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@Rajnigandha Shekhawat: An experimental journey that lead to a successful career in Rajasthani music

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hi rajniganda how pretty you look today thank you very much for having me yeah so i'm so glad we got to talk today i love the music that i hear you know you post so much on youtube and everything tell me a little bit about uh you know what kind of music are you producing you know tell me a little bit about your journey and let's get started with that Starting singing uh so i had accidentally started singing in school i did not know that i was a singer but i used to end up singing in tune and i thought how weird that i sing just like the person who's on the radio but it never clicked in my head that maybe i am a good singer so because i wasn't i wasn't called that nobody thought i was or anything so accidentally my music teacher heard me and then she put me on stage so i was already in the eighth standard when i went on stage and did a solo but the i got this resounding applause from the audience in my school and i thought oh maybe i am a good singer so that's the first time it kind of rang a bell and the audience applause is something that once you get you it's very addictive yeah so then i started to sing but i was singing school my parents still didn't know that i was a singer and eventually i told them that i want to be a singer and they said are you crazy people from families like us don't send their children to sing yeah i'm from a very traditional rajasthani rajput family we have traditionally been patrons of music we are we are traditionally we are warriors and descendants of kings so we don't do the singing or performing people do that for us so every so i'm from the midari family so we have family musicians just like we have family potters and family gardeners yeah so uh so we we we can appreciate music we are not allowed to do it ourselves yeah so that was an uphill task for very Moving to Mumbai many years because i knew that i wanted to be a singer full-time uh it took a lot of efforts for me to convince them to send me to a singing class and eventually eventually you have to come to mumbai if you want to be a singer in india yeah uh so that's what i did i came to mumbai i started working and i started finding avenues to perform because i didn't want to be those the the typical uh struggling singers who who don't have money and stuff like that yeah so i was always working so i i worked in music companies then i started working in uh marketing companies that do marketing of movies so that really expanded my con contacts in the industry yeah and uh i had been singing i i released three albums in rajasthan music okay and uh i was uh getting very like middling success some people knew about me and uh it was a small audience like uh i to put numbers to it my youtube videos used to get like 5000 views my facebook page used to get it had like 15 000 likes and followers so that was the Badrik Dulania limit too sometimes people would recognize me on the street and say okay let's take a picture together then i was lucky to get a couple of uh songs and movies and one song was particularly very big called badrik dulania and i thought that when that song releases it's gonna really change my life yeah uh so then that song released and it did not change my life in any way because it had five other singers singing in it and uh more importantly i'm not the one on screen alia bhatt and varun are dancing to it yes so nobody knew who i was and at the same time i also got offered to be a part of a reality show and that was another waste of time because there's so much politics and all that happening there so yeah i was like okay this is what what am i not doing what is it that is not working because i've literally done a song that has got like a 100 million views that time they were 100 million now they're i think 1 billion views so uh i was just i was like okay now i need to think of a reinvention and uh i was just sitting late night watching videos and i saw lots and lots of these versions that have started these days so there was a song sia's cheap thrills had come out and i saw carnatic music version and i greatly enjoyed it yeah then i saw bhagwa version and i thought okay let me let's see the rajasthani version so i went and looked for it and there wasn't a rajasthani version yeah so i said oh there isn't a rajasthani version maybe i can try so while i was trying to learn the song i realized that the chords match with a rajasthani folk song so out of nowhere i thought let me add the rajasthani song to it oh so i started off thinking i'll just do a rajasthani version of means i'll have rajasthani instrumentation but i ended up singing a rajasani song along with cheap thrills okay so i i i and i was so unsure of it and i was in fact i was so sure that people are going to laugh at me that i was like this i don't even want to put budgets on it or anything yeah i'm just gonna stand in my the middle of my house and record it so my house in jaipur i we i've grown up in a hawaii so we had the hawaii i just stood in the middle and i got the guy okay you just go around and you shoot it and let's just see yes just hope that nobody ridicules me yeah but that song started to grow so quickly so i got some 35 40 000 