of music at a very young age. Has your perception of approaching music changed over the years? 

My mother started teaching me Carnatic music when I was three years old. That genre eventually became second nature to me. Over the years, I made it a point to dig deeper and I got into R&B/Soul. I think my perspective has gained a lot of dimension over the years. I’ve realised the power music can have on so many occasions.

You worked with AR Rahman. Did you interact with him a lot when you were studying in Berklee too? 

Working with Rahman sir is always inspiring. When I was in Berklee, I sent him an email with some of the original music I was releasing at the time. I never expected a response, so when he did respond I couldn’t contain myself. About a year after that, I got an email from AR sir to record ‘Adiye’ from Mani Ratnam Sir’s film
‘Kadal’. The song was groundbreaking as it brought together Tamil folk music with blues — something I have never been done before.

Even though your genre is pop-soul music, is there any other genre that you would like to experiment with?  

I wouldn’t say my genre is pop-soul. The way I describe my original music is a cross section where pop/soul, my Carnatic roots and alternative/ambient electronic music all clash together vibrantly. My influences range from M S Subbulakshmi to Jeff Buckley to AR Rahman to Kanye West to Radiohead. I’ve internalised so many different influences since I was young, and they all come out subconsciously in my own music. 

Any other upcoming projects? 

Right now, I’m working on Margazhi Carnatic season and will be performing 12 concerts through this month in Chennai. I’ll be releasing the ‘Entropy’ in early 2019 with JioSaavn/Artist Originals. We’ll be touring the album in India and North America in February and March. There are some new songs in films too.

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A R Rahman gave Sid his first break

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