While Gully Boy strengthened Ranveer Singh’s position in Bollywood, it also opened doors for Naezy, aka Naved Shaikh, the original gully boy.
The 25-year-old underground rapper, who shot to fame with his song “Mere Gully Mein”, recently performed at the grand launch of Rising Star. The live singing reality show is all set with its third season. Hosted by Aditya Narayan, Rising Star will be judged by Shankar Mahadevan, Neeti Mohan and Diljit Dosanjh.
At the sidelines of the event, Naezy sat down for an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com where he spoke about reality shows, the rise of rapping and Gully Boy 2.
Excerpts from the conversation:
The title of Rising Star quite resonates with you and your journey. Was that the reason you associated with the show?
Absolutely. The whole concept of the show that janta uthata hai deewar, tab jaa ke banta hai Rising Star is very relatable to me. I am who I am today only because of the love of the audience. It was their love that helped me cross all barriers. I also enjoy watching the show for its talent.
Didn’t you ever feel the need to participate in a reality show?
Honestly, I was very apprehensive about everything. Also, the way reality shows are presented, I did not have too much trust. I had this keeda in me that I wanted to do everything myself. I wanted to prove myself without anyone’s aid, resource or platform. My journey may have inspired many to do things themselves but at the same time, a reality show definitely brings a lot of exposure.
If I had something like Rising Star when I started, my career would have been different. The scale is huge. They have such big names as judges and it is on a popular GEC at prime time. Whoever comes on the show can reach out to a lot of people. So, artists, who don’t know where do they showcase their talent, reality shows are a good option for them.
Now that you are a popular star if given a chance, would you like to judge a reality show?
Yes, why not. I think it would be interesting to do it.
Gully Boy has definitely brought you a lot of recognition. How do you plan to make the most of it?
I think right now my prime focus is to stay consistent. We are planning a lot of things – there are releases, collaborations in the pipeline. I think what the audience has given us is unbelievable. And so, I need to be more responsible towards them. I can’t just go about doing anything random. I want to give them the best.
As you speak of collaboration, how important is it for artists to associate with others?
One needs to create a balance. Collaboration is really important as it helps you reach a wider audience. But one has to continue producing singles as you need to create an identity, your own style.
The film has also given rise to many new rappers in the country. What do you have to say about the trend?
I think it is a really good thing. The hip hop scene is finally building up. But yes, the cons are that now a rapper is being created in every corner. There are some who are forcefully getting into rapping assuming that they too will have the same journey as me. I would want to tell them that don’t do it if you don’t have the talent and passion. Find your true calling and pursue that.
Also, I must add here that people have finally realised what hip hop is all about. There was a huge misconception that rapping is all about cars, alcohol or girls. And I feel glad that I am part of this movement. We have finally educated the audience and now it is time to take this ahead.
You must be also getting many offers from Bollywood?
Yes, I am. But I want to stay away from Bollywood for some time. I want to focus on my music. Also, with films, they would want you to create music their way. I will love to do a few tracks for films but I am primarily focusing on my own content.
Lastly Naezy, Zoya Akhtar recently confirmed that she is working on a sequel of Gully Boy. Since you were missing from the first part, will you be interested now?
Of course, I would love to be a part of Gully Boy 2.
Starting March 16, Rising Star will air Saturday-Sunday, 9 pm on Colors