“McNally Smith College of Music graduates work all over the world” is a message that is often communicated to potential students and those already attending the music school. The latest one is datelined Chennai, India, where Vasanth David is making his way into India’s flourishing film industry and in its commercial and music production trades. India’s movie industry, often known as Bollywood, was catapulted into the international spotlight at last year’s Oscars when the film, Slumdog Millionaire, swept the awards ceremony, including the Best Soundtrack for A.R. Rahman’s film score and Best Song (“Jai Ho”), also by Rahman and lyricist Gulzar.
Vasanth, an Indian-born musician, had already been a drummer and Sound Engineer and Music Programmer before coming to McNally Smith to improve his sound engineering chops. He worked regularly as a drummer performing all over India with various bands with vivid musicality, including the groups Moksha, LBG, Paul Christian, and others. He went on to complete his diploma in sound engineering from SAE (the School of Audio Engineering in Chennai) and later worked as a musician/music programmer with top notch music directors in Chennai on films, commercials and albums. Many of his projects span a broad range of musical styles, with everything from Funk, Rock, Punk and Pop to Praise and Worship, Folk and other genres.
Then Vasanth decided to do what every self-directed musician and production expert does, he delved deeper into his profession with more education and training. He sought to further improve his knowledge in sound engineering by opting ultimately for a Music Technology/Recording degree from McNally Smith College of Music, after taking an earlier, one-year course at Berklee College in 2005 to help fine tune his abilities. Based on his experiences in India, he won the Ben Sidran Scholarship for excellence in music production and sound design for the 07-08 school year, and went on to earn his McNally Smith diploma in 2008.
Today Vasanth has gained enough knowledge, confidence and expertise to establish his own recording and production facility in Chennai called Sixth Avenue Recordings. Bryan Forrester, Coordinator of Academic Advisement for McNally Smith, says he’s not surprised by the former student’s success — and the opportunities that lie ahead.
“Vasanth always spoke of his plans to return home after school and write music for film,” Forrester notes. “ I’m proud to see that his plans have come to life.”
Among Vasanth’s clients is one of India’s biggest production houses, Rajkamal Productions. His latest project with the company titled, Unnai Pol Orruvan, is a multilingual feature length movie with composer and actress Shruti Hassan. He’s also collaborated with several renowned Music Directors in the Tamil film and television industry including Pravin Mani, and James Vasanthan. His future looks very bright. Will we one day witness Vasanth at the podium of the Oscars, accepting a statue for his work on an award-winning film and thanking the staff and students at McNally Smith? It could happen…..Newer: Concrete and Grass Lowertown Music Festival Featured McNally Smith Students, Staff and Faculty
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