"My listeners must feel connected to my songs."
Indian singer, rapper and songwriter, Arin Dez, is a promising talent who has burst onto the music scene in the hopes of sharing his incredible artistry.
As a self-taught musician, Arin has had a challenging journey so far. From the tough outskirts of Assam, India, the rapper has had to work harder than most to cultivate himself into an artist.
Dealing with stereotypical pressures, family doubt and an impoverished music scene, the singer was full of scepticism.
However, through an unparalleled amount of self-belief, dedication and understanding, Arin has managed to overcome these obstacles.
Although he is yet to establish himself as a megastar, the passion and skill that the artist possesses can surely traject him to the top.
Redefining the song with a complete Bengali version, Arin’s catchy remix managed to go viral.
Having only released the remix a day after the original, Arin’s track amazingly leapfrogged Badshah’s song with over 990,000 YouTube views.
The song has been a milestone in the musician’s career so far and is undoubtedly the reason for Arin’s quick progression.
It symbolises the vocalist’s instinct, savvy expertise and star power.
In addition, Arin is part of the electronic duo group, The Dropletz. His focus is solely on dominating the industry with innovative sounds, symphonic notes and South Asian inspired melodies.
Impressively, having taught himself the intricacies of sound engineering, music composition and musical imagery, Arin wants his music to touch the hearts of fans.
He firmly believes in music having a healing quality and admits he wants the same attractive qualities in his songs.
Taking inspiration from the culture of his Indian roots, his tracks ooze with richness. Although, it’s the hits of electric, RnB and rap which seemingly fuse together for a distinguished sound.
With already an abundance of accolades, Arin spoke exclusively with DESIblitz about his complex breakthrough, the importance of ‘Genda Phool’ and the language of music.
Could you tell us about your background?
I was born in Silchar, Assam, India but my home was located on the outskirts of the main city.
There was very little advantage for anyone who wants to build their ideal career as we had no facilities nearby where we could learn something.
I still remember when I was a kid, there was just one shop in the vicinity and for a place like this, anything other than studies is just a hobby.
I am grateful to my family as my family has an artistic background and they’ve got respect for any kind of art but I am the first one who chose to settle my career in music.
My friends used to play some western songs and I slowly developed an interest in them.
I used to hum along to those songs but I was bad at singing and days later I got introduced to rap and I felt like “yes, I can do this”.
Other than listening to rap songs, I had no further knowledge about the particular genre so I went across online forums and blogs and spent hours learning about it.
I couldn’t watch any tutorial videos as the internet connection was really slow back then.
My father used to let me read some self-help books when I was in high school and, to be honest, those books helped me to build myself.
I believed that nothing could be achieved overnight and I knew I had to spend years on a specific thing to be somewhere.
I wrote my first song in the year 2011 and kept making one after another. I believed the fact that I can only learn practically and every next song I created let me improve a little bit with it.
With no one to help me with anything, I decided to help myself and started learning music production, video editing, graphics designing, and all other technicalities including writing my songs.
“I couldn’t think of anything but to improve my skills.”
I knew I was really bad at everything when I started to learn but I also had one thing on my mind which kept me motivated, ‘the one who made the guitar, who taught him how to play it?’.
As a student, I had no budget to travel and visit recording studios so I asked my mother to get me a dynamic mic and I started to record songs at my home.
But being born in a typical Indian family, all I got to hear is to study hard and get a good job. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents so I did what they wanted me to do but never left music.
I shifted to Hyderabad and did my graduation in computer science and engineering and soon after that, I got a job at Amazon.
My family was really happy with what I have achieved so far but I wasn’t. Worked for two years in Amazon and decided to quit even though I was struggling with music.
I believed that after years of learning if I finally get a chance to continue music full time, I can fulfill my dream as I got one life and I don’t want to die with regrets.
My musical journey was not so easy, coming out from a place like that and getting recognised by the world is something that cannot happen without dedication and patience.
Now if I compare to what I was and what I have become, all I can do is just smile as I still have more to achieve.
How did your love for music begin?
As a kid, I was interested in painting so I joined fine arts at the age of eight but as the years passed by I started to catch more interest in music but had no knowledge about it.
My elder sister is also a classically trained singer so I asked her if she could teach me something.
The next day she started my home classes but I couldn’t learn much other than just playing some keys in harmonium, as my interest was more in western music than Indian classical.
So, I kept listening to as many songs as I can and was fascinated with the fact how different genres carry different emotions.
“I felt that music is the only thing that can change one’s emotion within seconds, it’s like art that heals.”
