He has taken the Tamil music scene by storm with his peppy songs. The song ‘Master the Blaster’ from the superhit Tamil film ‘Master’ starring Vijay, topped the charts on iTunes, Apple music and Spotify listings with over 32 million views on YouTube. In a collaboration with Arivu and Jigarthanda Music (his fusion project), he created magic once again with ‘Yenna Sonna’, the Chennai Super Kings anthem that has over 1 million views on YouTube. What’s more? He made his acting debut in the recently released Siva Karthikeyan film, ‘Doctor’! Ritz catches up with Bjorn Surrao the singer-songwriter, performer, music producer and actor who is on a high and promises to be around to spread laughter and love through his art.
Text: RIYA SONNY DATSON
When did you realise that music was your calling?
I’ve been writing and creating music from the age of ten. It is something that would always play at the back of my mind and influence my mood. While in school, I used to drum my fingers on the class desk, just to come up with grooves that I liked. I guess you can say, I grew up surrounded by music and eventually it became a huge part of my life.
Being an MBA graduate, what prompted you to follow your passion in Music?
All through college, I was pursuing music. In fact I did my first film project in 2014 while doing MBA. To be honest, I did it to prove a point – that even a non – academically inclined guy like me can succeed in getting a Master’s degree. Also according to elders, the degree is a safety net and pleasing them was important.
What genre of music do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy way too many kinds and genres of music. I guess that’s one of my strengths. I have over 120 playlists on my music apps that I listen to regularly. I absolutely love listening and finding new music, it’s been a hobby since I was a kid. If I had to pick 3 it would be pop, dancehall, country, alternative rock, hiphop, minimal techno, koothu, (laugh out loud)…the list goes on and on.
‘Master the Blaster’ was a runaway hit and you also introduced a fresh genre of music into Tamil Cinema, what was your inspiration behind it?
There were multiple inspirations behind the song. Vijay Sir on screen in that iconic ‘jumping out of the auto’ scene was definitely one. Sachin Tendulkar the ‘OG’ Master the Blaster was another avenue of inspiration. The energy present in that moment when Ani and I were jamming would be another one of the major inspirations.
As a musician, what has been your biggest challenge?
A musician has multiple challenges in his/her journey, there will be hurdles in every direction. One has to overcome these challenges. Writer’s block is something I have experienced and can be very frustrating for an artist.
You have set the bar high with Master the Blaster and Yenna Sonna being such super hits, what keeps you motivated?
Thank you! Me knowing that I have so much more music to offer keeps me motivated. I want my music and my art to help people in whatever way it can. When I leave, my music would still be around to help and that to me, is life.
“I want my music and my art to help people in whatever way it can”
Have you had to face any criticism for your ‘out of the box’ style of music?
It has almost always been mostly positive, however criticism does exist but the balance is needed. I take it with the right spirit, It keeps me grounded and helps me grow as an artist.
What was your biggest learning in the last one year with the pandemic and unexpected lockdown?
I learned to be grateful for life and the journey. The pandemic taught all of us that nothing is certain, there’s one life to live, live it happily with the ones you love.
What would be your advice to aspiring musicians and artists who look upto you?
Be yourself, don’t worry about the external noise and just do YOU.
How was the experience shooting for the film ‘Doctor’, can your fans expect to see you more often on the silver screen?
It was an incredible experience, a huge learning curve as well. I had a lot of fun during the shoot and everything involved in it. Yes, I will definitely be around to entertain and spread the laughter and love through my art, be it music or acting. I’ll be ther!
What is in the pipeline for Jigarthanda Music?
We’re working on a special curation of mashups for our wedding and Sangeeth performances. We are also working on a fusion based album featuring various artists.
Any dream musical projects?
Way too many! Always been a dream to work with Mr A R Rahman and also collaborate with artists from different walks of life like Ziggy Marley, Vishal Dadlani, Dave Matthews… the list goes on.