” The Corporate world is the ultimate way of achieving success”. That’s what our elders say. Stepping in a game that’s going to lead you to a completely new world comes with risks that can affect your whole life. Living in a foreign land while keeping your roots alive is not an easy thing to do.
Svetha Rao, who goes by the stage name Raja Kumari is an American songwriter and rapper of Indian origin who lives in Claremont, California. She was nominated for a Grammy in 2015, won the BMI songwriters award in 2016 and has worked with icons like Iggy Azalea, Knife Party, Fall Out Boy and others.
“Melody is the key” – Raja Kumari
Fusion of Hip-Hop and Indian instruments is not new in the rap music world, Timbaland has been doing this throughout his career, Dr Dre has also dabbled with Indian samples to create a number of hit songs
Raja Kumari’s style of fusion comes from using Indian sounds and classical rhythms when creating her music, as she is a trained Indian classical dancer. She likes to call her style as ‘Bollyhood‘ because it’s a fusion between Bollywood’s style and glamour and sound, which is a melody driven category and rap music, which is considered as a hood genre.
She effortlessly fuses rhythms from her dance style on a Hip-Hop beat that contains a Pop/R&B driven melody. She was asked to change her self in the initial years of her career as a musician but eventually found herself and a style that came naturally to her. ‘They’ even asked her to change her name because it was not easy for them to pronounce. In the end, the effort and consistency paid off as she is set to take the world by storm.
Her life has been interesting and she briefly spoke about her journey in a documentary with the team at ‘Uncharted‘ which is powered by Honda. She opened up about her influences and mentioned a few names like Britney Spears, M.I.A amongst others. She discussed the moment when idea of how Indian classical rhythms can be fused with the western style of music came to her. People who rejected her once for her exotic cultural backgrounds are now accepting her for taking risks and that’s an achievement in it self.
She’s currently working on ‘The Come Up’ which is going to be an E.P released later this month. Her songs like ‘Mute‘ and ‘Believe In You‘ are already popular in the Hip-Hop communities around the world. She’s also due to tour India this December, more details on that are expected to be out soon.
Check out full documentary on Raja Kumari by Honda’s ‘Uncharted’ here :