I started to observe every other song I listened to and study how the artist writes the lines, sings the notes, puts all the emotions on the song, and many other things like that.
Then I started to gain more and more interest in music.
I never knew that I would take music full time and to be honest, I have no idea how all this happened.
I didn’t choose music for the fame but as a means to share the emotion and stories I have within me and I kept continuing and things have changed.
You’re a self-taught musician. What part of the creative process do you enjoy the most?
Well, I love the whole process of creating a song because each part is equally important for the final output.
But I mostly enjoy composing the melodies and writing the lyrics as I make sure that I come up with something that has never been done before and my listeners must feel connected to my songs.
I believe that creativity is something that is unique, as it comes from the creative side of your mind and not from anywhere else.
I am mostly a night person so I usually write my songs late at night. I love to get in the character and dig out the lines for my new piece.
My listeners often ask me how none of my songs is similar to each other and I tell them that I don’t want to put a threshold on my creations.
I create my songs based on a particular emotion and I love to explore and try my best to create something unique.
What instruments do you like and why?
If I have to choose I would say piano because of how it makes me feel with each note of the keys when a piece is being played.
“I love how the sound of it always calms my soul.”
Another reason why I like the piano is I mostly do my productions on DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
So, I use a MIDI Keyboard for the production which helps me to produce the desired sound of any instrument.
I love the fact how we can use a single keyboard and generate the sound of all the instruments just with the plugins. It’s really interesting.
Which artists have influenced you and why?
The first-ever song that sparked my mind was ‘Smack That’ by Akon and Eminem.
That was also the very first song I learned to impress my friends at school but I cannot say that it has influenced me enough because, I was influenced by the beauty of the music, not by any artists.
I was captivated by how something so musical can make someone feel so different and that’s the fact I have done music in multiple languages i.e in English, Hindi, Bengali, Sylheti, and Telugu.
Also in multiple genres like rap, pop, RnB, Bollywood, and many others.
As I told earlier that I started my career as a rapper but I kept practicing to develop my singing capabilities as I always wanted to create songs based on different moods and emotions.
It took me years to finally be able to sing on the scale and hit every note but I am glad that now I can explore more genres and create sounds of my choice.
What makes your sound so unique?
I always make sure if my listeners would be able to relate to my songs. I don’t and cannot just make songs out of the blue about anything.
My way of coming up with a song is solely based on what I witness and what I feel and I also keep in consideration if the same will be relatable enough for my listeners.
“I believe that the prime thing in a song is the feelings.”
Anybody who is trained can sing but not everybody who is trained can give feelings to the song.
I make sure that I get into the character of the song and give my best and put all the feelings required for it to sound perfect.
Also, while creating a new sound, I make sure it’s new so that my listeners would get to listen to something new and fresh and a secret about my composition is I don’t put any genre barrier to my creation.
I just dive deep into the feelings to create something that will make the audience relate to the song.
What was the motivation behind the ‘Genda Phool’ remix?
I have released multiple originals before I came up with the ‘Genda Phool’ remix but those songs didn’t get the amount of traction compared to the work I put in.
One day I saw my friends sharing stories on their WhatsApp about the song ‘Genda Phool’ by Badshah.
It was on the day of the release, then I went to YouTube to watch the song and I found something interesting.
The song portrayed Bengali culture in the video where Jacqueline Fernandez dressed up in a Bengali traditional saree and also the chorus was from a very popular Bengali folk song.
Then I noticed the comment section where a lot of Bengalis were detesting the rap lyrics.
I don’t know what hit my mind and being a Bengali speaker I felt like doing a remake of the song in completely Bengali language.
I started with creating the music. As it was just a few hours of the release the chords of the song were not available on the internet but my years of practice came in handy.
It didn’t take much time for me to listen and create something similar to the original.
Then I started writing the lyrics, I kept it simple yet catchy and it took me just around six hours of continuous work to get the remake done along with a performance video.
I released it the very next day, it was the second content on ‘Genda Phool’ other than the original by Badshah, and then everything was really surprising.
The very next day my inbox was flooded and I woke to see that my song is everywhere.
It was on Facebook pages with lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of views, on TikTok with thousands of videos made on, and the view count on YouTube was gradually increasing.
Can you tell us how life has changed since that song?
As I already mentioned, I started making music in 2011 and it has been years since I was into music but was receiving very little push in my career.
I was even scared to take music full-time but somewhere I had a belief in myself that my love for music would surely get me somewhere somehow.
So I quit my job and decided to do only music even though I was struggling but I wanted to do what makes me happy.
I have a crew, The Dropletz, it’s a duo of me and my friend, Satya Anvesh, who goes by the stage name as ‘Fleep’.
