Neeti Mohan on performing with the mozart of Madras

Neeti Mohan excited to perform with AR Rahman.
Neeti Mohan excited to perform with AR Rahman.

By Asjad Nazir

GLOBALLY renowned musician and singer AR Rahman will celebrate 25 years in music by delivering a grand concert at SSE Arena Wembley in London on Saturday July 8.

The multi-award winning maestro will be joined on stage at the Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow concert by a host of world-class singers including his secret weapon, Neeti Mohan, who has delivered a number of hit Bollywood songs and has an explosive presence on stage. I caught up with Neeti to talk about music, the London show and working with AR Rahman.

How does working with AR Rahman compare with other musicians?

Well, I always say that it’s more than a dream come true for me to be able to work with AR Rahman because since my childhood I have always been such a fan and have always loved his music. I’ve always heard all kinds of music because of him and he is the reason I got so passionate about it that I just wanted to be a part of it. I think it’s not fair to compare anybody with anyone and obviously with AR Rahman. The whole world knows he is an accomplished class-apart composer and great human being. Somebody who has won an Oscar and Grammy Award, you would not want to compare him with anyone. He is just incredible and it’s such an honour to work with him every time.

What is it like being on stage with him?

Being on stage with him is such a unique experience each time. It’s been seven to eight years that I’ve been a part of his live concerts and every time he wants to do something new. He wants to bring the latest technology; be it in the music, visuals, graphics or how the concert feels and I think that’s something that very few people do. I’ve not seen many people who want to achieve that and its something that is incredible about him.

How do you feel about the London concert? 

Neeti Mohan on stage with the legendary AR Rahman.

I’m so excited to be a part of the London concert, which is happening on July 8 at The SSE Arena Wembley, because this is a one of its kind show, where we are celebrating 25 years of AR Rahman brilliant music. We will all be celebrating his music, which was yesterday, today and tomorrow. So this concert is extremely special.

What can we expect from the live show?

Like I mentioned earlier, this concert is about his music from yesterday, today and tomorrow. So there is music for everybody – from someone who admired his music in the 1990s, then the 2000s and to this day. We are singing some Tamil songs as well. There are going to be lots of Hindi songs, some medleys, some great mash-ups and there are new versions of songs as well. Visually it is going to be a treat.

Which song do you most enjoy performing?

I love performing Jiya Re because it was the first song I recorded with AR Rahman and to

be able to sing it live with him on stage is amazing. This time I’m going to be doing something spectacular on that song. So, it’s very close to my heart and very special.

How does being on stage compare to being in the studio?

I think being on stage and being inside a studio recording are two different departments and unique experiences. In the studio you’re designing your vocals, shaping a song, discussing it and are in a creative process trying to reach the right creative approach. Whereas on a live stage, you just upgrade the same song for the live audience. So both are different and equally enjoyable.

Where does your stage confidence come from?

Confidence comes when you’re performing good music and when you’re a part of great team, like with AR Rahman. And its also something that I’ve always loved doing –music, being inside a studio or on stage, it’s what I love.

Why should we come to the concert?

I think if you’re a fan of good music, you would always want to be part of a concert that is celebrating 25 years of AR Rahman’s music. That is about melodies, about bringing the world music and bringing Indian music to the world. So I don’t think you would want to miss an opportunity to experience the concert of an Oscar and a Grammy winner who is such a legend.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, presented by Hamsini Entertainment UK and HueBox Entertainment India, is at SSE Arena, Wembley in London on July 8.

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