Badminton by day, music by evening.
That’s how Rahul Prasad a.ok.a Renao wandered into the world of music. Rising up as a gifted badminton participant, Rahul who had represented Karnataka on the nationwide stage, was fairly certain the Olympics was the place he was headed. That was till he attended an Avicii live performance.
“It was my first music live performance and I learnt all his songs so I’d be cool in entrance of my associates,” he candidly admits, including, “I used to be blown away by the expertise! After I received again house, I spent my spare time on YouTube making an attempt to determine the particular results and all the digital music expertise.”
Like many a sportsperson, Rahul was exempt from common courses. “The choice to look for PU exams with out attending courses gave me ample time to coach; on the flip aspect, it left me with out too many associates and that’s after I turned to music.
By the point he was 19 and able to enrol in school, Rahul was the state topper in badminton and among the many high 10 within the nation. “I knew I had to decide on and although I used to be higher at badminton than music, I couldn’t consider giving it up. That call noticed me relocate to Leeds in the UK to review music manufacturing.”
As soon as there, Rahul started to understand the nuances of ambient EDM (digital dance music). “I noticed different artistes had been additionally taking part in devices or taking part as backing vocalists for his or her music; it inspired me to take up voice classes too.”
Catapult to fame
For nearly a yr after that, Rahul started to work on the type of music he wished to make in addition to perfecting his sound. In the direction of the top of 2021, he posted his tune , ‘No person’ on TikTok. “It was simply the final 30 seconds of the tune, however after I wakened the subsequent morning, it had garnered 400,000 views! It was unthinkable!”
Rahul says his life took a flip with the success of ‘No person’ — any video posted with that tune would get quite a few hits.
“My life turned fast-paced quickly after and I signed my first label; I used to be engaged on my EP. The issue is whenever you get pleasure from a second like that, you need to maintain hitting these numbers; you get misplaced within the likes, the variety of views and the eye. I began making movies on TikTok that I knew might go viral.”
“Nonetheless, the rationale I went viral within the first place was as a result of I made one thing sincere and genuine to myself. As soon as I started working for the ‘likes,’ I realised I had began shedding my persona and my focus and I broke away from that mindset.”
Brown pores and skin, white voice
Once you transfer to a brand new place, you strive to slot in and Rahul was no totally different. “In popular culture, the brown man is all the time the IT chap, the sidekick — by no means the principle function,” he says, including that although the state of affairs is altering now, it isn’t quick sufficient. “I wished to slot in so unhealthy I modified my accent, regardless of with the ability to sing effectively.”
“I can’t identify a single brown artiste who sings in English,” says Rahul. “I feel it’s as a result of Western tradition appears to be like on the Indian accent as a foul factor and we ourselves take a look at it in that context. Most artistes, similar to ABBA and myself as effectively, go together with an American accent as it’s somewhat generic.”
“I want I didn’t have to do this. I’d inform folks I went to a global college in India with lots of American children, that’s why I’ve an American accent. However now, I’m sincere about my accent as a result of I don’t need one other child who comes right here to really feel compelled to do the identical factor.”
Collaboration with Zach Nahome
Rahul started working with producer Zach Nahome quickly after the success of ‘No person’ in 2021. It was Nahome, who has labored with different standard UK-based artistes similar to Slowthai, Bakar and PinkPantheress amongst others, who urged Rahul to inform his story.
“Zach inspired me to inform folks ‘the place you’re from and what you’re making an attempt to attain’.” And I realised I didn’t come all this technique to not be genuine. It gave me the arrogance to be open and sincere about my music.”
Although Rahul was born in Bengaluru and grew up listening to Western music along with his mother and father, as a household they hail from Kerala. “I didn’t take heed to lots of Indian music as a baby, however my grandmother used to sing to me on a regular basis. I felt as an alternative of utilizing ‘bhangra’ beats or different typical Indian stylings, I’d use my grandmother’s voice / tune in my music.”
‘At all times Be Me’ with the vocal stylings of Rahul’s grandmother, Yamuna Bhai, is a part of his recently-released nine-track EP, A Area Between Orange and Blue. The EP which got here out on June 2 has garnered over 500k hits on varied streaming platforms since then.
“I’m not British, I’m Indian and the concept behind ‘A Area Between Orange and Blue’ is that whenever you add orange and blue collectively you get brown. Orange stands for the colors that make the Karnataka flag and blue for the British one. I do know there are lots of artistes making English music in India proper now, however they need to be capable to do it globally as effectively.”
“I feel it’d be so cool to have an Indian woman band,” he provides.
Speaking about his stage identify, Rahul says he was googling names in several languages when he got here throughout ‘Renao,’ which is Chinese language for “vigorous or bustling”. “That’s how I wished my work to be so I took it up as my stage identify. In addition to Rahul is kind of frequent in India now — I do know two different Indian artistes with the identical identify,” he laughs.
As a songwriter, Rahul believes his greatest work and inspiration come from experiencing life. “I want to have the ability to dwell my life so as to have the ability to make the music I need to.”