Both feet drumming on the Earth. Can you feel the vibration? Rhythm heard around the world.” The lyrics from Raja Kumari’s song ‘Meera’ aptly embody the sentiment she is all about–a globally recognised artist who seamlessly blends her Indian roots with American style hiphop. Over the years, she has come a long way, from her chart topping song ‘City Slums’ to earning a Grammy nomination and then launching her own record label Godmother Records. And now, Raja Kumari adds one more feather to her hat. She has collaborated with ‘All Of Me’ singer John Legend on an anthem, ‘Keep On Walking’, as part of the Walkers & Co. Tour and performed live with him this March in Mumbai and Gurugram. We caught up with her…
ELLE: How was collaborating with John Legend?
Raja Kumari(RK): It felt incredible because he is a musician that I have looked up to. He has created timeless songs, and just writing the record with him put me back into my songwriting space and encouraged me to try different sounds. My next album will reflect a more pop sound.
ELLE: When it comes to the rap/hip-hop scene, there is a stark inequality in terms of gender representation…
RK: When I entered the scene a few years ago, there were a lot of female musicians. We have to encourage each other by raising the bar and continuing to create music that is competitive worldwide, whether we’re female or male. I love seeing more women expressing themselves and getting a chance. But I would also love to see more platforms and festivals book famous artists with more female representation.
ELLE: What’s your advice to upcoming female artists?
RK: Don’t limit yourself to hiphop/ rap. I would advise everyone to make the music that they like. So just do you and be who you are; find your original sound.
ELLE: Describe your personal sense of style.
RK: I am fascinated with India’s textiles, fabrics and historical jewellery, so I like to dress regal. Fashion is an extension of my confidence and my personality.
ELLE: Tell us about your upcoming album.
RK: My full length solo album releases this spring. I worked on it during the entire pandemic. It was therapeutic for me to make, and I made it very privately, so it’s really fun for it to be in the world. It’s called The Bridge, which symbolises the bridge from the west to the east, from ancient to the future. Music is the bridge between us.
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