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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 25, 2010

Composer Rahman riding an ego high


By MESFIN FEKADU
Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A.R. Rahman

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NEW YORK Since the success of "Slumdog Millionaire," composer A.R. Rahman not only has a larger profile, but he says he's got a confidence boost, too.

"The main thing is self-confidence, which is there. Every composer is complex within, and in a way I think you need to have a kind of confidence to achieve greater things," Rahman said in a phone interview.

"Coming from South India, you're always very timid, you're within your shell ... we always think that, you know, maybe I don't fit here, that kind of uncomfortableness," he said.

Rahman will be able to show off his new self on his upcoming U.S. tour, "A.R. Rahman Jai Ho Concert: The Journey Home World Tour," which begins in New York this June.

"We've seen Indian shows where stars would come and lip-synch on a song ... and they would dance, and audiences wanted that stuff. Here, we have the real stars of music and the whole vision of the whole staging of the songs (with) segments of spirituality and celebration and festival, all these things, (and) love," Rahman said.

Rahman won two Grammy Awards and two Oscars for his work on the "Slumdog Millionaire" soundtrack, which has sold 390,000 copies in the United States, according to Interscope Records, which released the album.

His collaboration with the Pussycat Dolls, "Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny)," hit the No. 1 spot in many countries, and became a Top 20 hit in the America. The song has sold close to 2 million downloads, the label said.

Rahman also headlined the first state dinner at the White House for President Obama last year.

He's capitalizing on his U.S. success with an upcoming CD planned soon.

"It's shaping up in its own way because I've been doing film music, I've been doing all kinds of music, and for me to focus on an album, to come up with an individual song, is again a great challenge and very exciting," he said.

He's already worked with Usher for a soundtrack song and recorded another track with Nicole Scherzinger that may appear on the CD, but Rahman says he's not rushing to put the album out.

"I'm not jumping the gun, I'm just gonna go with the feel of the album and see who all fits in," he said.