views in the first half an hour and i thought this is so strange because i had never got more than 30 000 views on anything of mine with my with my face on it so by the end of it it reached one lakh views and i said what is going on and then the next day this two lakh views next day three lakh it was like literally every day there was a lack of views just going and it's it was so new for me Reaching 1 million views because it was my face front and center there was literally nothing else there yeah so eventually it touched one million views and i it's the most shocking thing for an artist because like i told you that i used to get views of 5000 views yeah entire year so to get 1 million views in 10 days was shocking and another applause yeah and people started covering it in websites and news portals and all that hey this new rajasthani version of zias is so catchy and you know people from outside the state and all started so it was very strange for me and that's the first time i realized oh this is what kind of stardom is for a musician when it happens it just happens on its own you know otherwise you're just constantly like pushing let me get some views let some newspaper write about me and now this is happening it's just happening on autopilot so and seeing that m for a million that next to my video was very very it was really very exciting for me yeah uh i mean it went out and also then i was like but it's it's actually just a version of a song which is popular in america and europe so how is it getting so popular in rajasthan and especially with really old people so they were liking it as well the older yes and yes that was shocking me because i said i can expect teenagers to like it i can expect people in the 20s to like it i'm really shocked that really old people are liking it but uh you know i had uh i've talked about it in earlier interviews also uh there's this thing with rajasthani is that uh even if they know the language when they speak to each other maybe they'll speak the language but when somebody else comes and speaks to them in that language they shift to hindi because they feel that being a hindi speaker is cooler and of course if you're really cool then you'll speak in english so over the years so many times when i would be visiting jaipur and if i'm buying something and i know that this person was just speaking to the other person in rajashani but when i would speak to them they would shift to hindi so i had always had this at the back of my mind and i was like why don't we speak a language because i am in mumbai and people really speak marathi and they are very proud of their language so Social impact so when i started to read messages and the comments that were being put i realized that a lot of the older people were saying that you have put rajasthani and english in the same level so you somehow like you have picked up the you know rajasthan is what people were saying to me and i thought that was really sweet and i had not even thought of it that way that is that grown up spilling yeah that became like a social impact that i hadn't started off to do i didn't go out thinking that i am going to make a difference you know you just wanted to do a song because you thought so but that was the reason why people got really so it got so popular because people were like okay you are putting rajasthani and english in the same because people you know in india if you speak english to somebody then you are like cooler than the person who can't speak english that's just how it is in our subcontinent yeah so but luckily because of the schooling that i've done and also we were taught english but in in the house we used to speak rajasthani and hindi yeah so i have always spoken in three languages i think in three languages so for me singing also in two languages of three languages wasn't uh something that was like shocking or anything yeah but for other people i think it turned out to be and that that social impact thing of it actually really helped in my branding and the song becoming so popular so after that i said okay let's do more of it yeah i think i ended up making rajasthani mainstream is a huge thing right Fashion trends yeah i guess it just worked out that way and touchwood it's been going well and the other thing i had done was that i had won the rajasthani porsche that only rajputs were earlier the people who used to sing rajasthani music they would always weather chanya don't sing so you know there's no question of what you're going to wear as a singer because you are there aren't any singers in my community yeah so i started wearing my traditional shark and then that became a trend yeah one more thing happened that i was wearing those those churras yeah okay now those churras are not actually what rajputs where rajputs wear like one or two chudas the full churra is born by i think some of the tribals in rajasthan correct but that became that became a fashion statement yeah so now now over the years i see lots and lots of girls are wearing the rajasthani porsche the rajputi porsha they're wearing the churras and it's nice when i see that okay i started a fashion trend as well as a singing trend so and a language friend so that is really great and all what we think will work just just comes and goes and suddenly something that you just did on the whim and just becomes a big deal so i