Hard Kaur, born as Taran Kaur Dhillon, seems to have moved into the celebrity league with her songs for Bollywood films, including “Singh Is King”, “Kismet Konnection” and “Bachna Haseena” . She says she took up “gladly”. After struggling for more than a decade in the male dominated music industry, her journey seems to be taking a turn for the better. .
Excerpts from a conversation with the rapper: What took you to the U.K. as a child and what problems did you encounter there as an Indian immigrant?
I was born in India but unfortunately a few years after my birth my father died in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. My mother wanted a better future for us so she remarried and we shifted to the U.K. I was not able to speak English then and somehow I wanted to come out of it. I was getting bullied because I didn’t have the English accent. To avoid this, most of the time I used to stick with the girls at my school who liked me for who I was and didn’t judge me as an Indian girl.
Many feel you have an edge in Bollywood since you are the only female rapper who is so successful. What difference do you find in singing lyrics and rapping?
Rapping is not that straightforward; there is melody and key involved, so it’s completely a different vocal technique. One can go to singing school and learn singing but in rapping you have to create everything of your own and practice the timing well. The culture of rap music is all about expressing your opinion. Each time you write, you have to be original and different; you can’t keep writing about similar things like in the case of songs. It is difficult to rhyme what you have written and that has to fit into a beat and melody.
When you arrived in the U.K., Hip Hop was considered a man’s territory. How did you get exposed to this world? In my school at lunch time I used to sit with the black and Indian girls. They always used to discover different dancing styles, like reggae and hip hop. Slowly and gradually, I fell in love with Hip Hop music and by that time I could speak sufficient English. Then I bought some albums of artists like Wu-tang Clan, Keith Murray and started listening to them, and to explore some more I started researching the world of Hip Hop.
And how do you find Hip Hop in India today?
I don’t know actually how many understand Hip Hop in the real sense but yes, I find some amazing talents who are doing their thing for India. But still many people here are finding it difficult to mould creativity in a different way.
What criteria do you consider for the success of a music artist?
Talent is the foremost requirement for grabbing a hold in the music industry; one should stay dedicated and strong. Don’t listen to anyone saying you can’t do something. If you have talent, believe in your talent, you will go up. Don’t trust anybody in the business and never let anything ever affect your career. I have been a little less selective over the years as a music artist but that proved unfavourable for me, so people, especially music artists, should be selective because not everyone you help helps you! I was not from a rich background and neither did my father have a big company, so if I could make it then anybody can do so.