R. Prasanna is a multi-talented musician who can play guitar, piano, bass, and percussion in various genres like Carnatic, world fusion, jazz, and progressive rock. He is also a teacher, producer, singer, music educator, and composer. He was born on Oct 2, 1970, in Chennai, India.
At the mere age of five, seeing his neighbor play guitar instigated his interest in the instrument. Five years later, he bought the guitar for himself and could recreate Tamil and Hindi mainstream songs on it. Aware of Prasanna's inclination towards music, his father's colleague would give him the cassettes of pop bands like Pointer Sisters, ABBA, Peaches and Herb, The Bee Gees, and Toto.
It fascinated him. Simultaneously, he was also listening to Classical music and looked up to Illayaraja. C.G. Shanmugaraj, A. Kanyakumari, Tiruvarur Balasubramaniam, Sangeetha Kalanidhi, and Thangadural Samuel are his teachers. Besides music, he was also an exemplary student and exceptionally bright in Maths and Science. He has studied naval architecture from one of Madras's prestigious educational institution, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. After graduating from there, he took up a job with a software consultant but later gave it all up to continue his tryst with music. He has also done a major in Classical and Jazz composition from Berklee College of Music, Boston. In his year there, he won the Guitar Achievement Award for outstanding student accomplishment.
He has performed at several locations in the country with his band. The President of India gave him a congratulatory citation for his work in the movie Smile Pinki. He has managed to achieve many awards like the Lifetime Achievement Award in Carnatic music from Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. H.H. Jayendra Saraswathi presented the award to him. His composition Falsehood, featured in Henry Martin and Keith Waters' third edition book named Essentials of Jazz – the first 100 years. He has worked on several projects, irrespective of their language and medium, and has won accolades for it.
He has also taught and guided several musicians like Ranjani Sridhar, Avyay, Shruthi, Shiam, Andre Fludd, Srivatsa, Ayyappan, Praveen, Gokul, Raghav, much more. He has also founded South Asia's state-of-the-art and largest college named Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music where music lovers can enroll themselves for learning contemporary, jazz, and rock music. Until February 2014, he was also the institute's president. He was also one of the faculty at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. He is one of the most famous guitar players of the country who has can also play the instrument's modern version with relative ease.