After looking at Raja Wilco, I can only conclude that discovering a new, compelling, and non-traditional artist seems to be the magic of my work. Get ready for the ride of lifetimes, as the Indian pioneer in hip-hop takes us all on a voyage through time and space & brings us back to the future…Raja That!
Congrats on your first video for the track, “Gal Dil Di.” Tell us the initial feeling you had when you found out a song you did would be turned into a music video?
Well, originally it was going to be a single for Soni and as a featured artist, I was told from the beginning that there might be a video. I have had some other songs that should have been made videos, but hey some people didn’t act on it for whatever political reasons. So therefore, I wouldn’t believe there would be a video until I was in front of the camera. In actuality, the video was going to be shot in October 2006, around the same time Soni passed. At that point, no one was worried about the video, the song or anything because everyone was shocked. It was good to hear that they were going to do a tribute video for him and I felt honored to be featured in it.
You’ve worked with the producer of the song, Kami K before, so when he initially pitched this song idea to you, what were your thoughts?
As always with Kami K, (worked together on Raja That, Come with Me, etc) he said to check out a rough idea of it which of course was around 125 BMP (pretty fast for typical rap vocals). Once I heard it though I had no problem jumping on it. The song was sounding beautiful already, even before all the final production was added in what you hear as the final product. The song was emotional and I had actually recorded the 2nd verse first which correlates more to the emotions. The first verse was recorded later and also after Soni re-recorded his vocals. So I had to incorporate the energy of it as I saw it musically and vocally - therefore the stronger, more animated introduction verse.
When you came to know which song the video would be based on, did you have any prior conceptions on how you thought the video would look?
I did not have any concept in my mind really except that it would be a tribute video. Since its really not my song per say so I was just excited to be a part of his legend. Sat back, relaxed and let the Planet Recordz team and the video production squad handle it.
Tell us a little bit about working with the team at Planet Recordz.
They are great; absolutely the most gracious people and they have a “family-like” environment. I actually hung with them the whole time during the two days I was up there. Also, they know how to throw it down Punjabi style, haha! They also saw that a Guju from Jersey knows how to throw down too with that Crown Royal so, it was all love. I look forward to working with Sarbjit (CEO) and Joti (producer) again. We actually have something in the works already so look out for another collab between RW and Planet Recordz.
What was it like shooting the video in Canada?
It was cool although for the most part didn’t have time to really get out into the city (Toronto). Stayed in “Sauga” by the airport for the most part and hit up Planet Recordz where we also shot the video. Usually, I love to wild out in Toronto or Canada in general but still had my fun. I always have a good time and the people in fans have always shown mad respect.
Did you find it difficult when making the video because Soni is no longer with us?
First I would like to say, rest in peace to Soni and my heartfelt condolences go to the family and friends. It was difficult because the song would play while shooting and everyone would be emotional– but I did what needed to be done for the video to come out well. The director Jazz Virk was cool too and did a good job with the rest of the crew to create a good environment. I never thought I would be involved in a video where the artists is not with us anymore so there is that feeling as well.
Are you completely satisfied with how the final product of the video came out?
Definitely, because as a tribute video it shows how much this great artist will be missed. And especially on this song, with his vocals being so amazing so there doesn’t have to be too much done. The video is one of quality and definitely hits home. I’m sure it was difficult to put a lot of it together using old footage and photos since Soni wasn’t there for the shoot so credit goes out to the team again.
If a director came up to you and said, “I will make a video to any song you’ve recorded right now,” which song of yours would you pick?
Well it would have to be at least two songs – one intro or outro song – and the main video track as well. That’s a good question and the songs I would pick are coming out soon on my album! Haha! But for the songs I have already done and are out there I would choose, “Tonight” or “Raja That” and somehow get the “The General” to be shot as well.
What else is in the pipe-line for you right now?
Well as I said before, I have my debut album (untitled at the moment) which is in the process of being recorded right now. It’s been a very long time coming so it will be very, very creative concept wise and different from what you hear out there now. I am about half-way done with it as of now and looking to release it by the end of summer. It will have some guest features on it artist and production wise which I‘m really excited about. Also, some of the material musically, you haven’t really heard from me before but I mean that in a very, very positive way. It’s fully written, arranged and co-produced by me except for a few tracks. Hit me up for another interview in about two months time and I will spill the beans on a lot of it but for now…it’s on tha low. Actually, I recorded a white label version of Jay Sean’s Maybe so look out for that on radio shows. Just a lil something I did as an intro rap verse because I really like what Jay did on the track and Alan Sampson’s production. I also have a couple of tracks coming out on an album done by Kami K called Bollywood Hustle plus some material I have not released yet for promo. I am also collaborating with some producers from India, Canada and else where so just keep it locked on www.myspace.com/RajaWilcoMusic or my Facebook to see updates on these songs.
How has the feedback been since the release of the video?
The feedback has been more than I could imagine and really have felt good about the song for a while and the video just coincides with it. People absolutely love the song and I give that credit to Soni and Kami K who produced the song. I just did my part on it, that’s all.
Any final words for the readers of SimplyBhangra.com?
I would love to thank all the readers for taking the time to check this interview out. Big ups to all the supporters through all my years doing the music thing. To those who have been down from day one and those who are down starting tomorrow. Also, thanks to all my haters across the globe – keep adding the gasoline to the fire and you’re gonna see a firestorm guaranteed cuz I could have never do this without all your help. I would like to add an apology for those who have been looking for quality South Asian rappers. We’re out here and you wont’ have to look as hard anymore cuz we’re comin out from every angle and every place! Thanks to my team and thank you for the interview T!! What up Ish!!!!!
MAKE SURE YOU GO TO WWW.PLANETRECORDZ.COM and BUY THE SONI PABLA ALBUM ETERNITY. Don’t download this album for Soni and his family’s sake.
Keep requesting “Gal Dil Di” on all video and radio outlets. Let your voice be heard by requesting the songs – you all really play a bigger part than you might realize.