Malaysia’s leading reggae and pop music artist Sasi The Don is going back to the basics with his latest comeback single “ABCD” featuring Anuradha Sriram, one of Indian cinema’s most renowned playback singers.
Composed by Sasi and co-written by Navin the Navigator and Saran Narayan, the song which was released 5 days prior to Deepavali is essentially about celebrating the simplest things in life as the letters A, B, C and D in the song stand for Love, Passion, Gratitude, and Surrendering one’s self to their mission.
This song is a celebration of life that reminds everyone that celebration and gratitude should be a daily lifestyle and not just during festive or special occasions. It is a simple song that brings people together, drawing a message to unite the world with the saying “when stand united, we can celebrate more than when we are divided”.
For this single, Sasi The Don went back to the basics to look for those those who inspired him. Anuradha Sriram is one of the personalities who inspired Sasi to take his first step into the music world. This is also the first time that Anuradha Sriram has agreed to a collaboration with someone outside of the Indian film industry.
Learn more about Sasi’s inspiration and stories behind this Deepavali anthem in this exclusive interview.
What is the song “ABCD” about?
It’s a song about going back to basics. Everyone of us will come to a point where we realise, “I have come this far and I want to push my self higher” but then it holds us back… because one can’t do everything alone. You need get back to the basics and collaborate. You need to collaborate with your emotions, your heart, your mind and conclude it all with love and the best will come.
When one can do this, you will be ready for the celebration. You can start all over again, but remember you are filled with a whole load of experience from the last time. So it’s just going to get better. So I applied this and it’s a personal experience.
What inspired you to make the song?
Definitely my daughter Shanaiya. She is 5 years old. I watch her grow and it reminds me that I was like her once. I watch her discover the world and I too was the same at one point. I remember teaching her ABCD and I realised it was the basic to everything in life. So I had the idea to do something with ABCD. I felt there was more to ABCD then just being a nursery rhyme.
Adults too should accept that the reality to life is simple and it’s never complicated. You just have to be inspired or inspire others. So when all these thoughts came to me. I put it all in the works of a new song. I wanted to share my ‘hypothesis’ with the world and I made it all happen in a new song.
How did the collaboration with Anuradha Sriram happen?
I have always been a big fan of Anuradha Sriram and during my youth days I use to really admire her voice and all the songs she sang in. She sang most of the big Kollywood hits and she was a real inspiration. I first met her in 2001. Back then I was her opening act for her maiden concert in Malaysia alongside Shankar Mahadevan. We only had a brief introduction at that time but it was a wonderful moment.
Coincidentally I met her again in 2010 when visiting Chennai. When I was at the airport waiting to board a flight to Mumbai, I saw her at the same departure hall. I approached her and we had a great chat. We exchanged numbers and since that time I told myself, I will one day work on a song with her. It took me 8 years, but it’s okay. It had to be at the right time. After 4 years of silence, I had to make a fierce comeback and something that everybody could celebrate to. So I contacted Anuradha Sriram and told her my vision and she was all onboard.
Why did you decide to release this song on Deepavali week and what is the song’s relation to the festivity?
I always taught that every day is Deepavali. It’s all in our hearts and our minds. The Spirit of Celebration comes from within us and the people around us. So when I was planning, I realised that everybody needs a song to celebrate and as Malaysians we can all inspire and celebrate one another. So I created the song with my producer D’Navigator.
I had this composition and idea with me for 4 years and finally I felt that it was the right time. Deepavali was a perfect time to celebrate with beautiful lights, colours, food, family and friends. The meaning of Deepavali inspires me to create this song and I wanted everyone to feel the celebration and celebrate their life everyday.
It is said that “ABCD” pays homage to Anuradha’s old songs, how so?
Back in the early years, there was a movie called “Gemini” and Anuradha Sriram sang the theme “O Poddu”. That hit song was an inspiration for me to come up with the lyrics “A Poddu, B Poddu, C Poddu and D Poddu” which is a homage to her song. I use this approach to introduce Anuradha Sriram to an industry outside of Kollywood movie scene.
The single will be included in your album “Timeless”, what else can fans expect from the album?
I have a lot of interesting songs in my new album. Fans should look forward to my new English song titled “Daddy Don”. This song is a tribute to all the fathers in the world, who do whatever it takes to put a smile their children’s faces and protect them at all times. Every daddy is a DON in their own ways.
When are you going to UK and how did the collaboration with Malaysia Airlines happen?
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This is an official Annoucement: @malaysiaairlines Will be teaming with Sasi The Don on his Journey taking "ABCD" to the UK. Look forward to a journey filled with wonderful experiences. Sasi The Don will be on Radio Intereviews, Performing at a British Asian Event, Meeting Malaysian Students for a get together and most of all Sharing his aweosme #MHstory with all and #malaysiaairlines thank you for the Business Class Experience and making my 8 working days Experience come to Life and Memorable ❤💛💚🦁🦁🦁 #malaysianhospitality With: Arved: Group Chief Marketing Officer, Schrene: Head of Marketing & TJ Chan:Head of Brand and Marketing Comms and Monkey my Manager
I will be travelling between 15th to 23rd November 2018. As I was busy building up the story for “ABCD”, I realised that I should take all my effort one step ahead and do something great for Malaysia. I approached the Times Music Group in India and showcased my single to them. They instantly loved the track and decided to release the song internationally on 15th November.
So when I got this confirmed, I contacted some of my industry mates in the UK immediately as I have a strong relationship and network with the key ASIAN and CARIBBEAN industrialists from the UK, and they managed to get me multiple opportunities, such as radio interview with the BBC and also a couple of Reggae Radio Stations, gig in London and etc. So I had to go to the UK.
I approached Malaysia Airlines, telling them about my plans and they are happy to help out. With their collaboration I am able to experience a Business Class Travel to the UK as their VIP guest and it feels great. With this I am able to share my journey in the UK with all my friends, family and fans.
As a veteran in the Indian music scene, what do you think of the current local scene right now?
The local music scene has always been great. We have good musicians, great artiste and good fans. Let’s not forget, the media that is constantly supporting the industry. Everything is in place. Malaysia is just going to get better. I just want to encourage all the current and new artiste to keep on producing songs and keep the industry going. Don’t give up. Good times will come.
Last question, what is your plan for Deepavali?
I will celebrate it with my family and friends. I need to rest and there is so much happening in these coming weeks. I look forward to Deepavali, I wish all Malaysians a happy Deepavali and that includes all readers of HYPE. Have a wonderful celebration and holiday.