‘It’s about telling your story’

With his songs ‘Yaddein’ and ‘Girlfriend’, rapper, singer, and composer Dino James became a sensation on the internet. Having recently released ‘Dooriyan’, NT BUZZ caught up with the hit maker who was down in Goa What makes rapper Dino James a hit is his inspirational lyrics, the simplicity of his ideas and music videos that are so relatable. Each of his songs- ‘Loser’, ‘Unstoppable’, ‘Hancock’, ‘Achi Maza Aayi’, ‘Yaddein’, and more, all showcase Dino’s inimitable style. And so when NT BUZZ got to know that the rapper was in Goa, there was no chance we were skipping an interview with this rapper who has over 3.1 million subscribers

Excerpts from the interview

Q. In the last one year, your fan following has increased, and people connect with your songs, even among those who are above 40.

My intention to do rap was not about entertaining people. It was only about letting things out. The most private feeling is the most creative and most common at times. ‘Loser’ is not a kind of song that I would do just to get into music line. ‘Hancock’ also for that matter wasn’t a kind of a song that anybody would want to do in this commercial world. I guess these songs connected with people, it’s about telling your story, about your anger, sadness, happiness, frustration. If you are genuine it will connect. You don’t have to think and create and ‘artificalise’ anything. Be pure and people will connect to you and your work.

But, to get this connection and love is not only my effort but the backing of several people like director Himanshu Tyagi who heard my songs and thought of how it should look.

Q. Rap today is a popular music genre; and has changed the notions of music listeners. How has rap transformed you?

I think what I am doing is different. Everybody looks different even in the clutter. I am a different soul altogether. If you take stress you cannot do what you could do otherwise.

Q. After ‘Dooriyan’ and a lot of live shows in store, what next?

Sony is in talks with me right now. Let’s hope for the best.

Q. While rap is inspired from your real life, struggles, etc; do such holidays in Goa inspire you?

You should come to Arambol and relax. It’s about place influence. Mumbai is fast paced and can be really stressful. In this digital age, there are several negative thoughts that come to one’s mind. And I believe that is your craft that can save you. I come here for peace to unwind as the vibe is such. But, it is also a time that I spend with myself and contemplate as I am trying to rectify a lot of flaws.

Q. You sing songs straight from the heart and have words that some may say are ‘not in good taste’. Do you see yourself facing the problem of censorship?

A lot of films and comedians are expressing themselves. It wasn’t this transparent and gutsy in the past. Many cuss words are being used. In fact, cuss words are used in daily vocabulary today. There are people who will raise objections. I used to have many cuss words in my previous songs but then, I realised that I need to be responsible as an artist. So, I am growing and learning. Some people would not want to listen to your songs just because of one word and your work goes to waste. Writing songs is about you growing as human too. If there is a need to tone it down in order to connect with a larger group of people, I will do it.

Q. Films and acting was your first love, will you get back to it?

I like films. If it’s going to happen my way I will be happy to get back to it, otherwise I will do whatever I like.

Q. When you are working on songs, do you think of the audience connect?

If you can fake it, people will not connect. I feel that emotions are synonymous with lyrics and songs. And it has to be used properly, and not be used for the sake of getting viewers or fans.

Of course, you also have to think about people that it should connect to, while remembering that making a song is not the same like making a documentary.

Q. Will we hear you sing in your mother tongue – Malayalam?

I have tried to sing in Malayalam and its going to be also sung in Hindi. It is not rap as I can’t think and write rap in Malayalam. But, from what it seems like now, it is going to be a big song, and it’s close to my heart as I believe in it. However, it will be released after three or four songs that are being made.

Q. And what kind of music do you like listening to?

I am very old school and don’t listen much to rap music. The only rapper I listen to is Eminem. I listen to other genres.

Q. Coming to genres of music, as these get diversified; they are also becoming very niche with sub genres within a larger genre of music, isn’t it?

People who know a particular genre will listen to it. Niche can be massy, especially, if powerful people take a stand. Take for example the movie ‘Lagaan’, it’s as niche as it is for a mass audience as Aamir Khan made it extraordinary. So, it’s all about projecting something so that people believe in you and your work.

Q. While people have come to know you through your music, are there other sides to you that not many know about?

There is no other side. I am a regular individual. I am chilled out and like to do my own thing. It is easy to get carried away, but then you need to train yourself to be as you are. I am learning and adjusting to this life now. The Dino James you see in the songs, is the Dino James I am at all times. [NT]