Yuvan Shankar Raja is the third and youngest child of musician and film composer Ilaiyaraaja and his late wife Jeeva. He is the younger brother of music director Karthik Raja and playback singer-cum-music director Bhavatharini. Film director and film composer Gangai Amaran and R. D. Bhaskar are his uncles and their sons Venkat Prabhu, Premgi Amaren and Parthi Bhaskar, who are working in the Tamil film industry as well, are his cousins. Yuvan Shankar did his schooling at St. Bede's Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School in Chennai, and discontinued his education after his tenth class. He started learning music from Jacob Master, attending piano classes at "Musee Musical" in Chennai, which is affiliated to Trinity College in London, UK.
Yuvan Shankar Raja entry into the Tamil film and music industry had happened at age 16, thus becoming one of the youngest composers ever in the industry. T. Siva, the producer of the Tamil language film Aravindhan gave him the assignment to compose the entire film score including a soundtrack for that film. However, both the soundtrack album as well as the film itself failed to attract audiences and to do well and Yuvan Shankar Raja's following projects Velai (1998) and Kalyana Galatta (1998) were not successful. During this time of struggling, he was approached and assigned by director Vasanth to compose the music for his film Poovellam Kettuppar (1999), the soundtrack received very positive response. After working for two Sundar C. films, Unakkaga Ellam Unakkaga (1999) and Rishi (2000), he got to work for A. R. Murugadoss' directorial debut in 2000, the action flick Dheena starring Ajith Kumar, which went on to become a blockbuster and Yuvan Shankar Raja's first major successful film. In 2001 he had four album releases, the first being Thulluvadho Ilamai, Nandha, April Maadhathil and Mounam Pesiyadhe. At the same time he made his Telugu debut with Seshu and Malli Malli Chudali and also composed for the Tamil films Junior Senior and Pop Carn, starring Malayalam actors Mammootty and Mohan Lal, respectively, all of which performing poorly at the box offices, though. His 2004 releases, 7G Rainbow Colony and Manmadhan, were both critically and commercially successful films. His first of nine album releases of 2005 was Raam. His success streak continued with his following releases of that year, the low-budget films Arinthum Ariyamalum, Kanda Naal Mudhal and Sandakozhi becoming successful ventures at the box office. He next worked on the romantic comedies Happy and Azhagai Irukkirai Bayamai Irukkirathu and the gangster film Pattiyal, which all released in early 2006. His subsequent releases that year include Silambarasan's debut directorial, Vallavan and Thimiru, the year's highest-grossing films. In November 2006, the Paruthiveeran soundtrack album got released. The film, Ameer's third feature film as well as Karthi's debut venture, received universal critical acclaim after its release in February 2007 and became a blockbuster. In 2007, he had a record ten album releases in one year, that includes Deepavali, Chennai 600028, Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule, Satham Podathey, Thottal Poo Malarum, Kannamoochi Yenada, Kattradhu Thamizh, Billa. In 2008, five films, featuring Yuvan's music were released, two of them being the Tamil and Kannada remakes of Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule, titled Yaaradi Nee Mohini and Anthu Inthu Preethi Banthu. In late 2009, the soundtrack album of Paiyaa released, which was regarded as a "blockbuster album". Along with Paiyaa, songs from three more films for which he composed music that year – Naan Mahaan Alla, Baana Kaathadi and Boss Engira Bhaskaran.
In early 2010 he composed his first Bollywood song "Haq Se" as part of the ensemble soundtrack of the film Striker, starring his close friend Siddharth, which received thoroughly positive reviews. His 2012 works include Billa II, starring Ajith Kumar, Ameer's long-delayed Aadhi Bhagavan and Vasanth's Moondru Per Moondru Kadhal. Around 35 of the Tamil films, for which he had composed music, were afterwards dubbed into Telugu, Kannada or Malayalam languages as were the respective soundtracks. Apart from these ones, he also worked "straightly" on Telugu projects such as Seshu, Malli Malli Chudali, Happy, Raam, Raju Bhai and Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule, making him a well-known popular composer in Andhra Pradesh, too. Yuvan's Panjaa, which released in 2011, has created all-time records, creating new waves (trends) as a rocking album in Andhra Pradesh.
Besides, Yuvan Shankar Raja is a noted playback singer as well. As of August 2011, he has sung over 80 songs, mostly his own composed songs and several times for his father Ilaiyaraaja and his brother Karthik Raja. He lent his voice first in 1988, when he was eight years old for a song in the film En Bommukutty Ammavukku, composed by his father. Since, he frequently sang for his father in films such as Anjali (1990), Chatriyan (1990), Thalattu Ketkuthamma (1991), Friends (2001), Kaathal Jaathi (2002), Ramana (2003) and Neethane En Ponvasantham (2012). In 2013, he sang a song for Rahman in the film Maryan. He has been credited with having introduced Hip-hop in the Tamil film music industry and having successfully integrated the genre into the Tamil musical mainstream. Yuvan Shankar Raja married his girlfriend Sujaya Chandran on 21 March 2005, at the Mayor Sri Ramanathan Chettiyar Hall in Chennai, India. In August 2007, they filed for divorce with mutual consent, which was granted in February 2008, after 6 months. On 1 September 2011, he married Shilpa Mohan at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. In February 2014, he announced through his Twitter account that he had embraced Islam. He further rechristened himself as Abdul Khaliq. On 1 January 2015, he married for the third time. Yuvan and his 3rd wife had a baby girl on 7 April 2016.