It was in 2011 that he first came to Chennai – to record a song for Harish Raghavendra. During his sojourn here, Sasi the Don wandered around the streets and driven by sheer habit, checked out a music store.
He saw quite a bit of Bob Marley merchandise — key chains, CDs, T-shirts and the like. “I’d travelled quite a bit but hadn’t seen so much Marley merchandise anywhere else,” he recalls.
That’s when the Malaysian reggae artist decided he would contribute something to the music scene in India. And, Hello India – an album under the Universal Music banner – was born. While it features the musician’s previous hit singles, remixed and rearranged, it also has a few new songs. Besides, there’s a song titled Island Queen in which Sasi has worked with the legendary reggae soul master Maxi Priest. The highlight of the album, according to him, will be the title track ‘Hello India’ that describes the Indian experience. “India is such a wonderful country with so much to offer to the world,” he says, “To introduce myself to the Indian audience, especially the youth, I wanted to extend my hand and greet them… of course, in a musical way.”
Reggae might not be as popular as other music forms but, it is, in Sasi’s words, “the music of love.”
“There are not many reggae artists in India, but the few who pursue this genre are outstanding. Reggae is doing well in India, and artists come up with good work. I feel my experience in Malaysia will enable me to popularise the genre in India in a big way. Listening to reggae makes you happy,” he says.
Sasi the Don hopes to work extensively with the Indian film fraternity, of which he’s a huge fan. “I look up to guys like Rahman and Anirudh; the work they do is phenomenal. Tamil films have a huge following in Malaysia; we’re always looking at the industry,” he states.
He has another job – he works in advertising – but music remains his passion. “It always will be,” he says. How did he acquire the ‘The Don’ part of his name? “Well, I worked as a DJ part-time and during that stint, someone shouted that name out to me. I felt that it was powerful and I’ve been Sasi the Don since then.”