Fusing classical Indian traditions with hip-hop, Los Angeles-based songwriter and rapper Raja Kumari bridges East and West into a style she calls "BollyHood." Raja Kumari, a role model for Asian-Americans on her debut, The Come Up, brings Indian culture to the mainstream with culturally authentic imagery.
Born Svetha Rao in Claremont, California, the Grammy-nominated musician grew up studying Indian classical music and dancing, falling in love with hip-hop acts like Fugees
at a young age. After college, where she majored in South Asian religious studies, she decided to pursue a career in music. Her initial breakthrough came with songwriting. She co-wrote Fall Out Boy
's hit "Centuries" -- for which she won a BMI Pop Award for songwriting in 2016 -- as well as Iggy Azalea
's "Change Your Life" featuring T.I.
Her other credits include tracks for Fifth Harmony
, Twin Shadow
, Knife Party
, and Gwen Stefani
, whose 2016 solo album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like, features five Rao-penned tracks. After signing with spotify:search:label%3A%22Epic+Records%22 , Rao began recording her debut album in Atlanta. Preceded by the three-song EP Curry Sauce, Vol. 1, The Come Up featured production by The-Dream
, Mike WiLL Made-It
, and RedOne
. The album's first single, "Mute" was inspired by rapper Future
and the Atlanta trap sound. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi