Meet Indian rap icon Raja Kumari who recently released a single during lockdown called peace
Raja Kumari is an Indian American singer, rapper lyricist, actress, and dancer, from Claremont California, whose mission it is to inspire people through her powerful vocals.
'Peace ', a song by Raja Kumari that was recently released amidst the lockdown, is an English R&B number that builds on the theme of positivity.
The song is about surrounding yourself with good energy, focusing on the positives in life, and finding inner peace. It also talks about surrounding yourself with the right individuals, and thereby discovering related experiences.
Peace further amplifies Raja Kumari’s recurring theme of manifestation, heard and experienced across most of her songs.
Raja Kumari has teamed up with Elvis Brown on songwriting and Khari Brown on the music production front for the single.
The music video for Peace was shot during the quarantine and was a newly found experience for Raja Kumari. The video was shot in her family home in LA and Mt Baldy.
Describing her experience Raja says,
"Normally my video sets have a ton of people in different capacities but this was just a 3-person crew with my parents. At the end of a long day shooting out in the sun, my parents came out and brought us dosas and sambar. We wanted to shoot a simple, stripped-down music video amidst the quarantine."
In an exclusive interview with YS Weekender rapper Raja Kumari talks about her new single peace, the motivation behind it and her message for fans coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
YSW: Were you passionate about music from a young age and did you always know you wanted to be a performer?
RK: I was dancing for large audiences at a young age so I knew I wanted to continue to perform for a crowd. It wasn’t until I saw *NSYNC perform that I truly understood the impact a large platform could make.
Raja Kumari is a singer, rapper, actress, and dancer, based out of Claremont California.
YSW: Who were some of your early inspirations, singers, musicians, actors and who are they now?
RK: I grew up listening to some of the all-time greats from a variety of cultures, like AR Rahman, Missy Elliot, Lauryn Hill. They’ve continued to inspire me.
YSW: Tell us a little bit about your new single, Peace. What was the motivation behind this track?
RK: I had written Peace after I had landed back in Mumbai from America. My last single NRI was all about internet trolls and how I was letting them get in my head and how I needed to do a mental reset. This song came out of what I learned when I surrounded myself with positive people and great energy.
YSW: What was the experience like shooting amidst the lockdown? Who worked with you to bring the track to life?
RK: It was such a different video to make. I’ve been so fortunate to shoot videos where we have a large crew of people adjusting the lighting, hair, make-up, styling, etc., and this was the first time I had to do everything myself.
I wrote this song with my friend and frequent co-writer Elvis Brown. He really understood where I was trying to go and the type of emotion I wanted to bring to this song.
YSW: With the COVID-19 pandemic changing our lives, and its duration being uncertain, what is your message to your fans struggling to cope?
RK: Mental health is so important. I’ve been putting together a few tutorial videos on my YouTube page that will help you. The mind isn’t meant to stay indoors for weeks at a time so I want to share some of the ways I’ve learned to cope. Please wear a mask!
YSW: Tell us about some of your previous tracks, and a personal favourite that stands out for you.
RK: Tough question as they’re all my favourites. My last record, NRI, is a personal favourite, because I got to come out of the gate with a message. It was also the track that got me signed with Nas, a lifelong idol of mine, so it will always hold a special place for me.
YSW: Who are some of the singers you have collaborated with in the past, and who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
RK: I’ve been able to work with incredible talented people like Gwen Stefani, Julia Michaels, Timbaland, Method Man, and more. I’d still love to work with Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot, Summer Walker, among others.
Peace was created amidst lockdown.
YSW: What is your brainstorming process like when it comes to composing original singles?
RK: It’s really a vibe when we get in the studio. I don’t always go into the studio with a concept, I listen to what the spirits and energies are trying to guide through me.
YSW: What was it like being a part of the Red Bull Tour Bus, and Amazon Prime’s reality show the Remix, and most recently a part of the film Gully Boy?
RK: Being a part of the rise of hip hop in India was an unforgettable experience. Red Bull Tour Bus was an incredible crowd and something that changed my life.
The Remix was one of the first things I did once I came to India and I love remixing old songs and bringing a new vibe so it was really great to be a part of. Being a part of Gully Boy was prophetic because later I became on a judge on MTV Hustle, and it’s amazing that it became such an incredible piece of hip-hop history in India.
YSW: Since you are a curator and host to The New India by Apple Music Beats 1, what is your message to young talent, and those aspiring to make it to the music industry?
RK: I just want people to be themselves and own their lanes. I didn’t have a lot of people who looked like me growing up in America, and I want people to harness their creativity in new and unique ways.
YSW: What do you enjoy doing most on the weekend when not rapping or composing?
RK: I Just adopted a German Shepard Terabyte, Tara, who I have been training. I also just started a vegetable garden and my first strawberry just appeared. It’s a new hobby and I’m very excited about it!
(Pix credits: Raja Kumari)