Rishi (Risky) Raj was born in Texas but has lived all over the USA and has moved from "State to State" literally living in both the east, central and west coasts. Rishi Raj has certainly moved around and he now resides in the Bay Area California since 1999. Rishi Raj is a true musician and singer song writer. There are no limits to Rishi Raj's endless musical creative fusion abilities and extreme bold originality.
Since the early millennium Rishi Raj has been on a mission to unite Indian artists as a movement. a.k.a. "Desi-Hip-Hop" in America. The song "Desi Hip Hop Boss" featuring Spice 1, is Rishi Raj's shout to bring focus to a small and yet ever growing "Desi Hip Hop" movement and music scene in America and beyond. His fusion style music, combined with his efforts to unite Indian and other south east Asian (Desi) artists through executive level moves in throwing "Desi Hip Hop" club parties where various artist have performed live has earned him amongst his peers the reputation of "DESI HIP HOP BOSS".
In the fall of 2008 Rishi Raj brings you the new mammooth "Desi-Hip-Hop" album called "Risky". Running time is 69 minutes of all original self produced bay area desi hip hop music. This album contains 19 tracks and features 14 guest artists, including the legendary Spice 1. The various styles of the album "Risky" is a base layer mix of hip hop and R&B club beats infused with overtones of new age westerenized bhangra and east Indian type sounds.
Features Include: Sonny Brown, Spice 1, Krazy Kris & Young Singh of The Network, Showtime & Ash & A.K of Hylite, Pakman, Plain of 591, Craze Dogg, Spyder Black, Deepa Dhaku, Mo Money & Young Gunn of Stack Boyz. Since the early millennium Rishi Raj has been on a mission to unite Indian artists as a movement. a.k.a. "Desi-Hip-Hop" in America. The song "Desi Hip Hop Boss" featuring Spice 1, is Rishi Raj's shout to bring focus to a small and yet ever growing "Desi Hip Hop" movement and music scene in America and beyond. His fusion style music, combined with his efforts to unite Indian and other south east Asian (Desi) artists through executive level moves in throwing "Desi Hip Hop" club parties where various artist have performed live has earned him
amongst his peers the reputation of "DESI HIP HOP BOSS".
Every once in a while we come across a real raw talent, someone who has so much artistic energy that they are producing tons of it. One such person is Rishi Raj, an interesting personality to say the least. His view points and his music will have you take note, at a minimum. If you don't have a reaction to his lyrics and music, then we will refund your money! We can't do justice in trying to describe this man, so we'll leave it up to him...
Rajiv Radia: What inspired you to become a singer/musician? How old were you when you realized this is what you wanted to do?
Rishi Raj: From childhood, my mom encouraged me and my younger brother to be musical, singing songs and dancing was a regular thing at the house. I had a guitar lesson when I was five years old but my fingers were too small to really play well. I started composing music when I was around 12. My folks got me and my brother a beginner's electric guitar and a small amp, and the fun began. I remember I would jam out with the kids from the neighborhood, using pots and pans for the drums and plastic hangers for the drumsticks. I would make my brother Jay sing at first because I was too shy to sing on the tape recording. My dad recognized my ability to compose music and told me to start singing to my songs. We lived in Florida at the time, in 1989, right near the beach. So all the kids were all into beach Punk Rock music and Heavy Metal. It was not long, around my junior high days that I formed a punk rock band with a few friends from the neighborhood. We called it the "Dangling Nards" and played in all the local weekend parties, we even played some clubs around town. In particular, I remember we had played a show near the beach at a bar and afterwards a mature lady in her 30's came up to me and started telling me how she loved the music and how I played really well, it was a big deal for me to get such a compliment from a complete stranger, especially being so young, I was fifteen at the time. It really had an affect on me. I stayed with it, and the trend continued for me. I have always been the lead singer front man for all of my bands. I have done some collabs and recording projects with independent producers as well.
Rajiv Radia: Tell me about your new song Oot Bool Prem. What's the story behind it?
Rishi Raj: Yeah man, get up, speak some love! As an Indian kid born and raised in America I have seen a lot of hating, jealously, gossip, sizing up in regards to financial status, educational status, caste, etc. that goes on amongst all my middle eastern brothers and sisters. It has frustrated me enough to send a strong message to all my people, which is F war and F hate. We all come from the same roots and land so lets spread some Desi love instead of saying we are so different and ignore each other or act like we don't have the same cultural roots. No matter what religeon or whether we're from Pakistan or India, FOB or ABCD, we're all the same people, we're all brothers and sisters. In the song I give some history on how my Punjabi family roots and forefathers were actually forced from Pakistan during the 1947 partition into India, just like many families were. I commend both Gandhi and Bhagat Singh for their heroic efforts to fight for peace and freedom. The second verse brings it up to date and reflects my views on war and terrorism. Terroristd are guilty for killing innocent people, but then again so are those who go to war for unjust causes. The message is that war will never cease in this system of things today. In fact, it is a necessary evil, cause in the end people do evil things and a country has to defend itself. All and all F war and F hate, but don't deny that it won't happen. Keep peace if you can but just like a parent must protect it's children a country had to protect its citizens. Lyrically, it was one of the most challenging songs I have ever written. Oot Bool Prem! Yaar!
