How Raghavendra became Sean Roldan

The music composer-singer opens up on his musical journey

April 22, 2016 04:30 pm | Updated 04:30 pm IST



What’s in a name, you might ask. For R Raghavendra, it was everything.

Growing up in a family of classical musicians (his father is popular mridangam player Srimushnam Raja Rao), Raghavendra wanted to explore other musical genres and showcase them to the world. “My free will to do different things became a hassle because of my name,” he recalls.

And so, in 2011, he decided that a change of name would help. He decided on Sean (pronounced ‘Shaun’) – “a shortened version of Sandilyan” (his maternal grandfather and renowned Tamil writer) and picked Roldan from a random Google search.

And thus, Sean Roldan was born. It gave him freedom and a chance to break some biases within himself.

And create some wonderful music. As a composer, Sean is already hot on the film music circuit – having come out with albums like Vaayai Moodi Pesavum , Mundasupatti and the recently-released Joker . As a singer, he’s having the time of his life and is behind several recent hits, including ‘Vaa Machaney’ ( Irudhi Sutru ) and ‘Kannana Kanne’ ( Naanum Rowdy Thaan ).

He’ll be singing all that, and more, in a live concert this evening. It’ll also have a playlist from Sean Roldan and Friends, his band.

“I don’t feel any pressure,” he says, when you ask him if he feels butterflies in his stomach on stage now that he is quite popular, “I take things as they come. I strongly believe that music is an art.”

Sean has had his share of struggles before getting here. “When any musician enters the film industry, he goes through a certain struggle – sometimes, we think we have chosen the right script but it doesn’t turn out that way. After going through all that, I think my decision-making has become clearer over time.”

So has his music sense. Growing up, Sean used to be very choosy about what he listened to, but he’s learnt that being open is what helps. “These days, I listen to a lot of international radio. That way, it helps that someone else chooses what I hear… I want to keep my ears open and make sense of what I hear. In a way, just listening to music humbles you,” he says.

Check out Sean Roldan performing live at 6.30 pm on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at The Music Academy. Organized by YELO Icy Concepts in aid of Chennai Micro (NPO), tickets for the concert are available at , or call 9176316238

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