KOCHI:“For me, music is life. It is something that permeates into everything I see and feel,” says music composer Ronnie Raphael whose compositions have created ripples with their utterly soulful and melodious notes. For Raphael, music surges through his veins and there is practically no existence without it.
Raphael is the man behind the highly captivating melody ‘Vennilavin Chirakileri’ of College Days and the arresting background score of the thriller ‘Oppam’. With a slew of bewitching songs, Raphael has made a mark in the music industry. The man is slowly emerging from the overpowering shadow of his father O V Raphael, a renowned musician.
Raphael is someone who tiptoed into the world of music ever since he can remember. Even when he was little, he always knew deep down that music is his forte. The strong backing in music for having born into a family of musicians has helped Raphael immensely. “I grew up listening to music and always knew this is where I want to be,” says the music director as he reminisces his first stage performance, years back, when he was just a grade two student performing a piece in harmonium. Although he started treading into music by learning Carnatic music, keyboard spiked his interest soon and there was no looking back ever since.
“My greatest blessing is that I was born into a musical family and that helped immensely,” says the composer who has composed for more than thirty films. His debut film was ‘Kalyanakkurimanam’ in 2005, and later on went on to give music to movies such as ‘College Days’, ‘Simhasanam’, ‘Kaanchi’, ‘Oppam’, ‘Overtake’ and ‘Bobby’, among others. His composition ‘Vennilavin Chirakileri’ of College days garnered much appreciation and topped the charts as soon as it was released. Later the background score he composed for the Mohanlal thriller ‘Oppam’ was much talked about.
“I have been lucky enough to work with a plethora of music directors, assisting as well as programming for them and this has helped me a great deal,” says the music director who started his career composing jingles way back when he was just doing his pre-degree. His first jingle was for ‘Hanveev’ and later went on to do over 150 jingles. Even while in college he played for a slew of recordings and after his education at Mar Ivanios College, he assisted in more than 200 movies till date. Apart from working in Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam movies, he has also composed the background score for a Hollywood movie ‘Marathon’. The music of the cartoon ‘Tenali Raman’ which aired on Cartoon Network was also the work of Raphael and that gave a fresh spin to music. One of the priceless moments in his career was when his music for animation movie ‘Three Wishes’ won the gold medal at the Kalamazoo International Animation Film Festival.
His favourite musicians include Ilayaraja and A R Rahman whose works, he says, have inspired him in innumerable ways. An ardent listener of world music, Raphael is an admirer of the works of noted composer Hans Zimmer. “I am crazy about the music of Hans Zimmer and his techniques and styles is a great source of inspiration,” he adds. “I try to experiment and always bring different ‘soundings’ in each work of mine and that is something I am particular about,” adds Raphael.
He is married to Pretty Ronnie who is a dancer and they have two sons, Ron and Ryan. Most of his music is born in the home studio at his residence in Thiruvananthapuram. The works he is presently involved in include ‘Wonderboys’, ‘Nammaliloral Kallan’, ‘Aalorukkam’, ‘Nimir’ which is the Tamil remake of ‘Maheshinte Prathikaram’ and ‘Miss Kerala’, among others.