Monday, May 20, 2024

You need a rhinoceros' hide, not thick skin these days: Raghav Mathur

Mrinalani Sundar Darpan, 21 Jul, 2023
  • You need a rhinoceros' hide, not thick skin these days: Raghav Mathur

Raghav Mathur, the talented Indo-Canadian singer, has again taken the music world by storm. Whether you label it a 'comeback' hit or a 'flashback' track, one thing is clear - he knows how to make groovy hits and this time, his song is dominating the 'Gram and spreading its catchy rhythms far and wide. Adorned with vibrant shades of red and black, Desperado pays a heartfelt tribute to Raghav Mathur's debut album, Storyteller. Having Tesher be a part of the song is just a bonus. In an interview with DARPAN, Raghav talks about the challenges of releasing a song in 2023, changes in the music landscape, and more. 

1. How does it feel to release a music video in 2023? What did you think was different from releasing a music video in the 2000s? 

The first thing is, I had to pay for it myself. That changes a lot; secondly, as an artist, it's hard to know when to stop editing and fixing. I suppose it's when the money runs out. 

2. What was the biggest challenge of releasing a music video now?

I'm 20 years older than when I first started, and with that experience and knowledge comes some physical aging as well. The idea that folks can openly comment, good or bad or cruel, on anything they think about you is challenging. I'm lucky that 95% of the comments are positive, but the anxiety that they may not be is a real thing an artist has to be ready to face. You need a rhinoceros' hide, not thick skin these days. 

3. Do you think you had to adapt to changing times? 

In some ways, sure, but more importantly, I just had to find myself again; that took time. Sometimes in the quest for adaptability, many artists lose their individuality. An artist must be self-aware and know exactly what works for them. You've got to have fun first and then let the world enjoy with you!

4. How do you keep yourself updated with the changing music landscape?

I just listen and love what I love; thinking beyond that is dangerous for the musical soul. 

5. The fans were eagerly waiting for music from you. Why did you take a gap before you published your last?

I did take some time off, but I also didn't, if that makes sense. Also, my priorities were different in the last few years, and I was better off living that journey. Then, over Covid, I saw people's love for my works, and it touched my heart and helped me focus on what the new sound should be... it's like it all became clear.

6. Bollywood music has also changed 360 degrees. What is your opinion on that?

It will always change. I am excited about what is to come for the Indian film industry. We are headed to a place where merit prevails over everything.

7. Where do you think independent music stands in the music world? Is it as popular as it was in the 90s?

It's maybe more influential now than ever because of the access social media gives the fan to the artist. It's exciting and scares a lot of the old guard in the entertainment world because, again, there's no formula.. just the love of it. 

8. As a global music icon, how has your life changed?

I am one of the luckiest people in the world. I've never had to do anything else to earn other than make music and perform it. The industry has gone through almost unprecedented changes since my career started, and I've had some big ups and some down times, but I feel more centred than ever before. Some of that, frankly, is being a dad.. as an artist, our lives can take up a lot of space. My daughter Riya is, without a doubt, the North Star for everything I do now, and it's made me a happier and better person.

9. How did you select Chura Liya for Desperado and think of merging the two? Did you choose the songs to make this one a mass hit? 

That was all Mushtaq. He chose the sample, and to be honest, at first, I wasn't so sure, but he was right... and I thank him for it. 

10. As someone who received a lot of love early on in your career, how do you reflect on your success?

With gratitude, humility, love and the assurance that the best is yet to come!



Designer Exclusive: Payal Singhal

While designing for fashion week is a more streamlined process, I’m constantly looking for inspiration all through the year, and [then] put these together in 3-4 collections a year. I’m forever scouring through Pinterst, taking down notes, sketching in my diary. My design process is a bit erratic, but there is a method to the madness, and that is what gives every piece its essence and ties it together. 

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