∙ Raxxstar: U.K. Sensation
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.