Music phenomenon Raghav Mathur is riding the waves of success with his hit album Storyteller. Recognized worldwide, this 24-year-old legend-in-the-making is currently on his Grand Theft Audio tour across North America, singing his smash hits such as Get Enough and Angel Eyes. Recently, I was given the opportunity to spend time with the rising star and uncover the Raghav. I was amazed at what I found.
From the moment he steps off of the elevator he is surrounded by fans. Along-side his tour manager Ajay, Raghav apologizes to his anticipating admirers after learning of their four-hour wait for his arrival and takes time to take pictures, sign autographs, and make small talk with each and every one of them. I discover later from his fans how it was completely worth their weight.
As we sit down to chat, Raghav requests Ajay for lemons, honey, and water, used routinely in preparation for soundcheck just minutes away, and immediately offers me something to drink. As Ajay turns, Raghav begins praising his obvious friend as well as a professional associate. He smiles at me and teases, You should marry him. Apparently, Raghav clarifies his first mission is to get his tour manager married and second to be on tour.
Music has always been a fundamental force in Raghav’s life; at the tender age of five, he began singing and moved on to write his own songs at 15. Around that age, he recalls his development of an identity crisis.Growing up with the influence of both the Eastern and Western culture, committing to one musical genre was difficult for Raghav.
Raghav explains that while growing up in Canada most of his influences were American. He shares, I remember going to a Boys II Men concert when I was’” that made me want to be a singer. For the past couple of years now art-sts have been successful in making a record but can’t perform live. You have to see these artists live to truly feel their music; artists like Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill are better live because they put so much into their music.
Proud of the Indian roots he adds, There are many great things to be taken from the west.â€ The culture clash that initially questioned Raghavâ€™s identity, lat-er became the source of his musical style. Fusing together R&B, country, and Indian music has enabled Raghav to retain all aspects of who he is as well as create a new style of music that appeals to a global fan base.
I grew up loving the music, loving the culture and I get to be who I am with it, you know you know, I’m not a typical Bollywood artist, I’m singing R&B songs, but because of the power of our community, you know, I get to be on tour and the crowds have been great so far.
Touring has its share of ups and downs but Raghav takes it all in stride. He remains positive about the whole experience, thrilled with all the traveling he is able to do and new people he meets along the way. Claiming lack of sleep and irregular eating patterns has taken a toll on his physical appearance, he con-fesses, 15 pounds from where I want to be.â€ I have to disagree though; I find him enchantingly attractive and throughout the conversation, lose myself in his Angel Eyes.
When asked where his craziest fans were, Raghav replied, New York was just crazy, but to my surprise smaller places like Detroit were fun. I have a story to tell, when I went there along with Adnan Sami, I performed “Ain’t Nobody;” it has a lot of gujurati beats and bhangra influence and the fans in Detroit were the only ones to actually get up and start dancing and performing garba. That was wicked fun.â€
Singing in various venues all over the world, his dream place to perform lies surprisingly, not in some exotic locale, but simply back home. The current North American tour has been the first opportunity for Raghav to perform on his own soil. Calgary is like paradise,â€ Raghav says. His eyes twinkle as he reflects on the place where he spent his childhood.
So sweet and innocentâ€”yet so successful? Raghav admits, I can sometimes be naive to the industry.â€ Nevertheless, he continues to make all the right career moves. You let other people do what theyâ€™re good at,â€ he explains. Backed by his supportive and knowledgeable manager, Nyrone Persaud, Raghav surrounds himself with a driven and an astoundingly amicable management team. His strategy has proven very successful.
Along with an overwhelming response in the U.K. and America, Raghav has created a big splash overseas with his record going five times platinum in India. Lesser acclaim has turned many stars into narcissistic monsters; however, Raghav does not seem phased by his rising stardom. He tells me he has no expectations about anything and as he continues to talk, I canâ€™t help but be amazed at how grounded he stays.
Iceberg Slim, a rapper featured on the Storyteller album also touring with Raghav says, The most important thing to me is working with people that are humble and [Raghav’s] the most humble person…When you work with someone that can keep you level headed, that is great.
Much of his sweet-natured personality can be attributed to his family. He notes his most memorable experience was his sister’s wedding which he describes as climatic because she was 29. Raghav also jokes about how the other parents at the wedding kept their daughters away from him because he was a struggling singer with no money. When I remarked, they must be kicking themselves now, he looked away shyly and replied that now they were keeping their daughters even further away yeah right.
As Raghav continues to climb the ladder of success, he retains what he believes to be his greatest strength” his honesty. Raghav has many plans for the future and within the next ten years intends to be married with 100 kids. Out to dispel the myth he is a remixer and having opened the gate to the music industry, he’s unstoppable.
Ask him who Raghav is and he responds, Raghav is a son, brother, and a storyteller. As the interview comes to a close, he flashes me that wicked (Raghav’s signature word) smile, which steals so many young girls’ hearts, and I’m reminded of his lyrics I just can’t get enough, enough, enough.
Check out his sound at www.raghav.com.
For more information on the Grand Theft Audio Club Tour with Raghav ft. Bobby Friction and Nihal, check out www.grandtheftaudiousa.com. The event will be promoted by Komposit Entertainment. The tour starts in D.C. June 30th, Chicago July 1st, Detroit July 2rd and NYC July 3rd.
– PRASHANTHI MUSAPET