Yuvan Shankar Raja born 31 August 1979 is an Indian singer-songwriter, film score and soundtrack composer, and occasional lyricist from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He has predominantly scored music for Tamil films. The youngest son of noted film composer Ilaiyaraaja, he began his musical career in 1996, at age 16, when he composed the film score for Aravindhan. After initial struggle, he made his big break with the Thulluvadho Ilamai soundtrack (2001), and evolved as one of Tamil cinema’s most sought-after composers by the mid-2000s.
Within a span of 15 years, Yuvan Shankar Raja has worked on over 100 films. Considered a versatile composer,he often strives for different and innovative music and has explored and used elements of various genres in his compositions that range from folk and R&B to techno and heavy metal.He is particularly known for his use of western music elements and often credited with having introduced Hip hop to the Tamil film and music industry and having started the “era of remixes” in Tamil Nadu.Being popular among the younger generation,he is frequently referred to as the “Rockstar”and the “Youth Icon of Tamil Film Music”.In addition, Yuvan Shankar Raja is recognized for his background score in films that have fetched him accolades among critics.
He has won two Filmfare Awards; the Best Music Director Award in 2004 for his score in the drama 7G Rainbow Colony and Filmfare Special Award – South in 2009 for his Telugu musical Oy!. Besides, he received six nominations for Filmfare Awards, one Tamil Nadu State Film Award in 2006 and the Cyprus International Film Festival Award in 2006 for Raam, becoming the only Indian composer to win it.
Born on 31 August 1979, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu into a Tamil family, Yuvan Shankar Raja is the third and youngest child of musician and film composer Ilaiyaraaja and his late wife Jeeva. He is the younger brother of music director Karthik Raja and playback singer-cum-music director Bhavatharini. Yuvan once confessed, that his brother Karthik Raja is more talented than him, but did not get a successful break into the music business, since he did not get a “good team to work with”.His father as well as his siblings have sung many songs under his direction.
Film director and film composer Gangai Amaran and R.D.Bhaskar are his uncles and their sons Venkat Prabhu, Premgi Amaren and Parthi Bhaskar, who are working in the Tamil film industry as well, are his cousins. Moreover, Yuvan Shankar and both the sons of Gangai Amaran, do often associate with each other and have often worked together, the results of which have been very successful.Venkat Prabhu’s films have had all musical score by Yuvan, while Premgi had assisted him composing music for some years,before becoming an independent composer aside from the fact, that both have sung several songs under the direction of Yuvan Shankar Raja.
Yuvan Shankar did his schooling at St. Bede’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School in Chennai,and discontinued his education after his tenth class. He started learning music from Jacob Master,attending piano classes at “Musee Musical” in Chennai, which is affiliated to Trinity College in London, UK.Yuvan Shankar Raja stated, that he always wanted to become a pilot and travel “all around the world”, but as he grew up “with music around him”, he eventually became a musician.He admires the work of his father and other composers such as S. D. Burman, R.D.Burman, M.S.Viswanathan and Naushad Ali and the voices of singers Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, P.B.Sreenivas, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and P. Susheela.