We had a chat with Composer and Rapper RaOol about his debut four-tracked Gujarati EP and his life as a musician. Check it out now!

Australia-raised and UK-based composer/rapper of Indian descent, RaOol. He is gearing up for the worldwide launch of his debut four-tracked Gujarati EP entitled ‘Gujarat Stand Up’ on the occasion of Navratri 2020.

RaOol has collaborated with Brijesh Shandilya, Pragathi Guruprasad, Gujarati folk and child prodigy Aishwarya Majmudar, Bollywood playback singer Divya Kumar, British-Indian singer-songwriter Jaz Dhami who will be making his debut in Gujarati music with Bollywood songstress Neeti Mohan who also will be seen rapping in Gujarati for the very first time.

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Here’s are some excerpts from our interaction with RaOol:

When did you decide that you want to make and create music?

“My love for music started in school with my keen interest in poetry and words. Hip-Hop is simply poetry in rhythm so as soon as my cousin gave me a CD of Snoop Dogg Doggystyle, and Dr. Dre Chronic it was a (w)rap. I developed as a rapper first but I went through a period in my teens obsessed with the Beetles which founded my love in compositions and working with melodies. It was when I was around 18, my first year at University that I developed an addiction to booking studio time, funded by a part-time job at McDonald’s cleaning the chicken oven – all whilst being a vegetarian. It’s in those studio sessions that I decided to make music my life.”

How excited are you for your four-tracked Gujarati EP and how would you describe it? 

“The 4 Track EP – Gujarat Stand Up – out now – is my first EP, so like all firsts in life, it comes with a lot of excitement and a pinch of anxiousness. But there’s a lot of firsts in this project. Featuring major Bollywood, Punjabi, and Gujarati names spanning 4 different continents makes this EP the first International Hip-Hop album in Gujarati.

What was exciting was working with Gujarati Folk/pop Queen Aishwarya Majmudar because to me she is leading the wave of new Gujarati talent. Equally, it was super dope to feature non-Gujarati singers like LA-based south Indian singer Pragathi Guruprasad and Punjabi superstar Jaz Dhami as well as playback icons like Neeti Mohan, Divya Kumar, and upcoming star Brijesh Shandilya as well! Getting Neeti Mohan to rap was defo a highlight for me! This project is Gujarati music reimagined in my way and my first step in bringing Gujarati Hip Hop to the world.  Punjab has made its mark, now it’s our time, Gujarat Stand Up.

How has your Indian heritage inspired you in your work? 

“I’m a UK-born, Australian raised rapper composer but I’m very proud of Indian and Gujarati heritage and guided by those influences in the music I make. I feel the best music I can create is that which is true to who I am as a person, so I’m naturally inclined toward Indian sur and taal.”

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There are a bunch of Indian rappers who are being recognised today. What are your thoughts on the whole Indian Rap Culture? 

“The fact that wherever you look, both nationally as well as regionally, there are already signs of a thriving hip-hop community incorporating all 3 pillars of hip-hop, (Rap, Grafitti, and Street Dancing) is hugely exciting. Waiting for Bollywood big-wigs to pay us some attention is a mistake, Bollywood treats all music like a fad, and it belongs to no one. We, as a hip-hop community needs to be self-reliant with our content creation and be a business onto ourselves.”

Who would you say is your favourite artist in India and/or Internationally?

“My all-time favourite Indian artist is RD Burman. He was so ahead of his time in terms of sound, taking inspiration from lands far and wide. It’s in his honour, that a friend here in London suggested I name myself RaOol. Not to say I’m anywhere on the same level as the great RD Burman but it’s his approach to making music that I am inspired by. My favourite international artist by a long shot is Spanish artist Rosalia.”

What are the genres of songs that you generally connect with the most? 

“I love all sorts of music and have favourites in almost all genres (apart from death metal or hardcore EDM) – From Bhajans to Bollywood, from Basshall to Bhangra, Reggae to Rock, etc. But I find myself gravitating toward street music the most – Be it Hip-Hop, Latin, Afrobeat or Dancehall.”

Do you wish to create more music for Bollywood? 

“As a composer/rapper I like to make music from my emotions, and that which I like, if it then works for a film that’s great because I am a fan of Bollywood cinema. I loved working on Housefull 3 with Abhishek Bachchan, it was a huge honour for me and also on Tum Bin 2 teaching  Dwayne ‘DJ’ Bravo how to rap a Hindi verse I did for him.”

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Here’s how RaOol reacted to our Quick five:

One artist you want to work with?

“AR Rahman, the greatest of all time.”

Would you rather give up singing for a year or sing every time you say something?  

“I’d rap every time I say something.”

If your life was a musical, which song would it be?  

“There’s no Business like Show Business – Ethel Morman.”

Song composed by you that you are most proud of? 

“There’s a song coming from my forthcoming Hindi album called ‘Ayo’ – Watch out for that because it’s the one I’m most proud of!”

One stage or place you want to perform Live at? 

“Anywhere in India – I’m UK Born, Australian raised, phir bhi dil hai Hindustani!”

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