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SlowCheeta : On His Own Trail

Chaitanya Sharma aka SlowCheeta is passionate, he is aware and he is conscious that everything is an experiment and he must participate in it, Truly sharp and profound, he speaks in simplicity

by Teamexpresspo
SlowCheeta: On His Own Trail

Chaitanya Sharma aka SlowCheeta is a musician who speaks of our time. He is passionate, he is aware and he is conscious that everything is an experiment and he must participate in it. Truly sharp and profound, he speaks in simplicity.

 With previous hits such as “Bada Ghar Chota Ladka”, “Make it Happen” “Wannabe Rapper” and “To the Top”, he was also one of the talents on actor Ranveer Singh’s independent music record label — IncInk. Apart from producing music and acting, SlowCheeta has also produced a short film Dum Dum Deega Deega.

 A rapper, music composer, and actor – he is as fast and fierce as his namesake and is all set to light the stage on fire as he collaborates with Royal Stag Boombox to bring forth his hits amongst listeners who cherish his art.

In a conversation with Expresso Magazine, he unveils his process and the effervescent nature that the industry holds. But what one cannot let go of, is his true passion towards music and how he is set to create his own mark with a touch of simplicity. Excerpts below:

How did the name ‘SlowCheeta’ originate?

SlowCheeta : So funnily Cheeta is a name that I’ve been using ever since I was born. I have an older brother, so my mom said “Sher Cheeta paida hue hai” so my brother’s is called “Sheru” and mine was “Cheeta” and he let go of his pet name when he was like five years old and mine stuck so everyone who knows me since then calls me Cheeta. I heard SlowCheeta first in an era of Red Hot Chili Pepper songs and that idea stuck. SlowCheeta also because however slow, will always be quicker than human beings. So, it’s almost like you are in your own race.

Tell us about your journey in music so far?

SlowCheeta : Well, it’s a dream that I still can’t believe has come true. I was like a closet rapper, I used to write for myself and not really put it out. But I had a bit of a rough patch. I was bedridden for six months. And I needed something to get me out of bed and I wrote a song called ‘Make It Happen’, which was literally for me to make it happen. I put in a random audition based on a newspaper article for a brand called Jack and Jones who had this newspaper article out there when we get a chance to rap it. When we reviewed and sent the tape in one of my friend Rahul, he said just go for it and I was like yeah this never, happens its obviously nonsense and luck by chance I got that job and ever since it put me on the map.

What is your process for creating music?

SlowCheeta : This may sound a little tangential but at least I can speak for myself. I am a medium and I don’t think I have it in me to make the songs then I listen to my own songs. I just feel like I’ve been selected by some creative energy or creative force that flows in and out of me and I’m just the channel so I wait for it to come on.

Could you elaborate on your association with Royal Stag Boombox?

SlowCheeta : It’s incredible… to be able to associate with artists, like I’m performing today with Nikhita Gandhi and Amit Trivedi. It’s just such an incredible lineup and also to be able to get a sense of how they work, their creative process, how they make music, it’s literally like going to school.

Mixing Bollywood and Hip-hop is rather interesting. What about it interested you?

SlowCheeta : Hip-Hop is an amazing genre and it’s like potato, you can put it anywhere and it will taste good.  Everyone wants a rapper on their track. I think Bollywood is just such an obvious fusion with Hip-Hop. It does not happen that often.  So big shout out to Royal Stag Boombox for making that happen. It’s been special.

Slowcheeta : On His Own Trail

Where do you think the rap music genre in India is heading?

SlowCheeta : Every genre of music has a lifespan. If you trace it back from the 60s, there was country music, then there was jazz, then there was Pop with Michael Jackson. And then there was soft rock.  In the Indian scenario, especially in India right now, there’s so much unrest in thought that people want to express it. And I think Hip-Hop is the best genre to get that angst and swag. Hip Hop has found its feet and it’s here to stay. Right now, it’s on the up, and we couldn’t have been happier.

Since you started out, has the music industry changed and if so, how?

SlowCheeta : It’s insane how quickly it’s changing, though. There are conversations of concerts on the moon now that don’t seem like a farfetched dream anymore. Live shows, for example, are so weird now. Back in the day you see these bands, they were insane and live right now is a very different space. The audiences enjoy it and I’m just trying to grab what people enjoy and maybe you will have a good time.

 What do you want people to take away from your music?

SlowCheeta : “Whatever they want with this line” …  but this is really a line that stuck with me as a kid. I’ll add just a quick anecdote. I wrote this song called Bada Ghar Chota Ladka which is about the fact that just because someone comes from privilege does not mean he does not have the right to pursue art or does not mean that guy or that girl does not have the right to feel pain. I’m crying the same tears as you but in a different perspective. So, the first chorus is like “Easy mera life, nah, Easy mera Vibe”. So, I’m saying my life is not easy but my vibe is easy. People all across the gig are singing this line with their own perspectives.

Slowcheeta : On His Own Trail

Social media brings artists closer to audiences but not without its woes. Do you think there is a battle of art vs content these days on social media?

SlowCheeta : Personally, I wish I could be off social media. I want to get that as my benchmark that I don’t need to be on any social media platform just to save my sanity.  So, I feel like in a personal space I like to just look at myself for validation. And social media has this habit of making you reach out to others for that validation which is a very dangerous and slippery slope, especially for an artist. We have months of no work and then you just see what everyone’s doing. It sort of starts playing games, which is why I said personally, but well, I think it’s one of the greatest inventions for our generation to be able to be so connected and I have to thank social media a lot for my career.

What can fans expect from you in the future/this year?

SlowCheeta : It’s my make or break. It’s a year I look forward to for a long time. So, I am an actor and a rapper. Both burners are currently doing some really hot dishes, so to speak. So, there’s ‘Maidan’, which AR Rahman has produced. And I’m playing a legendary footballer, PK Banerjee, based on a true story about the Indian football team in the 60s. I have an EP coming soon with five tracks on it, which I can’t wait to drop hopefully the summer that should be out. There is another film about India’s first ever female sumo wrestlercalled “Sumo Devi”. So, lots of exciting stuff and lots of music.

Rapid Fire:

  1. Your favourite meal – Butter Chicken Biryani
  2. An inspiration – My Mom
  3. An artist in the India music diaspora you’d like collaborate with – DIVINE
  4. Favourite song – Luka Chupi

By Sarojini Chatterjee

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