Dinesh Aaryan Kanagaratnam ~ From Nothing to ADK

He met AR Rahman with 60 rupees on his hand. He spent 43 rupees to get a bouquet for the legend and used the remaining to go back home by bus. That's how life was for ADK though he was already established back then.

Dinesh Aaryan Kanagaratnam started off his career by being a designer. Somehow, he dwelled into the music world and got bashed up big time as a starter. Not being able to pull off a very appealing image due to lack of experience of a glamorous world, it made him be looked very low upon by some people. He was a nobody as he was not a well-trained musician and he was treated as a nobody and tarnished by some people. 

Cross-cultural album happened and though it didn't make my struggles to be any better but I learned a lot. I learned that I should never take all the defame I faced as a weak point or pain. You need to hunt for what you want. I started to hunt for publicity and money to build myself.

I know that I would not always get what I want but I learned that if I don't get it, I can at least demand it. Only, when you don't get what you have demanded then you survive with what you already have. Discipline is the key.

After Cross-cultural album in 2005, we realised that we had no access to promos like what we have now. Back then Youtube and Facebook was still new and there was no Instagram. We could only advertise ourselves through television and by posters. I wasn't that expert in self-promoting back then and I had no knowledge as well.

Then, I was inspired by Yogi B and I spent about 1 month in Malaysia looking for a good opportunity. Nothing went well but I didn't give up. I worked on Athichudi in 2008. That's when I took music seriously. 

Athichudi was a hit but the collaboration was not highlighted because I wasn't good enough to promote myself. Even though I have already entered Kollywood but I was not famous enough. I was called to Singapore to perform on stage and I was given 300 dollars as my salary.

I stayed in Singapore for collaboration. After I got married almost everything got pending. I didn't get the right space to produce music. While I was still struggling to handle my married life, I released SL2SG in 2010. It was a flop because it was not marketed well. I was back to being down and demotivated.

I was told that I am wasting my time. I was asked to go back. That motivated me to show them that they are wrong. I went India and produced music for one album. It was a flop again because the director didn't give me the freedom to produce the album like how I want it to be.

I did a music album next and it was a flop. Everything was a flop at that particular time. God tested my patience and anybody who would have been in my shoes would have thrown it and ran away. I went back to Sri Lanka and worked on ADK. I spent one whole year in Sri Lanka. 

That's when I met AR Rahman. I am a die hard fan of AR Rahman. I got his actual email address by luck and I emailed him. I thought he will never reply me looking at his status but he replied me. He said that he will meet me but a year went by and there was no second email from him. I emailed him again and I got an invitation to his place. Unfortunately, I was broke as hell as most of my album was a flop at that period.

I had only 60 rupees with me when I went to meet him. I spent 43 rupees to get a bouquet for AR Rahman so I won't be empty handed when I meet him. I was shaken after meeting someone with so much of positive energy. I cannot believe myself that a legend like him actually met me with just a few emails. Most people who have fame, money and high status have a very high chance to just ignore my email but he actually replied his email and I am standing in front of him right now.

To have AR Rahman someone who we can never imagine to treat me with respect. That was the first time I received so much of attention from a man who is already in a very high rank. It pinched me for a second, where I realised that I actually thought wrong about him. I thought that he is going to come, shake my hand and walk away but he sat and spoke to me. He left after that because he was busy. 

When I left the house, I had only 23 rupees on my hand after spending for the bouquet and all. When I took the bus, I ended up taking a wrong bus. I got down and walked for 35 minutes to the other junction When I reached the correct bus stop place. I sat down and reflected on my life. 

I started to tear unexpectedly while thinking what is going to happen to my life. I was happy that I met him but I was not sure if he ever going to call me back. I was very confused all of sudden. I don't have money, I don't have a strong support of friends and I don't have the right people around me. I was caught in major depression. 

ADK was done and I received a phone call and that person asked me to pack my bag and come to India as soon as possible because Rahman sir is searching for me. For a moment, I got taken aback. It is not about the fame if it is a flop I will be a joke. I had no money so I asked him, how should I come? He promised that he will settle everything for me. Rahman sir wanted to send me a track but I was using an old Nokia phone. That's how bad my situation was in 2012.

Rahman sir doesn't want a normal rapper. He wants my style. That's when Magudi came by. I started to write my own lyrics. I went to India and it was the first time someone who bought me a flight ticket. I was given a car for 4 days of usage and I was also given a nice hotel to stay. He treated me so well though there was no good result from me yet.

 When we were jamming I told out loud when I don't like it. Though it was Rahman sir, I liked being honest with him and I liked being me when I am with him. I didn't tell anybody about the release of Magudi. ADK was a success and Magudi got released as well. 

I didn't get any money nor had any shows coming in after that. I realised that I don't have a label and that's the reason why nobody is calling me for shows. I created a company to get more shows. Now after AYM it is a 50% turnover because I have a team.

Sri Rascol (Sri Pagenthiran), Kugan, Mohan, DJ Ruckes (Rakesh) and  Kirran are part of the team. Things are better now though we are still struggling because I am no longer a single person. I am a team. The struggle will never stop. 

Now I know how things work. That's how I found Sri Rascol. I introduced him to AR Rahman sir and we became a team. We really find it difficult to bring the name out. I got to know Kugan through Sri Rascol. Things changed and we launched ADK SRIRASCOL brand. Showkali came out and we registered Rap Machines and people have started to seek for us.  

"Don't ever stop climbing up, 
because one day you can look directly into the eyes 
of few who looked down on you " 


Photo credits:  ADK's Instagram

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  1. Superb.. inspiration story for current generation!!

  2. Beautifully written Cho-Jash-Ni. Truly inspired with his story.

  3. Awesome story really inspired 😍😍

  4. What an inspiring story!, l wish ADK Will also support someone else the same way he was supported by AR RAHMAN

    1. He did. He brought Sri Rascol to screen and build a team. ^_^

  5. Wow! I knew ADK only after 'Shokilla' (yeah, I'm Telugu). I have no idea he had gone through such struggle. His story is simply superb and gives me a hope.

    And the way you have written, the way you string the words together, is tour de force. Crappy Blogger, bookmarked :)

    1. Thank you so much for reading! Hoping to publish more inspiring story. Hopefully. ^_^