As I sit at my desk writing this, I feel an immense sense of pride reflecting on our journey.
In 2007, as a 17 year old, I officially commenced a career in the entertainment / music industry as a determined individual with a pocket full of dreams and limited resources. As a Singaporean-Indian girl who was the first to rap in Tamil and English, it dawned upon me, that I was a trailblazer and that the path ahead, was one I would have to create on my own. The odds were stacked against me. But, I was determined. I was not going to stop at anything, let alone allow the lack of finances to decide my fate. I knew that one day, I would make my parents proud, while doing what I love to do and making the world a better place, through the expression of Arts, which I dearly loved.
It was the dawning era of social media. Realizing that it was a tool I could perhaps use to raise money to kick start my journey, I seeked opportunities online, hungrily. The hunt turned out to be fruitful. I participated in the world's first digital talent competition, presented by Friendster and Nokia. After a gruelling 4 months, I emerged the overall champion amongst participants from 4 Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. I took home a bountiful prize money and also served as the ambassador for Friendster, the biggest social network during that time. Despite coming from a middle-income family, my parents, acknowledged my efforts helped me take the first step. They met me in the middle and provided me with the extra funds I needed, in order to take up an education in Recording Arts in a foreign country, as Singapore had little to no scope for independent music back then.
As frightening as it was, with the right mindset and the humility that my family had bestowed in me, I left the comfortable shores of the lion city and set out to many countries including India, UK, USA, Canada, Germany and Sri Lanka, over the course of the next 10 years.
In 2008, while pursuing a Recording Arts diploma in India, simultaneously beginning to put out demos and songs on platforms such as Myspace and Reverbnation as I taught myself songwriting and rap, I received a call from Oscar & Grammy award winning composer A. R. Rahman's studio. A playback singer from the cinema world had come across my test vocals for another music director and recommended me to the honorable Mr. A. R. Rahman as he was seeking for a bilingual female rapper. The Universe, had met my efforts, in the middle. My manifestations and consistency, had put me face to face with a larger than life opportunity. As I had been training and honing my skills dedicatedly, I was ready to seize the opportunity and make the most out of it. This was a turning point that catapulted me into the masses. My audience grew and so did my gratefulness. The rest, as they say was history.
Today, my hat is adorned with multiple feathers that I wear, proudly and humbly. Many little milestones later, I bootstrapped and founded an independent record label & creative company and named it AKASHIK. It means the Universe or the ethereal, in Sanskrit.
Every single achievement would not have been possible without my commitment to this journey that I decided to embark on and the numerous individuals I met along the way, whom have contributed to my wins, graciously. Some who aided me on a personal front and some who provided me with resources, on a professional front.
With AKASHIK on the back of my jersey, my purpose deepened. I was now more certain than ever, that I wanted to touch lives, through my music. I mapped out AKASHIK to act as an all encompassing entity that would be able to serve independent artists, who would later walk the path I paved. I poured my knowledge, network of contacts and resources into this safe space. In Asia, where I come from, it was almost unheard of,to have a career as an artiste. Through AKASHIK, I began providing solutions for the abundant problems I once faced, as there was little information available about how to have a sustainable career as an independent artiste, when I had started out.
Today, AKASHIK is a formidable, credible label and creative house, with a vast and global network of media professionals, resources and quality services.
It has also given birth to a hybrid studio space in Bangalore, the silicon valley of India. DOJO BLACK. Studios. It serves as a dedicated training ground for the committed artists, who would be able to tap into consultation, recording and rehearsal services at custom prices. We also offer special barter systems, so that finances will not be a reason for one, not be able to pursue their dreams.
As a small but powerful team, we continue to move the needles and make strides. We enlist qualities of communication, transparency and loyalty to the highest degree.
Every dollar saved up, has been put into the journey I have done my best to summarize in the above paragraphs. We are now sitting on a significant amount of potential, which we will tap into, in the near future. With quality partners who also share our intention for long term growth, we will continue to invest back into the company and keep elevating. The future, is powerful. The possibilities, limitless.
My parents Rajoo Nagaraj and Mageswari, I thank you - for allowing me to spreadmy wings despite your deepest worries.
My day ones, I thank you - for the constant love and enthusiasm.
My partner, Shrutilaya, I thank you - for being the wind beneath my wings.
To my team, I thank you - for your dedication and trust.
To my mentor, A. R. Rahman, I thank you, for believing in me.
To my future partners, I thank you - for being a part of my visions and endeavours.
Let's keep building together and making the world a better place, while at it.
We are AKASHIK.
Kalaivani Nagaraj aka. Lady Kash