Bohemia – the name is a trend setter in his own genre and has a vast array of followers.
He is one of the best rappers in the world and distinguishes himself from others due to his unique style. Where most of the rap is usually in English , Bohemia raps effortlessly in Punjabi and that is what differentiates him from the other rappers.
Born in Karachi, as Roger David, Bohemia migrated to America along with his family when he was in his early teens . Soon after migration , he lost his mother and that is what changed his life totally.
This globally recognized Punjabi writer gained fame with his debut album ‘Vich Pardesan De’. He was recently in Sydney for his concert and shared his experiences and opinion about desi rap music.
“I started writing poetry at a very young age. I think I was just 10 or 11 when I wrote my first verses in Urdu . I always liked to read poets very carefully and used to wonder as how they describe different things related to life so efficiently in just few lines. They always motivated me and I started describing my life in my own verses,” says Bohemia.
Recalling his struggle while adjusting to the new country , where even language was alien to him , Bohemia said, “Soon after migrating to America, my mom passed away and that was the turning point of my life. I left my home and started living on the streets . There I started playing with some musicians and that was the start of my musical journey,” he adds.
Recollecting his memories from the days of his struggle, he added “ Once I was very hungry and had just 25 cents with me. I bought chewing gum with that and resisted my hunger. Life was really tough to me at times, but I fought back. I am proud that now I have a house on the streets where once I was a homeless. So, it was a great achievement for me ,” he adds.
“My journey was quite tough. There was a time , when I was working on my website (www.thepunjabirapper.com) and I was not having money to hire a programmer , but website was a necessity, so I learnt coding and made that website. I am my web master,” he says confidently .
He is his own designer as well and has never hired a designer.
“I have designed my own CD covers and even my logos are my own designs which I have designed using Photoshop. I love doing my work.”
Bohemia says that he is inspired by many people in his life.
“ My poetry is inspired by Fiaz Ahmed Fiaz , Mirza Ghalib and many such poets of that era. I am also inspired by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, A R Rehman and other great personalities like them. Everyone has some uniqueness and they inspire me differently. Those who are ardent fans of Fiaz Ahmed Fiaz or Mirza Ghalib can also relate as how my work is inspired by those great writers”.
Explaining the meaning of his name he said, “ Bohemia is a French word and is very commonly accepted as the description of certain kind of literary gypsy, no matter what language he speaks , or what city he inhabits and I am one of them.”
Bohemia generally dresses himself in black and has a genuine reason behind it.
“Rapping is not just about donning an outfit and wearing chains. Jewelry , colored clothes , beanies, fashion etc have nothing to do with music, so I prefer to be dressed up simply and I just concentrate on my work.”
Speaking about his musical journey , Bohemia says, “ My music is my mentality and my style. I don’t listen to music much. I know music because I stated learning music at a very young age.”
About rapping he says, “ Rap music is different from other music forms. It is the way you feel a thing and then you write on it . To be a rapper needs rigorous efforts . My lyrics are basically my messages which I want to reach the masses.”
“ Young generation likes rapping , so if you want your message to reach them , rapping is the best way,” he adds.
“Rapping for me is the expression of my own self. You give words to your life. Now many new rappers are coming up and it is good in certain way, but they need to understand that mere listening to rap music and singing along the lyrics won’t train them as a rapper. Rapping is not even just saying some random lyrics.,” he adds.
For his young fans he says, “I am happy that many new youngsters are trying their fate in rapping .There are many things which can distract the young generation but writing raps keep them busy. But concentrate on what you are doing , only then you will succeed.”