Initially, we received a lot of live shows around Hyderabad then the pandemic took place and all the shows got cancelled.
Live shows were my only means of income after I quit my job and I had to go through a lot of crises.
“I was almost on the edge of starting a corporate life again but then my remix went viral.”
It received lakhs of views within days and everybody was talking about it and spreading it everywhere, also a surprising thing happened where Badshah himself commented and appreciated my work.
My parents who used to snap at me for singing all the time during my high school finally felt proud of me.
My relatives who shouted at me while quitting my job had nothing to say.
Back in the days, I used to post my songs on TikTok but they barely used to receive a few hundred views but then a total of 120k+ videos were made on my song.
I was overwhelmed, I gained a fresh motivation and started believing in the words faith, patience, and dedication.
The success of this song has changed my point of view and motivated me enough to further continue my musical career and also gave me a lot of exposure.
Being a kid from such a small town it was always a dream to be known by millions of people and I am glad that I made my people proud.
I then started to receive a lot of contracts and my songs also got featured on multiple news articles and radio stations within and outside of the country.
Like Times of India, Radio City, Rolling Stone India, All India Radio, BBC Asian Radio, NWCZ radio, and many others.
My and my mate Fleep then set up our studio and started receiving continuous projects since then.
I read it somewhere, ‘nothing good comes easy’ and I finally experienced it.
It took me years to get here and now I can’t deviate my career as the love and support I am receiving from my people and my listeners are not just love but trust that I can achieve more heights.
Now it’s not just me believing in myself but thousands of others too.
What difficulties have you encountered as a South Asian artist?
In South Asia music is directly or indirectly connected to Bollywood so, to make an ideal career with music is hard.
Here, talent is easily neglected unless you make it big all by yourself. So, the initial journey to do it all by myself was quite tough.
Also, a stereotypic thought of Indian parents to pursue nothing but the corporate job has also been a problem for me to think about my career blatantly.
I even thought of quitting music in 2014 because I was not able to balance my studies and music simultaneously but then I realised why I started it and gave time to both, side by side.
I didn’t want to see my parents shattering their dreams, they wanted me to be an engineer and after I became one I became what I wanted to be i.e. a musician.
The journey wasn’t so easy and only I know how I am feeling right now while I’m saying all these things to you.
What would you say to other budding Desi artists?
The only thing that I can say is, never lose hope. We never know when what takes place. Keep doing what you love to do and everything takes time.
All we need to have is a little bit of patience and belief in ourselves.
I still wonder if I’d quit music in 2014 I wouldn’t have been sitting in this place and giving this interview and sharing my experience with you all.
“I would also like to add that never do any kind of art for your exposure.”
Do things with love, create things with love and people will definitely feel connected and related to what you create and exposure will follow you along.
What would be the dream goal in Arin Dez’s career?
As a human we all know our goals are never static, we always want more to happen and achieve.
As of now, I am actually living my dream which I used to secretly dream for as a kid.
Living a stress-free life, doing what I love to do, having my own studio and lots of people loving me and knowing me for my music.
Yet if I have to add something from the milestones that I have to meet that would be to see my crew The Dropletz touring around the world and the crowd sing along with our performances.
I never cared about what I will get out of doing music but so far life has been a crazy ride and I am happy with how far I have come.
What future projects can you tell us about?
Right now from my crew, we are working on our new single ‘Saavan’. The track is in Hindi and will probably release by this month (September 2021). It’s a romantic number.
Other than that I have quite a lot of upcoming collaborations with artists from India, London, and the USA.
Also, a song titled ‘Kothay Tumi?’ (which translates to ‘Where are you?’ in Bengali) which I recorded almost a year back but I feel now is the right time to release the song.
So yeah! A lot of releases ahead and a lot to work on.
I hope we’ll stay in touch so, you can give a listen to my upcoming songs and join me on my journey.
It is clear to see how captivated Arin is by music and how he transcends this desire into his songs.
Fans have been astonished by the speed of musicians rise, but are equally in awe of the creativity and elegance that Arin brings to the industry.
His multilingual abilities and fusion of Desi and western influences is a difficult recipe to accomplish but Arin has mastered it effortlessly.
His versatile raps and airy vocals have received immense praise from DJ Bobby Friction, Times of India and even Rolling Stones India.
It’s inspiring to see how Arin has grinded and worked his way to the top, despite all the confusion and doubt that has been thrown at him.
Now, with multiple triumphs under his name and inevitable hits within his catalogue, the talented artist is ready to continue his upwards trajectory.
Listen to Arin Dez’s dazzling projects here.