just keep trying new things but uh the the finally the success that came to me in my field was when i literally created a new genre of rajasthani in english so that's a huge learning that instead of just doing what everyone else is doing try and do something that nobody else has done then either they laugh at you and forget about you or you might hit the jackpot i hate the jackpot fantastic fantastic that's great thanks nick and i really enjoyed this and i think that just this learning about you know just do what you like and just keep trying you never know when you just keep trying and submitting yourself will probably work and i think really it was like you just took what you are just to a new level right you really i went back to basics to be quite honest because i had been trying to sing in hindi and i had been you know and it wasn't like there are very very better sing many better singers than me but nobody does rajasthani english mix better than me there are better english singers they are better rajasthani singers but there's nobody who's doing english and rajasthan together so yeah i think the authenticity really comes out when you sing right it's you i i know the accent so i sing in the correct accent uh that's another thing a lot of rajasthani singers are not rajasthani speakers yes so they end up mixing up words the you know they they might end up saying instead of you know where so they're small things a lot of singers say instead of so these things give you away subtle things that you really know right so i'm grown up in jaipur so yeah it's definitely an advantage for me yeah i'm sure your parents will be so happy looking up looking yeah my father had come to Her parents mumbai earlier he was not very happy about me getting into singing because mainly he said how are you gonna earn and you know it's a it's a bad line to be in and stuff but i've never held that against them because i've grown up in rajasthan and i've seen how musicians are treated yeah our folk musicians are supposed to sit on the floor and it's not a professional arrangement people give bakshi's to them as and how they please that's really charity yeah like you know tip it's like a tip okay so like oh if you please me i'll give you some more money but that's not a professional way of treating a musician yeah and first of all they shouldn't be sitting on the floor just because they're poorer than you yeah when you so my parents have seen that's the those are the musicians my parents have seen yes the which is like so big that they're like okay my kid is not going to leave there so then they don't want their kids to get into a line like that where it's dicey right so i don't blame them so when my father came to bombay and he saw me perform it was at this it was like a auditorium with people who were seated and there was a stage and i was singing on stage and people were very appreciative so he that's when he realized that okay she's settled and she's you know she's doing what she likes and she's making money and she's you know respected so once he saw the concert is when he relaxed a little and said okay i think that you are going in the right part but obviously they were to start with they were not very keen that i get into it but uh i got into it anyway so fantastic fantastic thanks so much and again that this is just amazing and i'm so happy you got to do what you love and you know got success and learning some more oh i have a lot long way to go but yeah i'm happy where i am and one is always going to keep trying you know you know trying to get ahead in life so that continues but yeah i think i managed to do well for myself for now correct correct fantastic thanks so much thank you for having me come on honey come back

More Information

Yes. That’s correct! She, Rajnigandha Shekhawat, a Rajastani woman, was accidently heard singing by her 8th grade music teacher. While her music teacher encouraged her to continue with singing her parents had no idea what she had dabbled into. Wanting to open a different avenue in the music scene Rajnigandha took to YouTube. She found a song she liked on YouTube and noticed there were different language versions and said to herself lets make a Rajastani version. This low budget recorded song once uploaded to YouTube got a lot of hits to the likes of 1 million hits in 10 days. Seeing a Rajastani song with so much popularity is rare in mainstream Indian music. She unknowingly started a fashion trend. It’s stories like this that tug at your heartstrings. Coming from adversity and succeeding in something you have put your heart into is triumphant. Further, sharing your story can have a positive impact on many people in many ways. It takes just a few people to watch the video and talk about it within their networks to positively impact it’s popularity. I didn’t know anything about Rajnigandha Shekhawat before I was asked to write a blog about her. Now I am inspired by her story. If I’m sharing this feeling with others in my network I not only initiate an introduction to the video but I open the door to new unknown networks. #rcozus #positivity #positive #shareyourstory #story #joinrcozus #joinourcause #rajasthani #rajasthan #rajasthanimusic #indianmusic #music #musician #rajnigandha #journey #success #successful #experimentalmusic #experiment

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