Amrit Rao is a singer-songwriter raised in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. He is also the lead singer of a Bangalore-based band which he co-founded, called "Live Banned". The self-proclaimed "indo-international mass music band of India" are influenced by an eclectic mix musical styles including rock, disco, metal and South India music. Check out Live Banned’s version of the popular song "Pettai Rap" from the 1994 Tamil film "Kaadhalan":
Now, the band’s lead singer is gearing up for the release of his debut album. Music is Amrit’s blood; his father, Rajesh, is a singer who had a short stint as a playback singer in the early 70s. Although Amrit began learning Carnatic music as a teenager, he lost interest quickly. "When the interest was there, I had moved to Bangalore to pursue a degree in Computer Science, and was unable to find a good teacher," says Amrit. "Soon enough, I got sucked into the corporate world and worked in different companies for a few years before I decided to take the plunge into music as a full-time career."
It was only because of a song he recorded three years ago that he began to take his career as a musician seriously: "The album happened because of the song "Manjal Veyyil", which happens to be the only track for which I haven’t written the lyrics," explains Amrit. "Santhosh, a café manager, handed me a piece of paper with some Tamil lyrics, asking me to compose a tune. It was only after that, that I started my journey as a serious musician. I then approached Dheeru – who is a bandmate and now my music partner – to produce my tracks, and that’s how we ended up working together on the album."
His upcoming album, "Nirangal" (meaning ‘colours’), is a Tamil-language album brings together a range of genres, drawing inspiration from life, love, nature and society. Each track on the album is like a new colour, encompassing different styles of music and moods, with some songs (such as "Accham Illai" and "Endhan Karangal") commenting on social issues such as child labour and inequality.
"Nirangal" will be distributed by Universal Music India, and will have its official launch on February 22nd at the Four Frames Studio and Theater in Chennai, India. On February 8th, Amrit will be putting out a video for the song "Sappa Matter Da", which – in Amrit’s own words – is "a fun dance track, which takes a dig at the materialistic world in a funny way."
Check out the teaser for Amrit’s debut album, "Nirangal", below. We’re looking forward to hearing it once it’s out later this month!