It’s 2004, you are on top of the world, and you deserve it. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of how you are avoiding most of the cliche pitfalls of a global popstar’s career at your age. Most definitely, due to a grounded and superb family who raised you with only love as the primary focus. So… in reality, with little credit to you at this moment. But what you are about to experience and what the world is shortly going to present to you, unfortunately, no spectacular family or solid upbringing will have prepared you for, so listen up.
Being a huge “Back To The Future” fan, I know you may be tempted to ignore this letter so as to not disrupt the space time continuum, don’t do that, I got you.
Issues you will experience first hand soon that right now are nowhere in your vicinity are related to race, honesty and trust. Suddenly the name that thousands of people are chanting today “Raghav” will be deemed too ethnic by the gatekeepers at record labels who fawn over you somewhat disingenuously in 2004, and you will be asked to compromise on this, your name, your culture, your identity after selling over a million albums. You will take an aggressive stand that you are not a novelty because of your background but rather a serious musical act and that your name, however Indian it is, shouldn’t be an obstacle in marketing your music. Your reaction to the request to suddenly become culturally ambiguous will be dismissive, leaving you on the outside looking in for some time. Even if you feel it is steeped in a moral fabric that has held you in good stead till now, it will not be welcomed within a music industry going through a huge paradigm shift on a multitude of levels. I’m proud of the stances you take, the decisions you make, but warn you the consequences shall prove more cumbersome than you think, you will feel isolated, upset, and for some time will flounder professionally and personally trying to rediscover the confidence you feel today.
By the way, Raghav, frustration is a wasted emotion, and your indulgence in it will be a waste of time, so don’t.
You will, however, persevere, and you will always have a global audience for your music. You will have many more hits, money won’t be a concern, but fulfilment and a yearning for validation of your abilities will be.
You are most complete or in the pocket as an artist when you honour your culture in your music and though you can’t imagine it now, the over-saturation of a sound you are currently integral in creating will mean for some time you will have to step away from that very sonic, and the business related to it, so as to find the appropriate way to write an original chapter 2. It will take longer than you think, a harder toll than you may feel capable of handling at times, the absence will break your heart, but it will be required.
In 2016, when you least expect it, you will have a daughter, Riya. Perfection. For the first time in 12 years, you will love someone more than you love your music, and her arrival will play a singular role in presenting you with clarity as to your purpose, something you’ve lacked since you started dealing with substantial adversity around 2008. This clarity will make your musical path clearer than ever before. However, you will have to fight tooth and nail to regain the stage you are blessed with today, but you will, and I am, and we shall.
You are an original, don’t ever compromise that.
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