Yuvan Shankar Raja is an Indian musician and composer, mainly focusing production on the Tamil film industry in India. He was born in 1979 in the Indian province of Tamil Nadu, and grew up in a family where music was given much value and importance. His father, Ilaiyaraaja, is a famous musician and composer as well, having contributed several scores to Indian Tamil films in the past. Quite expectedly, Raja attributes his talents to his father and brother. Yuvan Raja spent his childhood hoping to join the aircraft industry, due to his fascination with airplanes. However, having grown in an environment where music was everywhere, he was drawn immediately to instruments such as the guitar and keyboards and started focusing more on a career in music.
Yuvan began work on his first score at the age of 16 for a 1996 Tamil movie called Aravindhan. Other works on films like Velai (1998) and Kalyana Galatta (1998), however, did not manage to draw out much support and audience and in fact, sparked debate on the quality of the sound tracks amongst the critics. Raja went through a difficult time in his career at this early stage, where having left his studies after grade 10 and a seemingly failing music career, work was hard to find in the film market. Fortunately for Raja, movie directors like Vasanth, Sundar Pillai and Arunasalam Muragadoss recognized the special talents Raja possessed and hired him to make sound tracks for blockbusters like Poovellam Kettupar (1999), Rishi (2000) and Dheena (2000). The movies were huge successes, partly due to the music compositions created by Raja, and the late 1990s was when his career really took a formidable turn. With offers coming in from renowned directors producing on a much larger scale, Raja worked on scores for films like Thulluvadho Ilamai (2002), April Maadhathil (2002) and Kadhal Samrajyam (2002), particularly making music that appealed to the youth by blending in thematic elements of romance and drama. Together with the success due to his previous few contributions, particularly works in Thulluvadho Ilamai, Yuvan worked again with director Selvaraghavan for another score for Kaadhal Kondhein (2003), ultimately resulting in the first release of a film score CD in India.
After the ensuing success from working with Selvaraghavan, Yuvan was now being recognized as a music composer, with his works spreading like wild fire around the domestic music scene. The release of the 2004 film 7G Rainbow Colony ultimately placed him center-stage in the international acclaim arena, when he won the Best Music Direction Award for the first time. However, the 2005 score for the film Raam is arguably what demarcated his talents from other composers in the movie industry. The sound track for Raam has often been described as emotionally moving, and the level of class demonstrated in this particular composition won him an award at the Cyprus Film Festival in 2006 for Best Musical Score. Raja surprised his usual fans by acquiring an innovative approach in later projects such as Paruthiveeran (2006), wherein he made use of traditional folk instruments and blended in a variety of genres to make what one can call a special film score.
Yuvan Shankar Raja has worked on over a 100 films, winning around 5 well-recognized awards on domestic as well as international platforms. He is generally known to have brought the Hip Hop and Western music culture in to the local Tamil setting, through merging Indian traditional and Western music in a perfect match for his scores while also creating a splendid product of song remixes. He is currently works on a number of Tamil and Talugu songs, scheduled for release in late 2014 and early 2015.