Ajax Family Thrilled At Son’s Grammy Nomination
By Binoy Thomas
Ajax: Renu Mathur and Shanker Seetharam, a working couple who arrived in Canada over a decade ago, couldn’t have predicted such an outcome – imagine, one of their sons will be at the Grammy awards in LA next month, and later, schmoozing at the after party, held at the Playboy Mansion. The last part, as a concerned mother would say, could have been avoided! But Nikhil Seetharam, is going and going places, mind it! This self-taught 21-yr-old musician who played around on the keyboard, set up in the basement, with the full encouragement from his brothers Abhi and Gaurav (his twin bro), also known as Nikhil S or “Kromatik”, first burst into the tracks in 2010 when he contributed to the production of Nicki Minaj’s single ”Moment 4 Life” which peaked at No.13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, No.1 on the Billboard Hip-Hop and R&B chart and No.1 on the Billboard Rap chart.It has since gone platinum and been nominated for Best Rap Performance at the 2012 Grammy Awards. His second hit song was in 2011 when he co-produced “I’m On One” for DJ Khaled featuring Drake, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross. The song has since gone three times platinum as well as having spent over 13 consecutive weeks at the No.1 spot on the Billboard Rap Charts as well as No.1 on the Billboard Hip-hop and R&B charts for 11 weeks. It is also nominated for Best Rap Collaboration at the 2012 Grammys.
Some stories just happen. This is one such. Nikhil (some rap fans may like that name because of the ‘khil’ factor!) who worked part time at an electronics store, struck up a conversation with T-Minus, a talented music producer, based in Toronto, during one of his visits to the store. Nikhil volunteered that he too did a bit of music and would like to explore it further. T-Minus promptly invited him back to his studio. Nikhil acknowledges that it was a meeting that changed his life, and that he is grateful to T-Minus for taking him under his wings. Today, Nikhil considers T-Minus as his mentor. In the meanwhile, their collaboration was producing music that started getting the ears of big wigs from New York to L.A. These are names that Nikhil could only relate to as a fan or an admirer, sitting in his Ajax home. Now they were on the phone, talking. The duo of T-Minus and Nikhil had finally ‘arrived’ in 2011.
Nikhil no longer works at the store, he is a full-time composer-producer flooded with work, having collaborated with big names like Drake, T.I, DJ Khaled, John Legend, and Nicki Minaj. But it is not all song and dance, like when mega stars like Drake asks you make music for them, they might send you back to your corner a couple of dozen times before they approve your beats. Of course, the money is good. But is it as much as a doctor makes these days? Give him some time, that will happen. Not that the Senior Seetharams have any regret that their children aren’t all doctors and engineers! Actually, the first born was ‘sacrificed’ at that altar of uniquely Indian expectation, he is an engineer, bringing some degree of approval from the ancestors to a family that otherwise would’ve been declared apostate, back in Tamil Nadu where the Tam-Brahm father comes from and Mother Mathur’s ancestral lands where Krishna wandered the rivers and meadows, flute in hand.
Nikhil moved to Canada from Mumbai as a five year old with his family in 1998. And in these decade and a half have grown to be a Canadian. Naturally, when asked about moving his keys toward a Bollywood base, he admits that it’s not his thing, that he is not into that groove to be able to contribute in any significant way to the Bollywood music scene. But given the changing requirement in Bollywood, and a younger audience embracing what excites the young people here, it will not be a stretch to imagine Nikhil doing a ‘home’ run sometime in the future.
He has just finished the background score for a movie, Searching For Angels and says, he enjoyed it immensely. In fact, Nikhil would like to do movie scores full-time in the future as he finds it far more fulfilling. There is AR Rehman of course, whose successes in Hollywood are well-known. But, he wouldn’t like to compare himself with the legendary composer who hails from the same state as his dad. Nikhil is not even familiar with how to work with the sounds produced by a sitar or a basuri. So for now, he sees himself more in a studio in L.A, than in Mumbai though Mumbai would probably suit his culinary taste a bit better.
Nikhil will be at the Grammy’s on February 12, and, like we told you earlier, he is going to the Playboy reception whether Mom likes it or not. Part of the job, you see, but he promises to report straight from the mansion poolside on all that is going on via Skype. Believe it or not.
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