Rapper's Edition: Aditya Parashar

Aditya Parashar is a 24 years old, native Kannadiga. He is a former show producer at RED FM, Bengaluru and at Radio Mirchi for a brief period of time. During his radio days, he has directed the mid morning and the afternoon show on air, and done daily segments on radio called Rapper Shapper and Thatha and the Millenial.

He is also a former copywriter for Think Tree. He currently works as a content specialist for an AgTech company called CropIn. He has done 7 films so far, notable ones being Humble Politician Nograj(one of the lyricists and singer of the Problem Song), Shuddhi, Bhinna, U-Turn. He has worked on the 4th edition of RCB Insider with Danish Sait as one of the writers for the show, for a segment called Kirkett Lessons with Mr.Nags.

Tell us about your education and early life.

I was born and raised in Bengaluru. Been here all my life. I did my schooling at Auden Institute of Education, then pre-university at Kumarans PU and my engineering at RNS Institute of Technology. As a kid, I was a nerd, a second bencher and a bookworm. My grades were never a concern, which completely changed by my pre university days. I used to participate in a lot of extracurriculars, mostly related to writing, debates and theatre and mostly used to come back as a winner. Actually, I got into music only after high school. I was pretty social and was kinda known around in the school. As a kid,I was talkative and expressive. I spent a lot of my childhood playing cricket everyday on the street with the homeboys. I even have my cricket stats memorised, hehe. I’d say those were the best moments of my childhood.

How early did you start writing and rapping?

I think my earliest memory of me writing was back in 4th grade. I used to write a lot of stories and poems, and leave them written on sheets. I never wrote them in a book, strangely. My mother has collected and kept those sheets somewhere. The poetry then turned into rapping when I was introduced to rap music through Eminem’s 8 Mile soundtrack, in 2011. I was intrigued by Eminem and the whole concept of rap. I was like “why is he swearing so much and what is he so angry about? I want to understand him”. And that’s where it began. I started rapping in English initially and wrote my first rap verse in 2012. After listening to MC Bijju, my calling for Kannada Rap came.

What is your inspiration for your raps?

My inspiration is the society, the imperfections and the hypocrisy that we are co-existing in. Other than that, I draw inspiration from the experiences I’ve had personally and I’m inspired from the voice within me. Hence, I represent the thoughts and my emotions that are born inside me in my works. I draw inspiration from very random places, like off a street vendor carrying blackboards, some story that I read, anything that triggers my inner emotions.

When was the first time you got a break?

Although I had about 4 movies before this, the first break commercially was singing and writing for Humble Politician Nograj in 2018. I went in for their audition to act in the movie, however I didn't fit their requirement. While I stood in the queue waiting for my turn, I wrote a small verse keeping the character Nograj in mind. I showed it to one of the team members, Jilbee and he asked me to wait till the end of the day and go in and show it to Danish Sait and Saad Khan. When I rapped it for them, they absolutely loved it and put me on their team. I went on to work for RCB Insider later with Danish. I cherish those days, it was a great learning curve.

How do you find the balance between your work and your passion?

This reminds me of the famous quote from Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society,

“ Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” I remind myself that I am working towards my purpose and I believe my purpose here to express my imperfect self and my thoughts through the medium of music. I live for it and that’s what drives me everyday to strike the balance between both worlds. I also believe financial stability for an artist is important to have a clear mind as it takes care of their daily life and their family’s as well, practically speaking. It contributes towards me achieving my true goal, so I see it as a part of the journey and divide my attention accordingly and situationally.

How supportive were people around you when you told them about your passion?

I’m very lucky to have had supporting parents. Initially, they were a little concerned because of the decline in my scores, but they never blamed my music for it. They mostly asked me to strike a balance between academia and my passion. Infact, my mother is trying to understand rap music more and showing interest in the genre now. I thank my life for giving me such understanding and accommodating parents.

In your opinion, how welcoming is the Kannada music industry to newcomers?

I feel the Kannada industry overall is now evolving from looking at popular Bollywood singers for projects to nurturing local talent and giving opportunities to them. Young and broad minded directors like Hemanth M Rao, Adarsh Eshwarappa, Soori, Suni, Pannaga Bharana and music directors like Vasuki Vaibhav, Judah Sandhy are bringing in the change and introducing new and fresh talents based purely on their skills and that's a very good sign for young aspiring singers, gives them a lot of hope. When it comes to commercial projects and the film industry, I feel it's very important to start off with the right team who can bring out the best in you. It’s a good time now for newcomers to shine.

Name some artists who inspire you.

Actually there are too many artists who inspire me across genres and fields. Particularly in Rap music, it’s definitely Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, J Cole, Drake, Joyner Lucas, Logic, Jay Z, Nas and Tupac. In the Indian scene, I love Brodha V, Divine, Smokey The Ghost, Kaam Bhaari, Seedhe Maut, PrabhDeep and recently been digging HanuMankind.

What are your future aspirations?

Honestly, I’m not too sure. I just want to make my music, see where it takes me. I believe in living it one day at a time because you really don't know where life’s going to take you and there’s little point in planning too much into the future. But I do aspire to be known for my writing in Kannada, leave that legacy behind me, and hope that 50-80 years from now, people would still be bumping on my works. I wish to see a solid Kannada rap scene here, I aspire to be one of the guys who brought in the evolution, commercially and artistically for the scene.

What would be your advice for the youngsters who want to pursue writing and rapping?

Most importantly, my advice for young rappers and writers out there is to bring out their own thoughts through their work and figure out what they want to represent as an artist, their purpose, their message to the world. I would suggest the focus be on creating their own legacy and contributing to the scene through that.

Another advice is to create art and build their fanbase from the ones who dig their art, and not create art just to have a fanbase. Our art must attract our tribe, and we must not make art just to gain popularity and mass attention. I also suggest them to not be disheartened if they aren't getting more views, likes and don’t have more followers for their content. If you ask me, we gotta stop caring about all that. It's important to trust the journey and the process, to be patient, and focus on the content and reaching it out to the right audience even if there aren't too many for now. Popularity doesn't guarantee success.

Finally, as artists, we all have insecurities, existential crisis and self doubts inside us. So we need to go easy on ourselves and be optimistic while ensuring we take care of our mental health and accepting our imperfections as artists, for art is all about the beauty in the imperfections within us, that’s what makes art human. A little preachy, but yep this is my two cents for them!

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