From playing musical notations to creating own compositions, three young Madurai composers have already made a mark. They talk about their work and new releases.

The common string that connects N. Justin Prabhakaran, I. Gogul and R. Samuel Aruputharaj is music. What started as an occasional dabbling with musical instruments, developed into a passion for composing music. And today the trio have established their brand of music.

With friends’ support, Samuel and Justin have successfully overcome family pressure to drop music and pursue academics. Gogul, however, has his family behind him in his endeavour to succeed as a musician. The up and coming musicians have made initial strides into the field and hope to sustain the impression.

I. GOGUL, Final Year, Electronics and Communications Engineering, Thiagarajar College of Engineering:

Octogenarian Swaminathan is all smiles. “My grandson is like me. He will make it big in the industry.” His optimism helps Gogul to carry on with his passion without any hurdle. He handles both academics and music with equal felicity. His album “Magical Love” speaks volumes of his musical ability.

A 30-day summer crash course on keyboard, at the age of 11, changed Gogul’s perception of music. “I still remember Durairaj sir on the keyboard teaching basics. I fell in love with the instrument immediately. I was also given the opportunity to play music in the church and that honed my skills,” he says.

Mahatma school, K.K. Nagar campus, provided him the space to experiment his music. His friends nicknamed him ‘keyboard’ Gogul. “I was a regular in school culturals. We won several medals at inter-school competitions with our band.”

Gogul started composing tunes during 12th standard holidays. “Impressed with the tune I played, my friends egged me on and I never stopped,” he says. He set up his studio with a synthesiser and speech monitors his uncles gifted him for scoring well in board examinations.

Good response to his songs uploaded on Facebook motivated him to work harder. Abhay Jodhpurkar, who sang ‘Moongil thottam…’ for the movie Kadal, found Gogul’s tune interesting and wanted to sing for him. “It came as a surprise. I got good contacts through Facebook and I made use of his voice in my song ‘Nijangalai…’.”

He uploaded the song in Soundcloud portal and it instantly struck chord with many music buffs and became a big hit. Qyuki, an online portal that supports music, art and painting, rated his tune as the song of the week.

N. JUSTIN PRABAKARAN, music director:

From childhood Justin has been hearing only music. He was introduced to church music at an early age and groomed to become a keyboard player. “Composing came to me naturally. I represented my college and won laurels for my compositions,” he says.

He participated in a TV reality show and won the best singer award. He is proficient in playing both keyboard and guitar.

It was during a film shoot at the American college campus in 2006, where he studied B.Sc. Zoology, he happened to meet cinematographer Gopinath, who advised him to study sound engineering. “I was happy to see the film crew in my college. As I wanted to become a music composer, I approached Gopinath and he guided me,” he says. He did a short stint as a cable boy in a local recording studio to learn how songs are recorded.

After completing a course in sound engineering he joined music composer Harris Jayaraj and worked for him till the movie Thuppakki. With his earnings, Justin has now set up his own recording studio.

So far he has composed music for more than 35 short films. He was selected best music director in the Nalaya Iyakkunar season 2 and 3.

“Legendary composer Ilayaraja is my biggest inspiration. I used to go to Prasad Studios only to have a glimpse of the maestro. I wanted to become a composer only after hearing his songs,” says Justin, also a student of Carnatic and Hindustani music.

Composing music for his debut movie ‘Pannaiyaarum Padminiyum’, is like a dream come true..

R. SAMUEL ARPUTHARAJ, II M.A. ENGLISH, THE AMERICAN COLLEGE

R. Samuel Aruptharaj is quite popular in Rotary circles as his music Hope of the Hopeless is played during the prayer time at Rotary meetings.

The young boy was literally pushed into music. Interested in playing cricket, he was a reluctant student of music as a child. Only after entering the college, he had the urge to learn music, which he did all by himself with the help of internet.

Justin honed his skills at home and experimented new compositions in church. Initially, he wrote a lot of Gospel music and gradually lifted the bar and composed secular songs. His friendship songs in You Tube crossed 400 likes in 10 months. “I know creating music is more challenging than playing. So I put in a lot of work into writing notations for songs. I learnt music only through trial and error,” says Sam.

Though a lover of Western music and enrolled with Trinity College of London online, he is also learning Carnatic music. “When I sit on the keyboard, I am flooded with ideas which I translate into music,” he says.