Visit Ravi's Web site here
August 27, 2000, Sunday Review India may not know him but the rest of the world does. Ravi is not just one of the most feted guitarists on the international scene, he's also Jawaharlal Nehru's grand nephew, says Viral Bhayani. He's worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry.
Throughout 1997, he played guitar for that year's top selling band in the world -- Hanson. They performed the platinum, No. 1 hit single, Mmmbop, and other cuts from their two multi-platinum albums including Middle of Nowhere (over 15 million sold) for President Bill Clinton and the First Family, on radio and television programmes worldwide, and in the world's most prestigious venues including New York's Madison Square Garden. He's also probably the only Indian to be featured on shows like The Late Show/David Letterman, The Tonight Show/Jay Leno, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Saturday Night Live, After Breakfast (Fox), The Today Show (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), Teen Idols (VH1), Showbiz Today (CNN) and Entertainment Tonight.
Doesn't matter if India does not know him, at least the rest of the world does. He's Ravi and he has an interesting connection with India -- he is the grand nephew of Jawarharlal Nehru. His paternal grandmother, Krishna Nehru Hutheesing was the youngest sister of Jawaharlal Nehru. Ravi's father, Ajit, came to the US in the 60s. Ravi was born in Washington, D.C., and has lived in the US practically all his life.
During 1998, he released his own CD entitled Ravi, which received excellent reviews. He collaborates on his music with many great talents including five-time Grammy winner (15 nominations) producer and engineer, Bruce Swedien (Michael Jackson), and world-renowned bass player and producer, Will Lee (David Letterman Band).
Ravi has also performed for a lot of other bands and artistes apart from Hanson.
So, how does it feel to be an Indian especially when you are the grand nephew of Jawaharlal Nehru? "Well, I have mostly grown up as an American. I often joke that I have grown up as an American with an even tan and a complicated name! But seriously, the awareness of being Indian is something that flows in and out of my life. As a kid, I wanted to 'fit in' with my American mates. Now, I am at a point in my life where I find it fascinating to be 'a little different' than most of the people around me. Artistically, I am becoming more and more intrigued with the idea of incorporating my roots into my music. Being part of a prominent family in India is never something that I have outwardly absorbed in my life, but something that I am certainly proud of."
In 1999, Ravi had two major releases -- his autobiography about his year on the road with Hanson, Dancin' With Hanson was released in April 1999. Simultaneously, he released a new CD entitled, Beyond The Blur, featuring some of the finest musicians New York has to offer.
Additionally, Ravi writes articles for music publications including Musician Magazine. He often conducts clinics, sits on panels, and offers quotes as an "industry expert". Smithsonian Magazine, ASCAP, and other societies have tapped his knowledge. Other ventures include developing and actively participating in youth programmes designed to inspire kids of all ages to explore their own creativity, pursue their dreams, and achieve their goals.
"There was a time when I used to teach as many as 60 students per week. The money that was made by me was later used for my studio, which is now used by some big music producers," Ravi says.
He is also currently working with the United Nations to help further the influence of youth in the decision-making of world governments. Ravi wishes to come to India with his band and if he feels the market is good, he will also release his albums.
"I have visited India thrice. The first when I was very young, only three. I became rather ill from dehydration and if my memory serves me well, Indira Gandhi arranged for a government plane to fly my mother and I to the best hospital in New Delhi, and I believe most of my stay in India was there. My mother and I then visited India many years later when I was 16. It was summer and the weather was less than agreeable. It was very hot, and again, I was not in the best health. However, we visited several places such as New Delhi, Bombay, Jaipur, Udipur, Ahmedabad (my grandfather's hometown) as well as some of the neighbouring towns of the major cities. We also visited many family members on that trip including Rajiv Gandhi and family (Rajiv was prime minister at the time), and Vijayalakshmi Pandit and her family. It was a great trip to get acquainted with India and my extended family." He again visited India in December, 1996, with his father and brothers. He met several family members including B. K. Nehru, whom he had not seen in years.
Thanks to his association with the band Hanson, there are hundreds of fan sites for Ravi on the Net, while his site HeyRavi.com receives almost 1,000 personal letters daily besides the fan clubs that he has throughout Europe.