British born and bred music maestro Rishi Rich managed to make a name for himself in the UK Asian scene but his journey since that has been quite something. Now based in Mumbai, signed to Universal Music India and EMI Records as their in-house producer, Rishi has seen much success; his most recent being the much talked-about album for Excel Entertainment’s ‘Gully Boy’, which released in February.
BizAsiaLive.com caught up with Rishi to talk about this, how he has managed to carve his own niche and what keeps him to engaged with music now that he’s in Mumbai.
Rishi Rich is a name and brand that, in the UK, has many memories for so many people. You’re not only a ground-breaker but also someone so many of us are proud of. How does this feel now that you are based in Mumbai working with some of the best in the business?
It’s a great feeling when the musical vibes you create in the studio are appreciated around the world especially my hometown, UK. I don’t consider myself a ‘ground-breaker’ but I do like to experiment with my music and ensure that I elevating my own vibes and that they are fresh in their sound. Working in Mumbai is very different to the UK and even working in America. I feel blessed to be able to wake up everyday and do what I love.
Your music has always had a particular beat and style. How have you had to adapt that according to the different projects you’ve taken on in India?
I guess that is one of the most important things that I have actually tried to retain regardless of which country I am in. I feel that an artists’ artistry (whether music producer or singer) should elevate and develop their style and their signature sound rather than adapt and change according to everyone else. Don’t get me wrong when I am working on certain projects that require a more filmy and Bollywood approach, sometimes my heavy hip hop influenced drum patterns don’t suit the brief I’ve been given but I always try and retain some sort of sound in everything I work on so that my vibe is there.
Was Bollywood always a goal?
Bollywood is a goal for a lot of people and I think that’s great. For me though, my main focus and reason for moving to India was to create music in an environment that I felt inspired in, and felt hungry in. When I came to India (initially for three months) to complete my work on Half Girlfriend’s “Mere Dil Mein”, I saw a big change in myself musically and personally. It just so happened that my move here started with a Bollywood project but my main goal is just to make good music regardless of whether that is for Bollywood or for an independent artist.
You have collaborated with so many artistes across the globe in recent years. What keeps you motivated?
Honestly, for me it has always been about being in the studio with an artist that inspires you and motivates you. I am very fortunate to have been able to collaborate with many artists from different genres of music but just as the artist needs the producer, the producer also needs the artist. That is so important, for me especially, in my music. Other than that, I love going out and listening to music and just vibing out and getting inspired and then taking all of that and channeling that into a record.
Do you have any artistes on your wish list who you’d like to work with in the future?
I love Charlie Puth’s vibe so definitely him, Asha Bhosle for sure and probably A.R Rahman. Don’t know how they would sound on one song though!!
‘Gully Boy’ seems to have taken the world by storm and you have a big hand in that. How important do you think this kind of elevation of the Indian rap scene inspires you? How much did you need to research or know about before starting on that project?
To be honest my approach on the music for ‘Gully Boy’ was actually just good direction from the production house handling the specific treatments for each song of the movie along with the fact that the film, Zoya Akhtar and Ranveer Singh inspired me greatly too. I am a big hip hop fan and my style of music has always had an element of the hip-hop drumming style because I am heavily influenced by that kind of music. The rap and hip-hop scene in India has always been there, and for a pretty long time. It is great that it’s starting to come to the forefront now and I feel that Ranveer Singh did great justice to the film in showcasing the struggles of the talented in the gullies.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration during your time making music?
My mum will always be my inspiration and is also the first person I send new music that I make to. Other than that, it is the people around me which is so important. I’m inspired by the artists that I work with and their hunger as well as being inspired and motivated by just wanting to make music that makes you feel something.
What have you been most grateful for?
I am so grateful to be able to be in a space in my life now when I can wake up every day in a good and positive space doing what I love. I don’t make music everyday and sometimes I just want to watch Netflix and literally chill. But then again, I sometimes work flat out for weeks non-stop. I am grateful to be able to be in a space where I can make those choices with contentment and be free.
Looking back, what would you say has been the most important thing in you carving your journey in the way you have?
I don’t think there has been one single experience that has singlehandedly led me on to the road I am on. I think it’s a mixture of different experiences both good and bad, timing and working hard.
You are working on ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’ in terms of Bollywood but what else is coming up for you?
Right now I am concentrating heavily ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’; being an integral part of the music for someone like Sunny Deol is for sure a milestone in my career. In terms of Bollywood I am working on a few specialist projects because I do like to challenge myself in terms of where I can take myself musically. I am continuously working with my day one artists as well as new upcoming talent and established independent talent in India. It’s exciting doing a bunch of different things but I don’t disclose too much until the time is right to.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next five years?
Since I moved to India, I stopped looking that far ahead and I really just got into ‘living for the now’ space; the present moment. Of course I would love to be still doing what I love with happiness and the vibe and space I am in now; but then again I might be in Cuba relaxing with good music and my own bar! Who knows?!
BizAsiaLive.com thanks Rishi Rich for talking with us.