Posted on November 27, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Mainstream Music Urban

UA Exclusive: New York Based Hip-hop Artist Shiv Works With AR Rahman!

Exclusive: Hip-hop artist Shiv Works with Music Megastar AR Rahman & Pens an exclusive Track for Urban Asian!


It’s not everyday musical genius AR Rahman asks an up and coming talent, to lend his lyrics and vocals to a track for a movie.  Shiv had his outstanding talent recognized by none other than AR Rahman. Based in New York city Shiv recently released a fusion track titled  Hayati, the song not only brings out his amazing vocal ability but also his lyrical skill. Rap is an art and shiv brings the art form to life. Despite his success Shiv remains down to earth and a pleasure to talk to as we spoke about his experiences, struggles and influences in an exclusive interview for Urban Asian!

Here’s what shiv had to say:

1) There’s a lot of pressure in the music industry, to constantly produce something that’s unique and appealing. How do you go about this process?

In my experience, the process of creating unique music relies very heavily on intuition and is many times just an amalgamation of tones and sounds that appeal to you as a creator. I let my producer, usually Kunal (@kunal.wav), create the composition before I ride whatever vibes I feel with the beat & I then test various vocal rhythms with wordless placeholder sounds. This helps me to hear what the overall flow of the song may be in auditory terms before I can gather a more specific intent & can create relevant lyrics. 

As for the secret behind appealing music, I don’t think there is any sort of recipe. It’s really just staying true to your art & having a genuine hope that people and fans enjoy what I create as much as I do.

2. Who would you cite as your main inspirations?

When it comes to melodies, A.R. Rahman is my biggest influence. Unpredictable melodies are always what I strive for. I’d love to pleasantly surprise listeners the way he does. When it comes to lyrics, flows, verse structure, it is definitely J. Cole. He has deeply influenced the depth of which I express myself through hip hop. 

3. Rap is popular among all cultures now, do you feel it’s difficult being Desi and a rapper in the music industry?

I think it’s difficult to be desi in any creative field. There are young South Asian creatives who are absolutely brilliant, but lack the encouraging social environment to pursue their craft, so we never get to experience their beauty as we should.

As for being desi in rap music, it’s split between desi hip hop and mainstream hip hop at the current moment. I find it inherently easier to connect with a desi crowd, but my end goal is much more expansive. We are seeing great strides in the US and in India, though, on hip hop artists being considered musicians, so that’s much appreciated.


4. What has been your best moment as a musician till date?

I have to say that my collaboration with A.R. Rahman has to be the highlight of my music career thus far. I was asked to rap on a composition of his for his & Mani Ratnam’s movie, “Chekka Chivantha Vaanam.” The song, Hayati, peaked at #5 on iTunes India’s top 100 songs list, hit 1 million views in a day, and 3 million in its first week.

I was floored by the response to my verse on that song, and alongside Mayssa Karaa’s incredible vocals, I was able to be part of an epic track with one of the greatest musical Maestros alive. I will always cherish it as my first big moment, but hope that it’s the starting point for even more incredible moments in this industry.

5. How would you describe your style of music in 5 words?

“Melodic flows with substantive lyrics.”

6. What would you say is some of your best tracks till date?


7. What are some of the struggles you face as an up and coming musician in this day and age?

This is a great question. The biggest hurdles that growing artists face when trying to be recognized for their craft, is the social media setup that we currently have. Numbers on a specific social media platform are starting to determine self-worth with many young kids, and it’s increasing anxiety in teens and young adults. We need to find a way to share music without any metrics, so the work could speak for itself. This, in a way, can bring back the pre-Internet practice of how we decided who deserved recognition: by having talent!

8. What can we look forward to with regards to your work that we can expect in 2018?

I dropped two projects in 2018 so far, “Love at First Sound” (Jul. 17th), & “Less is More” (Oct. 3rd). I have almost 100 songs already recorded and ready for release, but I’m also collaborating with many artists simultaneously toward the end of this year, and want to give that my full attention. In early 2019 I will be dropping another full length project, though. Exact date TBD!

The Hip-Hop star Shiv and I discussed musical tastes, Bollywood and rap of course, yet one of his stories took me by surprise. I’d asked him how he met the legend AR Rahman, in the most calm and cool way, he went on to share that Mr. Rahman was doing a concert in the early 2000’s when they met and somewhat kept in touch. Shiv continued to share his music with the LEGEND, until he received a response and this is how Hayati was born!


There’s a lot we can learn from Shiv, persistence, hard work, determination and humbleness surely goes a long way!

Listen to Hayati official lyric video from the movie Chekka Chivantha Vaanam

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