Mayssa Karaa and A. R. Rahman Craft a Bollywood Hit
With two million YouTube views in its first two days, and more than five million total over a single month online, the first collaboration between Lebanese-American vocalist Mayssa Karaa B.M. ’12 and Indian music superstar A. R. Rahman ’14H has struck a major chord with Bollywood listeners.
The song, “Hayati,” features a powerful Arabic hook by Karaa alongside rap vocals in English by Shivang Vaishnav, and is unified by Rahman’s eclectic blend of contemporary popular music production sensibility with traditional Indian instruments and melodies. The result is a genre-defying, infectious sound all its own.
Featured in the major Tamil-language picture Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (Crimson Red Sky), the song marks Karaa’s introduction to the Indian film market, but not the first time her singing has been featured in a hit movie. Karaa’s haunting rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” was a standout track on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for 2013’s American Hustle.
A. R. Rahman is among the world's most widely acclaimed and popular composers. He won two Academy Awards for his soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire. In 2014, Berklee awarded him an honorary doctorate, and the Berklee Indian Ensemble celebrated his substantial musical contributions with a packed performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall.
According to Karaa, this is only the first collaboration with Rahman to be released, with more music coming next year. Until then, the play count on “Hayati” continues to climb.