How 20-year-old rapper Rishaad Chaudhry is taking the music world by storm
Currently pursuing Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Humanities at OP Jindal University, Rishaad Chaudhry wants to major in International Business. But music is his passion – he began with playing the guitar, beatboxing, singing at music classes, going on to create his own music and write lyrics – and soon realised that while he would study business, it is music that he wants to take up as career.
“Music brings me immense joy. After my first release, I had realised that I do not wish to invest my time on anything other than music,” says the 20-year-old, whose songs feature prominently in most playlists on Spotify and Apple.
Extremely meaningful and personal, each of his songs has an important message that he wishes to convey to his listeners. Chaudhry released his first song Give You All in December 2020, and has till now belted out five songs, Khafa released late last month being his latest. “My other releases are, ‘For You’, ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘Sad Reel’, in hip-hop/rap genre with uptempo melodic rap. They are extremely heartfelt and emotional songs and an accurate representation of the protagonist – troublesome life of a teenage boy who has been through his share of heartbreak and turmoil, whether it be about love, career struggles or life in general,” says the rapper whose interests range from athletics and football to debating, business, politics and history.
Born in Geneva, Switzerland and was brought up in Gurgaon and Lucknow, Chaudhry studied at La Martinière College in Lucknow and The Shri Ram School, Aravali in Gurugram before joining the OP Jindal University. Excerpts from an interview:
Tell us about the making of Khafa.
Khafa, features the raw, unfiltered feelings in a mellow hip-hop track that talks about a spell of discontentment and resentment in love/relationships. The song came about after surfing for numerous beats on youtube, eventually leading to finding the perfect one, followed by the introductory verses and before I knew it, my thoughts were flowing and the song happened. “Khafa” is the Urdu word for anger and the song is about letting go of this anger that has resulted due to the trials and tribulations in an individual’s relationship. The individual wishes to be together with his/her partner and wants to get over the resentment that resides between the two. The song echoes the desire of the individual to focus on a brighter future with their partner, while letting go of past hardships that they had in the relationship and hence the lyrics state, “Khafa, khafa ab kitna honge hum”.
When did you enter the world of music?
My focus in music has developed gradually throughout my whole life. It was a mere hobby and I never planned to pursue it as a career. However, my major inspiration arose sitting at home during the pandemic. In all the free time I had during the lockdown, the only thing I looked up to was my guitar. I began looking for beats by producers, creating my own tunes on the guitar and writing my own lyrics. This was the beginning of the creation of all my songs.
What’s the reason behind foraying into Hindi–Urdu genre?
The reason for foraying into Hindi-Urdu genre is that it is extremely futuristic in nature and has seen an immense growth in interest over the recent years. The concept of Indie pop/folk is becoming increasingly popular and I personally share a special love for this genre. Moreover, as I strive to explore the various kinds of genres in the music world, I believe it was time to release a Hindi song for my audience. I have been working on Hindi songs just as much as I have on English, and after releasing a number of singles in the latter and having grown my fan base, I wanted to add Hindi to my list of releases.
Why only rap, not other genres?
I strive to not restrict my music to a single genre, and delve into a more diverse approach to making music and not just rap, in fact. I do not wish to stick to one as I have discovered my ability to create music of various genres and my current releases are proof of this. I enjoy creating music of genres such as Lo-Fi, hip-hop, Indie, pop, and Rhythms and Blues and will continue to do so in the future as well.
Any plans to enter Bollywood playback singing?
I have no specific plans to enter Bollywood playback singing, however, will certainly take up the offer if the opportunity presents itself.
Where do you see yourself, say five years down the line?
Five years down the line, I intend to reach a greater target audience and aspire to build a diversified brand for my music. I hope to reach the level of growth so as to be able to collaborate with the musicians I look upto the most. I see myself promoting my singles which will be from a plethora of genres and a fan base that will truly appreciate and relate to the music I put out. I hope to see myself inspire more artists like me who are beginning their musical journey from scratch and be unafraid to showcase their talent to the world. I believe I will have gained more experience and knowledge about my field and the kind of artist I wish to become. I see myself exploring my musical talent in various countries and travelling the world to be inspired as well as inspire!
Any singers you look up to?
Artists like Juice Wrld, The Kid LAROI, Drake, Powfu among others. When it comes to Indian music, I follow Prateek Kuhad, Anuv Jain. They have been a major part of my journey as I relate to their style and genre and have learnt a lot from them.