He gives up spot in NUS for music
He had a place to study business at the National University of Singapore.
But Anirudh Ravichander, then 19, gave it up to focus on music.
And while his parents "kicked and screamed" at his decision to forgo his business education for music, Anirudh has no regrets - he has become one of the most popular up-and-coming composer-singers in India.
The 22-year-old is also popular in Singapore. He has fans from all races as he raps in English too.
"I wanted to stay (in India) because I never knew when I'd get the chance (to do music)," he told The New Paper.
He convinced his parents with a compromise - he would study in India instead and do music part-time.
While studying commerce in a local university, he made his debut as a music composer in the Tamil movie 3, which was directed by his cousin Aishwarya Dhanush, daughter of famous South Indian actor Rajinikanth.
He made people sit up and notice him with the song Why This Kolaveri Di? (Why this murderous rage, girl?), composed for the film.
It was released on YouTube in 2011 and has garnered more than 82 million views to date.
The song caught the attention of people around the world because of its unusual mix of Tamil and English words, otherwise known as "Tanglish".
Based on Indian folk music, infused with electronic synths, the song is an anthem for guys who have fallen out of love.
"The sudden growth and attention I got was really unexpected," Anirudh said.
He will perform in Singapore tonight at the Max Pavilion at the Singapore Expo.
He made Singapore the first stop of his first world tour. He said: "I was supposed to be in Singapore for studies, but now it feels like I've made a complete circle."
The concert, which includes a mosh pit - aims to be an MTV-style show.
Anirudh had a passion for music even as a child - he played the keyboard in a school band.
He played compositions by Oscar-winning Indian music composer A. R. Rahman on the keyboard.
He recalled: "I joined music composition classes when I was in the sixth standard (Primary 5), but my compositions back then sound really horrible."
When making music, he is influenced by life experiences and his mood.
"If I tried to compose something right now, it would be a happy tune or a beat. I wouldn't be able to compose something sad because that isn't how I feel right now," he explained.
In January, he got some flak for a video he had released called Ain't Nobody ****Ing With My Music.
The video, which has been removed from his YouTube channel, shocked people because of the liberal use of vulgarities which critics say degraded women.
"I always have relatable content in my songs, and I want to make music that will get people's attention. I want them to enjoy it," he said.
I was supposed to be in Singapore for studies, but now it feels like I've made a complete circle.
- Music composer Anirudh Ravichander on his show here
Anirudh Live in Singapore
Max Pavilion, Singapore Expo
Prices from $50 (Visit www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)
5 facts about Anirudh
1 Anirudh Ravichander is the nephew of South Indian superstar Rajinikanth, who is a cultural icon with over a hundred films under his belt.
2 There were many covers of Anirudh's songs made by fans, causing his music label, Sony Music India, to want to take these fans to task over copyright issues. But Anirudh refused to let the company remove the videos, saying: "They should be free to express what they feel, and if they find joy in doing so with my music, why not?"
3 He learnt classical piano from Trinity College of Music in London. He also learnt South India's carnatic music, a type of Indian classical music. He was even part of a carnatic fusion band, honing his skills while waiting for his big break.
4 He studied at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, one of the most prestigious schools in Chennai, India.
5 He did not have a singing background till his third movie - when he started taking singing classes. He still attends them.