Colloquy With Los Angeles Based Pianist And Composer Raashi Kulkarni
Colloquy With Los Angeles Based Pianist And Composer Raashi Kulkarni. It was not a long ago when composer and pianist, Raashi Kulkarni released her debut EP, titled “Raashi,” on January 5, 2018. The lead single, “Humraahi,” was launched with a video, directed by Dominique Sheth, produced by Sarah Rosenberg and Madison Stevens, and shot by Adriana Serrato, all of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Raashi shares her passion for music in a interview.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a pianist and composer based in Los Angeles, CA. I’m also a coffee lover, concert-goer, and Netflix binger.
You’ve had quite an incredible journey as a pianist and composer. Tell us about your favorite project.
Thank you so much. Releasing my debut EP earlier this year was definitely the most memorable. It took over four years to complete and was cathartic to finally share it with other people. I think my favorite scoring project thus far was composing the music for an independent, short film called “All Quiet on the Homefront” starring Waris Ahluwalia and directed by Harjus Singh. The director gave me a lot of creative freedom when it came to the music. This particular project holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first film score where I was able to record a 40-piece string orchestra. I will never forget it!
How difficult was it to get a break?
It wasn’t easy. Continually growing in the entertainment industry requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline. I knew that I wanted to score films and perform as a living at an early age, and realized that I’d have to endure many forms of rejection before “getting a break.” I had been looking into University of Southern California’s graduate film scoring program for years and thought it would provide the best opportunity to learn from professionals in the industry. I had to build my reel and enhance my skills in the technological side of scoring as well before applying. After graduating college, I started working full-time, taught piano after work, performed at gigs on the weekends, and scored short films and commercials anywhere in between. After three years, I felt like I was ready to take a leap of faith. I quit my job, continued teaching piano and performing, toured with a couple of bands, and applied to USC. After graduating from USC, I freelanced with various Hollywood composers on a project basis until I got a full-time job with the Emmy-nominated composer, Blake Neely. In this industry and in life, it’s been important for me to recognize that there isn’t just one ‘break’ to success. My goal is to become better at my craft every day and collaborate with people who are just as passionate about music and storytelling as I am.
Talk about your first experience as a performer?
I started performing when I was seven years old. I remember my first piano recital took place in a church near my piano teacher’s house in Maryland. I would always get nervous before any performance, but the moment I would start playing, all the nerves would go away. The same feeling still holds true today!
How was childhood like? Were you always driven to music? Any stories from childhood that you would want to share?
I am fortunate to have had a childhood filled with love and music. When I wasn’t practicing or composing music, you could find me playing outside with friends, playing on the local soccer team, dancing, building forts out of cushions and blankets with my sisters, studying, and singing karaoke with my family. My parents always had music playing in the house, whether it was Bollywood, Indian classical, or Western classical. Music became my form of expression early on. I used to record all my piano compositions on a cassette tape recorder when I was in elementary school. I still have all those cassette tapes to this day.
What other projects you are currently involved in?
I’m currently composing music for a few short films and have started working on my second album. It will be very different than my EP. I’ve also been working full-time with composer Blake Neely for the last year and a half on the shows, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale, Blindspot, Kevin (Probably) Saves The World, Deception, and YOU (forthcoming). The work has varied from arranging music on the shows, preparing sessions for live orchestral recordings, and writing a bit of additional music over the last season. I’ve learned so much from him and the team and am grateful to work with the best crew in Hollywood. We are in our off-season right now but I’m looking forward to what this next year brings!
What is a normal day for you?
The television season runs from August to May, so during those months, my schedule is relatively consistent seven days a week. Most of my time is spent at the studio working on the shows that with air every week. When I get home, I work on my own projects and practice piano. I make sure to enjoy the summer as much as I can (and catch up on sleep!
What is your favorite destination for traveling and why?
Now that I live in Los Angeles, my favorite place to visit is my parents outside of Washington, D.C. That will always remain home for me and I don’t take my time there for granted!
What do you think is your personal strength to be able to achieve so much?
Persistence and the support of my family.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would love to be scoring feature films, collaborating with other artists, and performing my original music around the world!
Your personal favorite line for motivation and some words for your fans?
My daily mantra for several years has been: Passion. Perseverance. Patience.
Thank you to my fans for supporting my music; for listening to it, connecting with it, and sharing it. My promise is to continue creating, growing, and sharing music with you all! Sending all my love.