You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
Borkung Hrangkhawl aka BK is all set to make it to the big league like Justin Bieber, PSY (Gangnam Style) or say Dhanush (Kolaveri Di) in India who became household name after uploading their video in YouTube.
For a beginner it’s not bad at all to open for Hoobstank, an American band best known for their hit like ‘The Reason’ who were here in Shillong recently. “It was an amazing experience in front of amazing crowd,” says Borkung Hrangkhawl who is the latest YouTube sensation. His first song ‘The Roots (Chini Haa)’ is going strong with 125,585 hits and second one ‘’ which he uploaded six months back has already generated 1,145, 926 hits to be precise and still counting, making him one of the very few independent musicians from the country to have achieved such a feat. Never in his wildest dream did he think that he will get the fame so fast. Neither did he have any musical background but he is from a land of musical talents like father-son duo Sachin Dev Burman and Rahul Dev Burman and Indian Idol-4 winner Sourabhee Debbarma. Just like any other normal kid he came to Delhi for higher studies and to make something out of his life. Doesn’t matter what is the reason but he is here to stay.
“I started writing my own songs and rapping when I was in 7th standard that was in the year 2000. My friends were surprised when I showed them my lyrics and even more amazed when they heard me rap,” says the rapper. Interestingly, it was not the musicians he listened that inspired him but his father Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl who is the President of The Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (Tripura). “I take inspiration from my father who has dedicated his life for the upliftment of people in Tripura. When I came to Delhi and started performing in clubs, people liked it and asked where I was from. I told them that I was from northern-eastern state Tripura. I realized this is how I am going to represent my people, send out my message.” His song The Journey is sung in English, Hindi and Kokborok (dialect of Triprasas) and The Roots – Chini Haa, it has nothing to do with sugar or China but it means ‘our land’ in Kokborok. “I believe that through songs we can bring social awareness and lots of changes because music is one medium where we can literally convey ones message and make people aware of what’s happening in the world. Above that, music is the only language that doesn’t restrict in any caste, race, creed etc.”
BK started his career with Delhi based hip-hop band DropSquad which was signed by Times Music after they won talent hunt Supastars from the north zone round in 2010. Till now he has worked with three bands and started doing solos recently. Looking back to his early days, “I was doing graduation in English from Delhi University and side by side performing in the clubs and local events. It was tough job balancing between my hobby and study. But if you love something, you somehow find a way out of it. Once I wasn’t allowed to enter a club by bouncers as they thought that I was underage and I had to convince them that I was there to perform.” Not just that, he has a wonderful experience to share about how these videos happened. “Well I am very fortunate that I met right people at the right time. I didn’t have to worry much about everything as it was taken care by CoreConxept Music. We didn’t plan anything but just took auto-rickshaw, travelled around the city, shooting video randomly, and just having fun. But the end result was like it was done professionally,” laughs the 26 years old musician. If you give a second look at the video of ‘The Roots’, one can see his friend-cum-manager Kabir Jamatia and other friends standing behind randomly. Now he has started working on third music video ‘Free’ and very soon will be coming out with an album before the end of the year.
“When we uploaded these videos we didn’t had much expectation but to our amazement we got a good response even from abroad. Best day of my life will be when I will represent Tripura, north-east and India to the world.” Though his job is to sing the words nonstop but by nature he is a man of not many words. To which he happily explains, “I am kind of shy guy but once on stage, I am a different person, I am a performer. I am there to entertain.” When asked about his marriage which happened few months back he went into his silent-mode and shyly says, “Yes, I am married.” Or is he playing safe with his female fans out there, only he knows!
Interestingly this guy is not trained but self taught musician. “I did my schooling from Shillong and there I was exposed to all sorts of music. I grew up listening to all genres of music – pop, rock, alternative rock, jazz, blues etc. We should never confine our musical taste rather keep on exploring new stuffs. Bands like Boomrang, Magdalene, The Mangals, and solo performers like Michael M Sailo, G’nie, Pikolo, and Jackal, they are doing great with their music.” And he thinks that if he was not in this profession then he could have been ended up as a teacher, “after all I am teaching, giving out message through my music.”
He is fortunate that his family was always on his side. “My folks support me a lot but they think that making it big in music is a tough nut to crack. Even I didn’t have much expectation initially but it was thrilling to see hits increasing every single day. Though my parents didn’t get the idea of getting hits or viewed in YouTube. Therefore, I am waiting for something big to happen like signing a contract and show them that.” And very good thing about him is that he knows where he is standing right now and what he wants to do. “To step into music industry is a very challenging journey indeed. So in order to reach my goal I guess I have to be very persistent and dedicated in what I do. After five years if it is God’s will, I would like to see my songs in Billboard Music Awards and getting few awards like Grammy’s and VMA’S. Let’s see!” Way to go mate.
(Published in Society August ’13, Page No. 38)