Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Q & A
1. What made you decide to choose this career?
Destiny… I wrote my first rap in 1991 for the elections in Zambia. Had written a poem and my father read it and got his colleague, Ben Chiyesu, to play the guitar on it, and we performed it Live on ZNBC, the national TV station. That same week, the president won the elections and it became news that an Indian guy had rapped! Ever since then, I knew the power of Rhythm And Poetry (RAP) in telling stories and sending messages. However, as a career, that happened only in 2002. Have been struggling throughout those years to make it a career, and when I finally gave up in ’99 and concentrated on my Film degree(BA Cinema) and started working as a Producer for a music channel, and then a radio DJ in Mumbai, India, the call from Mr. A R Rahman came. That moment defined my career’s struggle… and hence destiny decided this would work – finally – Amen.
2. When did you first realize that you were famous?
Famous? maybe when in Zambia and I wanted to perform in ’93 at my old school, Mpelembe, and the girls, who normally would have not even said, ‘hello,’ were asking me to autograph their clothes!
3. How and why did you choose the name “Blaaze” for yourself?
Firstly, my full name is Lakshmi Narasimha Vijaya Rajagopala Sheshadri Sharma Rajesh Raman:
lakshmi narasimha - from a pujari at ahobilya mutt who told my grandad lakshmi narasimha is coming
vijaya - as i was born on a vijayadasami day
rajagopal - grand fathers name
sheshadri sharma - great grandfather sheshadri as my sharma
rajesh - mum was a big rajesh khanna fan hence rajesh
raman - dad's name
and blaaze - to encompass all of the above ...
It started as MC Blaze. MC meaning Mic Controller… then the accent on the e’ for the sound, and the extra a to make sure it was pronounced right.
4. Your number in Shivaji-The Boss was a runaway hit… what was your experience working with “The boss”?
A R Rahman was ‘The Boss’… Am yet to meet Mr. Rajnikanth… for real… it’s all prayers…and I guess the blessing to get a break with Rajnikanth’s Baba, which was really well received, lead to the next song.
5. You have worked with some of the greatest music composers… who is your favorite and why is it so?
A R Rahman. The greatest. He is magical and truly knows how to get the ‘best’ from each of his artists.
6. What is the one song which you have rapped/sung that remains to be your favorite to this day?
‘In My Father’s Words’ – It is a song that emphasizes that all religions preach One God – ( I believe in the words of the Prophet Mohammed, never to underestimate the power of the moment / I believe in the sacrifice of Lord Jesus, with the resurrection I believe that he freed us / I believe in the teachings Om Namah Sivaya, I’m a say it again, Om Namah Sivaya / I believe in the words of the wise today, I believe in what my father had to say )
7. You are known as a “responsible rapper”… Is it a conscious decision to have clean cut lyrics?
It is a conscious effort to rap about issues which matter to me. The rest follows, I guess.
8. Who is your inspiration?
Tupac Shakur. He was the realest and most soulful rapper that ever existed. He truly is my Guardian Angel too.
9. How does it feel to be the first Indian artist to be featured on an international channel like Vh1?
Feels like a blessing. Feels like knowing that maybe I am on the right path.
10. You have always been politically vocal through your songs (In My Father's Words,Ban the Crooked Police do you think more artists should voice their opinions through their music?
Yes. Infact, Rap is known for its power of the word… and so I do believe the pen is mightier than the gun.
11. What are you’re the current projects in your pipeline?
Inquilab – Stand Up & Unite … a song for the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks. A song for strength and unity. Please support the song by hearing it and forwarding it to your friends. Its free and its sincere.
Slumdog Millionaire… working with Rahman and Danny Boyle was amazing
ZambeZi Funk … my album with Sagar. Due for release in March 2009.
Global One Music … an album with 20 singers from around the world. To release early next year.
The Thirukural Album … trying to bring the kurals to a new generation of listeners. The first one releases with Mr. A R Rahman this week on his forthcoming album, Connections.
12. What made you decide to come out with an all English rap album?
Zambezi funk… Its an album with Sagar Desai and its more African in style and I think it’s time our ‘funkalistic syllables’ were ready for the world.
13. What advice would you give someone who also wants to enter this field?
Pray.. keep the faith.. persevere.. don’t give up… keep it real !!
14. Good luck in all your future endeavors… Is there anything you would like to tell your fans out there?
Do something for your community. Do something for society… through whatever way you know possible. Make a difference whilst on this earth. Smile for me …
Posted by BlaaZe