When she was four years old, she was writing her own nursery rhymes. Even back then Lady Kash knew that there was a certain magic to lyrics set to a beat.
The rapper from Singapore who has worked with the likes of A R Rahman on Irumbile oru Irudhaiyam for Enthiran and the Semmozhiyaana Thamizh Mozhiyaam anthem was in Chennai recently and spoke to City Express about what she’s been up to since her claim to fame over two years ago.
For starters, the petite artiste tells us, “I was in a duo back then with my friend Krissy – but now I’m putting together a solo EP that hopefully should be out by September.”
Armed with a bold confidence and a wacky hairstyle that gets her noticed wherever she goes, Kalaivani Nagaraj has come a long way from the little girl who couldn’t stop putting pen to paper.
“I would write poem after poem in school,” she recalls. “And I remember my favourite song was Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ in school because it sounded like he was speaking straight from the heart, and it was such a simple melody.” In her home island-city of Singapore, music fast became an obsession with this teenager. But there was limited exposure to rap, her real calling.
“There was no place I could go to learn it and so instead I put up a fake rap profile online, just to get in touch with American rappers and talk to them,” she recalls. After recording a few demos that she proceeded to upload on her My Space profile, Kash was spotted by a radio station in the UK who got her music on air for the first time. “You could say the Internet launched me,” she says with a smile.
But how did it lead to her working with A R Rahman? Apparently, it was a matter of right-place-right-time. Anyway, he was impressed. “When he met us (Kash and Krissy), he said, ‘you’re so young’,” Kash laughs.
A 20-year-old at the time, Kash had enrolled herself in the SAE Institute in Chennai to study audio production. “And I was in an auto heading home when I got a call from Benny Dayal. I thought somebody was playing a trick on me,” she laughs. It turns out that after sound testing for a Kannada film, Dayal had heard the duo’s vocals and was impressed, going on to bring the track to the attention of Rahman – who was at the time working on Enthiran. Fate? It certainly seems like it.
We’re running out of time now. And Kash briefly reveals her plans to collaborate with Indian artistes on her upcoming EP. “I’ve already talked to Chinmayi,” she reveals, “and I’m also going to call Sanjeev Thomas and Shakthisree Gopalan...” she goes on casually.
The EP will have five tracks, both English and Tamil – with English songs fused with Tamil rap as well. Also working with American producers who have created records for big names such as Justin Bieber and Sean Kingston, the rapper says that she hopes to go global very soon by shifting base to the US.
But she promises that wherever she goes, her Tamil rap will go with her. The artiste says with conviction, “Tamil is my mother tongue, I want to put it on the map.”