Rahman is still at his prime and yet has already worked with internationally reputed artistes.Rahman has collaborated with artists such as L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, David Byrne, Talvin Singh and Apache Indian – both in recording and on tour. On a trip to India , acclaimed prodigy David Byrne met Rahman. So impressed was he with Rahman and his work, that he went on to record some sessions with Rahman for his own project, on which he was working that time, but sadly, this project has not seen the light of the day yet.
Rahman was an invited member of the jury of the prestigious music festival ‘Voice of Asia’ competition held annually at Almaty, Kazhakstan. The jury comprises of top musicians of the world. He was also invited to be the judge for channel [V]’s nation-wide talent hunt program called ‘Samsung Super Singer.’ There he assisted Adnan Sami.
In October 1999, Rahman performed a song ‘Ekam Satyam’ in a charity oriented live concert in München (referred as Munich in English) city of Germany with Michael Jackson called ‘MJ and friends’. Bharat Bala and Hindujas arranged the meeting between Rahman and Michael Jackson. Rahman and his troupe performed with Michael Jackson in the concert. The song was partially in English and partially in Sanskrit. Jackson sang the English part and Rahman sang the Sanskrit part. Lyricist AR Parthasarathy from India penned the Sanskrit part. Melodious strains of ‘Sathyameva Jayathey’ by Rahman provided the closing to the concert by pop king MJ.
Music ArtistsRahman has collaborated with almost all big names, though he doesn’t like to it to be mentioned. His first chance of collaborating with an international artist was offered by Sony Music in 1996, when he was working on ‘Vande Mataram’. Sony had asked him to choose from any of its international stars to work with and supposedly even suggested the name of Celine Dion. But Rahman settled, very appropriately, for the Pakistani Sufi music star Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Dominic Miller.
Explaining his choice, he said, “I don’t want to collaborate with just a name. I must feel something for the person and related with his work. I’ve seen several famous names collaborating on songs and albums, but they remain just two names. There’s no chemistry. It’s like oil and water. They can’t come together.”
This perspective of Rahman has shown magic. The people he chooses – don’t know where he finds them – do their life’s best with Rahman. To date, he has worked with almost every Indian legend.
Just to name a few of them: KJ Yesudas, SP Balasubrahmaniam, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Siva mani, Pt. Vishwamohan Bhatt, Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, L. Shankar, Kadri Gopalnath, Vikku Vinayakram, Ustad Sultan Khan among many others.
Internationally, he has been associated with Nusrath Fateh Ali Khan, Yak Bondy, Jolin Tsai, Michael Jackson, Apache Indian, Dominic Miller, Andrew Lloyd Webber for one or more works.
Directors : Many talented directors from the film industry – both well settled and new comers – have worked with Rahman. Many directors restrict themselves to work with Rahman only. Also, as observed, many directors convince their producers to work only with Rahman.
The directors with whom Rahman has worked are:
Hindi: Ramgopal Varma, Deepa Mehta, Priyadarshan, Farookh Siddiqui, Subhash Ghai, Govind Nihalani, Raj Kumar Santoshi, Khaled Mohammed, Shyam Benegal, Shashilal Nair, Shekhar Kapoor, Kailash Surendranath, Ashutosh Gowariker, Shaad Ali, Ahmed Khan, MF Hussain, Atul Agnihotri.
Tamil and Telugu: Manirathnam, Shankar, Suhasini Manirathnam, P Vasu, K Balachander, Sangeeth Sivan, Kadhir, K Muralimohan Rao, Rajeev Menon, KS Ravikumar, Bharatiraaja, Suresh Menon, Balu, K Subhash, Vikraman, Manoj Kumar, B Gopal, Pravinkanth, Suresh Krishna, Vasanth, Saran, Azhagam Perumal, Arjun, AM Jyoti Krishna, SJ Surya.
Chinese: He Ping.