Rapper Taran Kaur Dhillon aka Hard Kaur talks about her new single and expresses happiness over the underground music scene getting bigger in India
Hard Kaur, the voice behind some of the biggest party numbers like Move Your Body, Tali, Ek Glassy, is back with another party track. The single titled Jhumka Gira Re has already got more than eight lakh hits on YouTube. The song, which is a unique blend of dancehall and reggae, has been released in India in association with Saregama India.
Here’s chatting up the British-Indian rapper:
Jhumka Gira Re is a hit film song from the ’60s. Is there any connection with that song?
Not really. It’s nothing to do with the original. Mix Singh, the guy who was mixing the song, was messing around with the idea. We took inspiration from there. I told the team, ‘Let’s write something fresh’. I believe that you can do something great and take inspiration but not copy. It’s 2017, so the Jhumka in our song falls at a five star hotel (laughs). It’s not a crazy, in-your face-kind of party number.
But how did the song happen in the first place?
I was working with some Delhi kids, when I heard some of the beats by Mix Singh, the producer of the song. So, I told him, ‘Let’s collaborate. I will do it for free’. We worked on a couple of beats. I even roped in some of the musicians with whom I have worked in Bollywood.
I didn’t want the song to sound like the regular stuff and wanted to do something different. It would also help Mix Singh’s career because he’s got someone well-known to collaborate with. Also, in India, I haven’t experimented with dancehall and reggae before.
That’s true, you not only sound but look different in the song.
(Laughs) I am actually known for that. I am someone who can’t do the same thing again and again. I need to experiment with my looks, sounds and music. The attitude had to go with the song. The video has a concept and so it’s fun, happy and colourful, which shows.
I am a musician first and so I don’t keep listening to just Hip Hop all the time. I listen to all kinds of music as long as it is good. This is the reason why I can’t stick to one style; I love trying something new. People tell me, ‘We want a song which would sound like some popular number’. And I tell them, ‘It’s done and gone, so leave it alone. That’s being lazy. Writing original songs requires lot of brains. You really need to think to be different. It’s true there are songs which we do for the public and some for ourselves. People complain that there’s nothing new in the market, but the fact is that no one is letting new artists do something fresh and new. So we can’t blame anyone for the mess.
Is the public inability to accept anything new to be blamed for the mess or the music companies?
Not public. The listeners are too busy on the internet today because if they don’t get variety here, they will get it on the net. And you can’t fool them anymore, because everything is available on the phone. You can either give fresh stuff or say, ‘Jaisa chal raha hai, chalne do’ (Let things go the way they are going).
India has got amazing variety but we are too busy copying the West. If I just talk about my Hip Hop, the underground scene is amazing right now. There is so much coming up, everyone is experimenting. I am also doing stuff that’s satisfying, like I am doing the biggest Hip Hop Mixtape in Indian history called The Rising Vol 1, which features 30 most popular underground artists. It is releasing by the end of this month. This is to show that we Hip Hop artists are united and we deserve to be pushed.
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It’s not like Bollywood, where you have money for promotion and marketing. We can only push it as much as we can financially do it. People have to go out of their way to listen to such music. That’s what is happening right now. The kids are going out to look for stuff that’s different.
I think I am blessed to have survived for so long. But it’s also about timing. You cannot have the same fashion, we need something different. New artists are coming, some are doing great and some not. Hip Hop is a lifestyle thing and not music. But artists are here only for fashion. Also, I am glad that Bollywood is doing a movie on the underground music.
We don’t see female rappers in India. Why?
There are a few who are trying to come up. But first, you have to be the best. It’s not about being the Best Female Rapper but the Best Rapper for which you need to just practise. You can’t think, ‘Oh, it’s male dominated.’ Just aim to be the best. If you master the craft, no one can touch you. Then you have to burst a rhyme in a battle or a mic to beat all the men. It’s about how good you are on the mic. Your looks don’t count. Beauty is secondary to me.
Of course, nothing comes easy in life, you have to fight.
Any Bollywood projects?
No playback singing. But I am trying to become a big music composer. I have been working on that for the last couple of years and I have a few songs. But I haven’t got my entry yet. That’s not going to be easy either because it’s a boys’ world. I am not part of any gang; I just want to continue making good music.
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