Aaradhna Singer Putting NZ R&B Scene On Notice
In 2016, Aaradhna Patel put NZ’s R&B scene on notice with her fourth LP, Brown Girl, going to number one and her refusal to accept the award for Best Hip-Hop Artist at this year’s Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. In an interview with Tarisai Ngangura from music and culture publication The Fader Aaradhna spoke about her album.
“Brown Girl is Aaradhna’s most introspective album yet, exploring her personal experiences as a mixed race New Zealander of Samoan and Indian descent. Through this, as well as stories about love and bravery, Patel creates a way to connect with young women and girls who feel judged, scrutinized, and hindered by stereotypes attached to their non-white skin,” writes Ngangura.
Patel told the magazine that she was being judged for coming from two different cultures.
I was “seen as not Indian enough, or not Samoan enough,” she said. “I always knew who I was and continued embracing my roots.”
When asked how she got started as a musician she said:
“In 2002, I saved up some cash from my job stacking bundles at the newspaper factory. I bought me a mic and a bunch of blank cassettes and recorded homemade demo tapes using the overdubbing method and the two decks on the family stereo.”
“I sent the demos to an indie label called Dawnraid Entertainment,’ that was run by Polynesians who were going against the grain and making a name for themselves in New Zealand. One of the CEO’s, Brotha D, came to my hometown of Porirua, Wellington and was getting his hair braided by my auntie, and my family put me on the spot and told me to sing. He arranged for me to record in a proper studio, and after that I was given the opportunity to spread my music everywhere I could.”
On her refusal to accept the VNZMA the singer, who has built a steady fanbase writing soulful, personal songs for three albums that have all gone on to become top 20 hits on the New Zealand charts, said:
“To me urban is not a genre but a boxed term used for people of color, and the only genre represented was hip hop and I’m not a hip hop artist. Being placed in that category was unfair to me as an R&B artist, and also unfair to the hip-hop artists I was placed with. Our music is different and deserves separate categories.”
Article Source: The Fader, Tarisai Ngangura, December 8, 2016
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