In today’s blog post of my interview series, I’ll be interviewing the American pop artist Rajiv Dhall. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, grew up in Detroit, MI but then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. Rajiv uploaded his first cover song in December 2010 on YouTube. He also used to be in the popular band called TwentyForSeven, which was formed by him and his friends during high school. A few years later, he ruled on Vine as one of the best Vine musicians alongside Shawn Mendes. These platforms helped him building an organic fan base and gain international popularity. Since 2016 he also had some acting roles in movies like Tagged (2017) Fuller House (2016) and Freakish (2016). After taking a break off social media for a year, today in 2020 he is back with many written songs in his pockets. Therefore, he is focusing on his solo music career and is releasing new music one by one.
He had his comeback with the 4-track- EP When I’m Alone, released in March. He has released 5 more songs since then. I was definitely listening to U Feel Like Summer on repeat this summer. However, I know Rajiv Dhall since his YouTube days, probably since 2013, he has always been an artist I love to follow since my high school years. With his genuine and friendly aura, he has won my sympathy from day one. I remember watching his cover videos, especially his year-end pop songs mashups. In this interview, we will chat about his musical background, his quarantine lifestyle, and his new music. So let’s start!
Dear Rajiv Dhall welcome on erenblogs – Today’s Pop Music. I’m glad to have this opportunity to ask you some questions. Thank you so much for joining the interview series on my blog.
1. First, let’s get to know you better. How would you describe yourself in 3 and your music in 5 words?
Hmm, 3 words I would describe myself as a goofy, songwriter and nutritious. As for my music, I would call it poppy, versatile, happysad, sadhappy, and also nutritious.
2. Your ethnicity seems to be interesting to a lot of people on the internet. I also noticed you have many Indian fans and fans from Asian countries in general. How do you describe your ethnicity when asked and which languages do you speak? And how do you stay connected to your roots, while living in Nashville?
I’m half Indian and half…white guy? hahaha I never know how to properly classify my Caucasian side. my mom was born and raised in America and my father moved to America from India in his 20s. I feel super lucky to have such a diverse background and also be able to represent my Indian roots in American pop music. my heritage is very important to me.
3. What kind of music did you grow up with and which artists inspired you as a teenager?
I grew up listening to blink-182 and other pop-punk and punk rock bands.
4. Please name the first album you bought with your own money and the first concert you went on!
The first album I bought was the Eminem show and my first concert was Britney Spears the oops I did it again tour. No regrets.
5. How did you start singing and writing music? Has it always been a dream of yours?
Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a singer. I got a guitar when I was 11 or 12 and I was hooked for life and played in bands ever since.
6. How do you start writing a song? Any certain order for the lyrics, melodies, and production?
Writing a song is different for me every time. sometimes I start with a concept or an idea that I’ve had on my mind and sometimes a melody just shows up. since signing my publishing deal, I’ve been writing songs every day hoping to pitch some to other artists as well. It’s been fun to write thinking from the perspective of someone else.
7. Who are your dream collaborations? It can be any singer, songwriter, and producer.
I’d love to make music with John Mayer. He’s a huge inspiration of mine. I’m also a huge Justin Bieber fan and that would be an insane collaboration for me. I’d love to write with blink-182 as well obvi.
8. I’d say 2020 has been a horrible crazy year for the entire world due to the pandemic. How did you spend your quarantine days?
I spent most of 2020 locked away in my studio gearing up to release my new music and writing songs. I also randomly learned how to build some furniture.
9. I’m interested in a typical quarantine day of yours, did you come up with new habits? In my case, I was definitely eating more than usual, and working out less, shame on me.
I built a gym in my garage to try to stay on my exercise grind. I usually get up and go out there for a bit and then end up writing till the evening. I definitely hit a slump at the beginning of the quarantine but I realized that we were gonna be locked down for a while and that helped me find the inspiration to make a change!
10. What did you miss the most during the quarantine?
I missed the mental freedom of knowing I COULD go out and do something. I feel like knowing I couldn’t leave was the worst part. IDK
11. What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself while being isolated from the outside world?
I learned that even in the toughest circumstances we can still be happy and that I’m very fortunate to be healthy and have a supportive family.
