Stories about discovering talent are always exhilarating to hear. The part hope plays brings an energy to the movement of the discovery made is magical. The natural emergence of something beautiful where nothing existed before is always thrilling. South Auckland based music label Dawn Raid Entertainment made its moves to the New Zealand industry staying true to their local roots in rap acts. Dawn Raid knew what they wanted on their label and a female RnB singer was definitely on their list. Who would this be? Usually it’s someone unknown and undiscovered; someone who takes the scene by storm and also brings the label good business. Dawn Raid signed a shy Kiwi girl from Porirua whose mother is Samoan and father is Indian. Aaradhna as an artist explores various styles with her powerful yet soulful vocals but her thumbprint comes from the personal touch she gives her art.
What emerged out of her exploring this space is Brown Girl. It’s an album that talks about love, heartbreak and life in general. The album won a Tui this week at the New Zealand Music Awards in the Best Urban/Hip Hop Artist category. Aaradhna however did not accept the award and offered it to fellow nominees Swidt, saying that the hip hop group is more suitable for the award.
Aaradhna’s interpretation of life around her comes alive on her album and her not accepting the award is an extension of her music. One of the themes that the title track of her album talks about is racism and she felt that she would be betraying her truth by accepting an award which she half-joked saying “feels like she’s been placed in a category for brown people.” Aaradhna however is not the only one who has felt odd about the “urban” category. It’s a term regularly used to label radio stations. It’s sounds like a term used to stamp a genre of music tied to just the city when that’s not really true. While Aaradhna’s action may have attracted some criticism, it also garnered support and admiration.