Raja Kumari, AKA Svetha Rao, has managed to capture the nation’s attention with her slick rap, music videos, and beats that are unlike any other. The Grammy-nominated Indian-American rapper-singer-songwriter-dancer Raja Kumari from Claremont, California, discovered hip hop at a tender age and went on to create a brand of music that’s wild, unique, and empowering — though she raps in English, her songs, embedded in her cultural roots, feature Indian beats.
Raja Kumari’s music is modern yet raw, her songs all about staying true to oneself, understanding identity, and being authentic in a world that likes to stereotype. The classical Bharatanatyam dancer regularly performs to packed audiences and has many accolades under her belt, including being nominated for a Grammy, and writing and collaborating with some of the world’s best musicians, including Iggy Azalea, Fifth Harmony, and Gwen Stefani. Another standout facet: Her personal style, which is a distinct blend of streetwear peppered with Indian jewellery.
Lifestyle Asia India reached out to Raja Kumari to get all the cool recommendations on how to live ‘the good life’
What would you call ‘the good life’ as of today?
Raja Kumari: Being surrounded by friends and family, creating memories, and being at peace with yourself. The good life has been mostly self-care and spending the time to learn about things like dry brushing, saunas, water intake, and natural remedies I can use to nourish myself and my body. I like putting strawberries in my water — that’s the good life.
How has this idea changed for you over the past three months?
Raja Kumari: I was chasing ‘the good life’ in ways that weren’t deeply fulfilling; they were only surface level. After some personal reflection and growth, I’ve learnt how to find internal peace in ways that help me, and not [by] trying to please everyone around me. I’m spending more time with nature and enjoy the rhythm and timing of it. Going to see a river, spending time alone with nature has influenced my music and brought new inspiration to my art, and I’m excited about the future.
Any activities that you have pursued in the past three months, to create ‘the good life’ for yourself?
RK: I’ve been finding the good life in a lot of personal activities. I became vegan and started studying astrology. I’ve been practising meditation and learning the power of breathwork and how proper breathing can have such an effect on your outlook. Things like yoga and sound healing have been incredibly helpful, and I’ve also adopted a new dog, Tara, who has been keeping me company during quarantine.
In the music industry, you can get swept up in a lot of the devils that can accompany levels of celebrity, and I’ve found peace in meditation, yoga, sound healing, and more.
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For the first installment of the #PEACEPROJECT, I sat down with George Ramsay @thebreathworks to discuss how important breathing can be to finding your own personal PEACE. George is an expert when it comes to breathwork, and you can see some of his work as well as book a session on his channel. I felt so incredible after this! 4-7-8 Breath is so simple and Easy!
What does a typical ‘good life’ day look like?
RK: Waking up, practising yoga, writing music, studying ancient history, and playing with Tara in the garden.
Your ‘Good Life’ recommendations for the following.
RK: A wellness tip/routine you follow: Drink one gallon of water a day
Fitness routine that has worked for you: Yoga
Restaurants you love to order in from: Cactus Taqueria, Badmaash in downtown LA
Beauty routine that works for you: Ice cube on my face to close pores
Places you are looking to travel once you can: Maldives
Gadgets and apps that make your life easier: Headspace and Insight Timer
What have you started doing about sustainability or the environment?
RK: I’ve stopped using single-use plastic and also started composting.
Self-care, self-love – what does this mean to you?
RK: These are incredibly important topics. In order to love someone else fully, you have to learn to love yourself. This can come through positive self-affirmations, and learning to embrace the skin you’re in.
Has the lockdown/pandemic made reassess your priorities? If yes, how?
RK: Certainly – I’ve definitely made time to focus more on family and friends, and being able to re-connect with them on more personal levels.
Is there anyone you would like to emulate, someone you look up to when it comes to living the good life?
RK: My mother.
What’s your main goal/focus this year in creating the good life?
RK: I want to help inspire people to be comfortable in their own skin, and find their own path to the good life. Finding the good life isn’t the same for everyone, so focus on things that make you happy. Life can be enjoyable when you manifest. I want people to believe they can have good things in their life and bring good things into their life with good actions. People can re-connect by self-care — conscious cooking, meditation, and nature bathing. We shouldn’t lose our sense of community and how important art is to the community. This time doesn’t have to be darkness — it can be a time of great inspiration and renaissance for us all.
All images: Courtesy Raja Kumari