THE USA’S FIRST BOLLYWOOD POP DIVA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Elizabeth Zinar
WASHINGTON, DC – A gutsy artist, Rimi Basu, is all set to be the Indian Shakira and take North America by storm. She left medical school in Maryland 5 years ago and took herself to India to become a pop singer, and she has just returned to the US, preparing to release her newest Bollywood-electronica fusion album, a collaboration between herself and various notable world musicians and DJs and producers in the US to take a completely new approach to Bollywood music. She is working with renowned local and national DJs and producers of Electronic Dance Music including Shanta Records and ESL Music to produce the compilation. The album promises quite a bit of diversity; With Rimi rapping herself to elements of jazz, electronica, and Indian classical music, she creates a unique brand of cultural fusion that engages all types of listeners. And her trademark style of blending Indian dance with vocals in her performances has kept audiences in awe worldwide. Her immediate plans to promote the album involve a series of “Bollywood-electronica events in North America, taking advantage of the recent spike in demand for Indian and Bhangra music.
Rimi’s music is a reflection of her own life having been born and raised in the United States with a dual upbringing fusing aspects of Eastern and Western cultures. Basu has produced two albums so far in India, The Unveiling (2007) and Crossing Over (2009). She is new to the music scene in her own home town of Washington, DC, because in 2005 she withdrew from medical school and traveled to India instead, to immerse herself wholly in Indian cultural expression and to make a life of the performing arts. “I hadn’t left the US by myself in my whole life, she says. “I knew there was a world I was missing out on, and I was drawn to it. During this time, Basu roamed all over the subcontinent, from Kolkata to Bangalore to Mumbai (formerly Bombay), and ended up drifting from classical Indian music into Bollywood and “Indipop with the idea of fusing Bollywood with the Western styles she had grown up listening to.
The behemoth, glittery century-old Hindi film industry that has become known for its catchy musical scores and formulaic romantic plotlines has influenced much of the landscape of popular music in India today. In this landscape, Basu presented herself as a bit of an oddity in the release of her first album in India: an American singing subtle songs with a characteristically high-toned voice in a language she was still learning by ear. Basu was also at odds trying to navigate the entertainment world in India as a lone foreigner. “It was challenging to adapt to the working culture of India, she said of the competition, not only in terms of the vast talent pool but of the traps an ingénue to the industry must learn to step over. “People would try to take advantage of me financially and physically. It was a formative experience in that I had to learn to look out for myself and take care of myself.
She managed to adapt successfully, however. Her album performed well as a debut production, generating high demand for events all around South Asia. After returning home to begin her already-delayed plan to attend medical school, she decided to crush her parents’ dreams and quit during her first year. The performing arts were more meaningful to her, and she took this seriously. The fuzzy vision she had of becoming an Indian American fusion musician full-time seemed more realistic to her than spending her life in a conventional American middle class career. So she went back to India to study more and make more music, releasing her second album, Crossing Over.
The more you hear and speak to Rimi Basu, the more you come to understand her art as an extension of the way she takes on living: unorthodox, experimental, improvisational. And most of all, deeply visceral: what is meaningful lies in experience, and experience lies in feeling, and she draws upon whatever source, tradition, or element will allow her to feel and to impart what is meaningful. That is both her philosophy, and her style.
For more information, contact:
Your Name: Elizabeth Zinar, Open House Productions Pvt. Ltd.