12. I wonder if there was a person, who made your quarantine days better? If yes, please tell us why!
My wife and my dogs made my days so much better! we had 2 pups at the beginning of quarantine and now we have 4 🙂 .
13. Congratulations on your marriage Rajiv I’m so happy for you, you’re one of the lucky ones, who have found the one. So you have married your long-time girlfriend/fiancé, Kathryn Hurley, this October. How stressful was it to get married during a global pandemic? You shared on your Instagram that the actual date was canceled but you still wanted to release the romantic love song 84, which you wrote for your wife on that day. Also, how does it feel to be married now? Any major changes?
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I really appreciate it 🙂 . It was stressful getting married during the pandemic but we made it work! The wedding was outdoors and we ended up cutting our guest list in half but we stayed safe and no one got the virus. Kathryn and I have been together for a long time so there isn’t a change in our day to day life but it feels incredible to be her husband 🙂 .
14. Let’s talk about your song Insecure. It’s a vulnerable electro-pop song on your latest EP When I’m Alone. You’re singing about being insecure. I love the fact that you have written such a relatable track. Now I wonder, when was the last time you felt insecure?
I feel insecure every day. Constantly haha. I’ve always dealt with my own mental stuff and been a pretty sensitive person. Though I like to present myself in an upbeat and fun way, music is my way to express those tougher parts of my personality that are harder to talk about.
15. One of your latest releases is the upbeat track Alone, it was released on September 18. I must say that it is one of my favorites. The vibe you create with your vocals and the production is a must-feel. I love everything about that song. I’m also a person who needs to be alone a lot, therefore thank you for this anthem. What inspired you to write this song? How was the writing process?
Aw, thank you!! I actually mumbled the chorus of that song into a voice note on my phone while out at a crowded restaurant a few months before the pandemic started. I get overwhelmed pretty easily in social situations even though I do a pretty decent job of hiding it. I feel like I have to put on a happy face whenever I’m out and sometimes I just feel exhausted by that. I made the beat for fun not knowing it would go anywhere but it worked with the chorus perfectly. It’s a very different song lyrically than it is instrumentally.
16. You’re singing and producing music for more than a decade now. I wonder, what have you learned about yourself during this process as an artist? What do you do differently today than you did in the beginning?
The most important thing I’ve learned is not to give up as lame as that sounds. I think when I first started creating music I assumed if I didn’t write a great song every time I tried I was just a bad songwriter which just isn’t the case. I still fail constantly but without failing you never learn anything. sometimes you just gotta keep throwing stuff at the wall until you figure out what sticks!
Now It’s time for this or that!
Pizza or Sushi? Pizza
Spotify or Netflix? Spotify
Curry or Hot Sauce? Hot Sauce
Coffee or Tea? Tea
80s Disco Pop or Indie-Pop? Indie-Pop
Stadium tour or an acoustic session with few fans? Acoustic session with few fans.
Summer or Winter season? Summer
Piano or Guitar? Guitar
Los Angeles or Nashville? Both for very different reasons
17. What are you most excited about to happen in 2021? what can you tell us about new projects, you’re working on right now?
I’m just so excited to continue to release songs I’ve written. we have a playlist of over 100 songs now and I’m writing more every day. we’re picking whichever song feels right for the moment and trying to drop one at least every month. very eager to grow as an artist and for people to get to know my music and brain from my perspective.
18. Can we expect you to go on tour after the pandemic is over?
I’d love to go on tour after the pandemic and hope the right opportunity presents itself. doing so much through the internet I’ve found that I can do a ton of connecting and performing remotely for the whole world, but I still have been itching to play live shows again.
Thank you, Rajiv Dhall, so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you the best for your musical career and I’m looking forward to your next releases.
Thank you so so much for giving me the opportunity to be on your blog 🙂 . It means the world to me that you’ve followed and supported me through all these years. I owe you always!
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