New Delhi–Grammy-nominated Indian-American songwriter-rapper Raja Kumari, who lent her voice to the title track of Salman Khan-starrer “Race 3” and “Husn Parcham” in Shah Rukh Khan’s “Zero”, feels that things are evolving for Indians in US when it comes to cross-cultural collaborations and terms it a “brown renaissance”.
In one of her previous interviews, Kumari mentioned that Indian classical training helped her understand hip-hop mathematically. However she also said that Indian classical dance didn’t really have a huge platform in America so have things changed now especially with so many cross cultural musical collaborations happening?
“Things are evolving in the US. I like to call it the ‘brown renaissance’ Indians are more relevant in so many fields, especially entertainment. It’s exciting to be a part of that wave and really influence the culture,” she told IANS over in email on the sidelines of RED FM’s Riders Music Festival where she performed.
Kumari is best known for her collaboration with notable artists including Gwen Stefani, Iggy Azalea, Fifth Harmony and Fall Out Boy. She was also nominated for a Grammy award in February 2015 and featuring on BBC Asian Network programme Bobby Friction on July 5, 2016.
Talking about her growth plan and how she balanced being both Indian and American with her performances, she said, “My parents always valued the arts so I was always immersed in classical dance and music. American music was my rebellion, my escape. I think learning to navigate both worlds with authenticity has helped me become the artist I am today. ”
So was India always in your mind to make a big impression?
“India has always been important to me. If my own people don’t know me, then how can I represent our culture worldwide? Touring India has been the greatest gift. I have learned so much about myself and you can really hear that on my upcoming album ‘BloodLine’, ” she said.
Her first big placement was Iggy Azalea’s “Change Your Life” and she also wrote six songs for Gwen Stefani album, “This Is What the Truth Feels Like,” which debuted number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
Talking about the intial days, she said, “Sometimes it looks like an overnight success, but countless hours were spent learning and practicing my craft. It’s been so incredible to have commercial success with artists that I admire and love.”
And she feels much more energised now.
“I feel energized and ready to give my new music to the world. Shook was a personal triumph for me. Releasing that record started a new journey for me and I’m excited to share that with all of you,” said Kumari.
This year the Riders Music Festival (RMF) showcased a perfect line-up of contemporary musicians with different genres of music at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here. From Nucleya’s high octane gig, Lucky Ali’s husky Bollywood charm to Mame Khan’s folk music, the event saw over 20 thousand biking and music enthusiasts. Adding jazz to the line-up, was Shirley Setia’s filmy vocals with Divine’s new-age rapping and some soulful music with Bhuvam Bham.
Kumari released her new single ‘Shook’ at the festival.
“The single really inspired me to level up,” she said. (IANS)