We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhea Raj and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhea, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
My mom taught classical Indian and Bollywood dance from home for over a decade. I grew up listening to music from around the world and started connecting to it through my body first. She encouraged me to explore all different forms of art until I fell in love with singing and making music. I come from a family and a culture where the arts aren’t always taken seriously as a profession but my parents always supported my development and passions.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an artist, songwriter, producer, and dancer based in LA! I just moved from NYC after signing my first publishing deal. I’m so excited about that and what’s to come. I released a single “Atmosphere” a few months ago with a crazy music video where I’m riding a motorcycle through space. It premiered on Rolling Stone India which was such a dream for me! My music draws inspiration from my roots, as I grew up listening to a lot of classical Indian, Bollywood, and Arabic songs. It’s been a journey finding my connection to these sounds and authentically bringing them into my own music. A lot of people who don’t know enough about South Asian music have a linear perspective on it and would tell me to incorporate it into my songs in a way that wasn’t meaningful to me. I’m finally reaching a point where that feels organic and a lot of the melodies and rhythms I create naturally draw from that. Currently, I’m working on a stilettos dance video for my single “Venom” which comes out at the end of the summer.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I just moved to LA but am from New York City. I think the best way to explore NYC is to spend a day walking around downtown and finding specialty stores and places to eat at. I love the Artechouse in Chelsea which has sick digital art installations. And food is a big part of the itinerary. I would do a little food tour through Chinatown and Little Italy and end the night bar-hopping in the East Village. The most fun part about NYC is that you can be spontaneous and end up finding really cool spots.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shout out to my mom Kavita Raj who runs my label Misschief Records with me! I’m amazed by how passionate she is and how much she has learned over the years about the music business. She’s my biggest support system and critic which means I trust her opinions on my art and really value her advice and ideas.