∙ Raxxs­tar: U.K. Sen­sa­tion

SHE Canada - - CONTENT - By Poonam Chauhan

SHE caught up with Bri­tish rap-sen­sa­tion Raxs­tar, who came to promi­nence circa 2005, de­but­ing with his sin­gle ‘Keep It Un­der­cover’. Known as the ‘go-to’ for rap fea­tures, he has col­lab­o­rated with over 100 artists and merges the in­flu­ences of Bol­ly­wood, hip hop and smooth R&B flavours with his smart mouth, mak­ing Raxs­tar the type of artist that has some­thing for all. With an ever-grow­ing fan base, Raxs­tar man­ages to con­sis­tently cap­ture the hearts of his fans with the witty lyrics and heart-felt, raw emo­tion he brings to the ta­ble. I was able to delve a lit­tle deeper into the mind of the gifted artist to fill you in on all things from his favourite rap­per, to his per­spec­tive on the South-asian-fu­sion mu­sic scene and what he has in store for his fans in the near fu­ture.

What inspired you to first get into the mu­sic in­dus­try? Was it some­thing you al­ways knew you wanted to do?

From a young age I was cre­atively in­clined and mu­sic was an in­te­gral part of my up­bring­ing. I was fol­low­ing my pas­sion and mak­ing mu­sic while I was at col­lege and univer­sity. That path led me to the ca­reer I have now and I am very grate­ful that I can do what I love ev­ery day.

You have such an amaz­ing, di­verse body of work so far. Who and what are you inspired by when writ­ing songs? Is there some­one in par­tic­u­lar that you’re a fan of on the rap scene cur­rently?

Thank you so much! I draw in­spi­ra­tion from ev­ery­thing I ex­pe­ri­ence; what­ever I see and feel will find its way into my mu­sic. I love mu­sic and as a fan I fol­low artists and also trends and scenes, most re­cently I would say I’m im­pressed with Ken­drick La­mar. His al­bum ( good kid, m.a.a.d city) was a piece of art and near enough flaw­less.

What would you say has been your great­est achieve­ment so far in your ca­reer?

The fact that peo­ple know my songs and mem­o­rize lyrics I have writ­ten al­ways seem to hit a nerve with me. I re­mem­ber when I first started, I just wanted peo­ple to lis­ten to my songs and my lyrics and now I have an au­di­ence who want to hear what I have cre­ated. That will al­ways be a great achieve­ment to me.

Where do you hope to see your­self in about five years time?

In five years I hope to have con­tin­ued to grow and reached a very wide au­di­ence with my mu­sic and also diver­si­fied into other cre­ative out­lets.

You’ve grown im­mensely along with the South Asian fu­sion mu­sic scene, where do you see the South Asian fu­sion mu­sic scene go­ing? Where glob­ally do you think it’s flour­ish­ing at this point in time?

I was lucky enough to have started in this scene when it had its first flurry of stars emerg­ing such as Jay Sean and Raghav. I re­mem­ber those days fondly how­ever, a lot of artists from that time have given up mu­sic en­tirely. I do feel that there is that same ex­cite­ment with artists, and also with the au­di­ence now, that there was back then. It is hum­bling to be a part of it again and I am a fan of so many artists who are do­ing amaz­ing things and re­leas­ing great mu­sic right now.

Your tracks such as ‘Jaane­man’ and ‘Flirt’ re­ally took the world by storm in­ter­na­tion­ally. What has been your great­est strug­gle in terms of work­ing your way up in the mu­sic in­dus­try? What have you learnt from your ex­pe­ri­ences?

I think the hard­est part of the strug­gle is find­ing the strength to con­tinue do­ing what you love. Peo­ple on the out­side only see the fi­nal prod­uct, they don’t see the hours of work that goes on be­hind the scenes and it is easy to feel dis­heart­ened and want to quit when you have lit­tle or no re­ward for those ef­forts. The mu­sic in­dus­try is just like any other pro­fes­sion, you work hard and you work to­wards goals and slowly but surely, you will get there. I have also learnt to take fame with a pinch of salt. For many peo­ple, fame is their goal but when you make mu­sic be­cause you’re fol­low­ing your pas­sion, then fame is just a re­sult of do­ing what you love.

You’re known to be a very raw and per­sonal rap­per. Do you base your songs on real life ex­pe­ri­ences? If so, why or why not?

There are times when I can’t ex­press what I feel through any other means than mu­sic. My songs are an ex­ten­sion of me and my thoughts and feel­ings. Not all songs I write are based on my life though. Just like how an ac­tor will be­come a char­ac­ter and bring their own pres­ence to a role they play, some­times I will put my­self in sit­u­a­tions and then write from that point of view. I will al­ways be hon­est with any­thing I write though; it is never false, which is why I think peo­ple find it easy to con­nect to.

What piece of ad­vice do you have to of­fer some­one who’s an as­pir­ing rap­per?

Don’t chase the fame. Work hard on your art form, study ev­ery rap­per you can and then find your own voice.

You’ve al­ready got your hand in t-shirt de­sign with the Hanji Hello shirt and you’ve also re­cently col­lab­o­rated with MTV In­dia and Bad­shah for the spo­ken word, Ban­dook. What can we ex­pect from you in the near fu­ture?

My al­bum has been in the works for years and I am re­leas­ing it fi­nally this year! I have loads more col­lab­o­ra­tions and mu­sic in store. We are also launch­ing more cloth­ing and as the op­por­tu­ni­ties arise I hope to get in­volved in some act­ing roles.

Is there a cer­tain phrase that you live by? If so, what is it?

Never let a win get to your head or a loss get to your heart.

Fol­low @raxs­tar on twit­ter, @raxs­taruk on In­sta­gram and like the Raxs­tar Face­book page for up­dates and in­spir­ing posts. Don’t for­get to check out raxs­tardw.com for fur­ther de­tails.

The fact that peo­ple know my songs and mem­o­rize ly rics I have writ­ten al­ways seem to hit a nerve with me.

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