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Few artists meet with the spectacular success that UK based Raghav has over the past year. With three UK Top 10 Ten singles, a MOBO Award and a Number 1 single in India to his credit, he is with little doubt, one of the hottest properties around. Working with some really big names like super production duo, Sly and Robbie (Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones and No Doubt) and producer Sunship (Craig David), Storyteller is the kind of album that defines the debutante in entirety. Hereís an interview with Raghav whoís Canít Get Enough is soaring on the chartsÖ

The Record (TR): Howís it been over the last few months? Youíve been raging on the UK charts and now conquering Indian charts.
Raghav: Itís been very overwhelming, but itís also been very special for me. Itís not something that has happened overnight. Itís something that Iíve worked hard towards for a long time. It also keeps me grounded to realize that there are so many other concepts that I have in my head musically and nowís the time that I can lay them down. Over the next few years we can do some unique things. And this is something that Iíve started to do on the Storyteller album.

TR: In terms of style, Storyteller tends to be rather varied. How did that happen?
Raghav: Yeah, if you look at my history I was born in Toronto and I grew up in Calgary Canada, I moved to Los Angeles after high school and then I went to Liverpool and then to London. And all along that I maintained everywhere that Iím fiercely proud to be Indian. In Calgary, country music is mainstream, in London hip-hop and R&B is mainstream, in Los Angeles West Coast hip-hop is mainstream, so Iíve taken all this in. At the same time, the reggae culture has really influenced me and I also love jazz. But all along the one thing thatís stayed with me is that the very first art form that I was attracted to, semi-classical Hindi music and Hindi film music. So thatís what this album is about.
I mean itís like, how can I in sixteen tracks show the whole world what Iím really about, not only musically but as a songwriter as well? So songs like Winter In My Mind are very jazz-oriented because thatís part of who I am. I think that Indian music plays a very important part of mainstream music today. And I want people outside of Indian culture to realize that itís not just dinga-dinga-dinga-dinga-ding (sings). Thatís a huge part of our music, itís important and I love it. But we have so much more of a rich musical history. And itís a question of how I can incorporate that into my R&B background. So thatís a long answer to your question.

TR: Youíve been one of the few Asian artists who have been able to seep into the mainstream and be a success. Tell us a bit about that.
Raghav: People go, ďThis is an Asian artistĒ. But as proud as I am to be Indian I want people to go, ďThis is an artistÖwho is IndianĒ. And thatís special because then you can be equally proud of being both. Thatís another reason why I wanted to do this album. Itís not catered necessarily to a mainstream audience. Itís just that this is the music that I am making and wherever it goes wherever it goes. The fact is that lots of people put their radar up to it everywhere. In India Iíve had great success with it, I just heard that it reached #1 today. And that blows my mind. There are a few territories that I need to touch on like America and Canada.

TR: You started out in Indian classical music at age five. And now you do R&B. It must have been an interesting musical journeyÖ
Raghav: As an NRI growing up in Calgary, it was like growing up around country music, wanting to sing R&B music and listening to Indian music. I was the identity crisis boy. It was nice though because it opened my mind up so that I could listen to anything. So going from Indian classical music, it didnít feel like anything. Because I could sing a Michael Jackson cover when I was ten and realize that it was just music and if you start to segregate your musicality and your culture that you begin to see it as so different. My family too, they encouraged to love everything, to embrace good quality music. So, when I started making music I had all these ingredients.

You can read the rest of feature on Raghav in the October 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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