Rajiv Radia: So tell us, who's the lucky girl your song Beautiful Eyez is about? You know all the ladies are wondering, you single dawg?!
Rishi Raj: Single? Well I don't have a ring on my finger! Funny, Beautiful Eyez... Yeah, I decided to make that a collab with Minneapolis rapper Capaciti. I was singing and driving to go pick up my girlfriend at the time, when I came up with the hook to that joint. She's a sexy young Latino gal, very beautiful eyes as you can see in the pic. Yeah man, she inspired me for sure. The original words had a nasty twist talking about how I wanted to orally perform, but I left that part out when I finally recorded it. I will eventually re-record the hook as I had originally written it some time.
Rajiv Radia: Man, you're crazy! I've always heard and believed that pain brings out the best in artists, have you ever been through something significant in your life and just sat down and translated that pain into a song?
Rishi Raj: Yeah, some of my songs are about just that, and I can send a special thanks to my Ex-fiancé (laughs).
Have a listen to "Kya Yea Pyaar Such Hian" and you will feel my heart break. To this day, she was the only gal I have proposed to, it's sad cause her parents did not want her to leave from India so it broke off and we never got married. I had stayed in India for a few weeks hiding out from her parents who would not let her see me, I wrote a bunch of love songs during that time and some heart break songs too. Another joint to listen to is "All The Good Times," that song was originally written on an acoustic guitar. I free styled the lyrics on the spot real time with tears in my eyes after a bad break up with one of my long time girlfriends. Yeah, I have a collection of heart break songs cause I have been through so many of them. I have been in love four times and had my heart broken each time.
Rajiv Radia: Poor you! If you had the opportunity to work with any artist who would it be?
Rishi Raj: Shit yaar, I need to find some talented Desi musicians! But besides that I would have to say... man this is a tough one. I will give you a two part answer. Sean Paul, Ravi Shankar, Snoop, Ludacris, Bennie Man, R. Kelly, Zakir Hussain, James Hetfield, Kymai Marley, Damion Marley, Sanchez, Fishbone, Ozzy, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bad Brains, Sizzla, Primus. And dream two would be Tupac, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zepplin.
Rajiv Radia: Those are a lot of names, you should've just said everyone on MTV. Just kidding... Who did you look up to when you were younger?
Rishi Raj: Damn, I don't know? I guess as the older brother I was always used to people looking up to me...
Rajiv Radia: Rishi tell me what's up, what kind of a girl are you looking for?
Rishi Raj: Come on man, I want what every guy wants. I just want to be loved by a sweet gal. But actually... now that you ask. You might want to take a listen to my joint "Cowboy Guns," where I describe physically the kinda gal I like. "I like that face pretty, Double D tities, ass so big that her panties take pity." Thick and Sweet, very open minded gal, not the jealous type, and she has to love to dance! She should also like to get freak nasty in bed! Where will I ever find my voluptuous Bhangra queen?
Rajiv Radia: Dude, go to any party, they are everywhere!! How did you learn how to record your own music? What kind of equipment do you use for your home recordings?
Rishi Raj: I started out using regular tape decks back in the day then moved to four tracks and then mutli-track studios. I had a lot of practice recording demos for all my bands. Nowadays, I am using Sonar, KORG Triton, PRS and Ibanez Guitars. All the music on www.rishiraj.com is what I have recorded in my home studio. 100% self produced baby!
Rajiv Radia: Where do your musical thoughts start flowing in from? What's the source, the light, that creates your aura?
Rishi Raj: No secret really. Musically, its all about playing how you feel, learning that expressing yourself is ok. I can actually start to feel sick or unhealthy if I don't sing or make music for more than a few weeks or so. It's all about letting things flow and letting the music that's already within you to manifest. Lyrically, for me it's about expressing a mix of reflections on my experiences, philosophies and fantasies of life.
Rajiv Radia: Where do you see yourself a year from now? Five years from now?
Rishi Raj: I need to get some musicians together to play live shows. Plan for an album release, radio play, videos. World Tour?!?
Rajiv Radia: What message do you want to convey to your listeners through your music?
Rishi Raj: Everything good has some evil in it, but we still wanna have a good time! F War and F hate, get up speak love, Oot Bool Prem! Stand up for what you believe in. Rishi Raj is painting a picture of the realities and fantasies of life through music.
Rajiv Radia: What do you want to say to DesiClub.com readers worldwide?
Rishi Raj: All answers are in plain view but disguised, play how you feel. Spread Desi Love! Ah yeah, India to America Rishi Raj causing hysteria!
Official Website: http://www.rishiraj.com/
MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/rishiraj