An Interview with Tripura’s Kokborok Rap Sensation Zwinglee Debbarma
Today we have launched our new blogging feature and a lot of other features has also included in our website Borok TV starting from today.We are really happy to have you on board for this very first interview in our network. So without any further delay lets straight go the interview questions.
🙂 🙂 😀 To…. be frank you will need to answer a lot today. hahaha 😀 So lets goo…
Do you play any instrument?
ZwingLee: I use a Midi Keyboard for music production.
When and why did you start playing?
ZwingLee: I started recording vocals since 2010 and then came a point where I did not have any beat or money to pay to Music producers, so I thought why
not put my fingers to work for my own Record. And that’s when I started Producing probably around 2014.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
ZwingLee: At present, I like J Cole, Kendrick, Logic, Big Sean, Drake, and the list goes on,
and in the Asian scenario, I like Keith Ape, OKAsian and KOHH.
Did you have a mentor?
ZwingLee: No I didn’t. But I used to record my demo tapes and send it to Kabir, he used to produce
for Borkung at that time. I tell you, he is a kind of person who is very hard to impress.
SO he tells me to work hard every time, which means I am still not perfect and so I kept doing my thing.
And here I am today, sitting and giving you this interview. (hahaha)
Were you influenced by other artists from the same domain?
ZwingLee: Hell Yes!! Definitely, I am. My journey to get in the studio was a dream. My friend offered me a CD with Eminem’s songs and I was amazed of how he was delivering his verses. At the same time, I used to freestyle when I was in School. My friends used to play some drum sample on the desk with his hands inside my classroom and
I would be free styling and stuff. But the moment of truth came when I was in Guwahati, an afternoon, where my friend was playing random songs. After some time he played a song by Borkung Hrangkhawl. I didn’t believe him at first that it was a song done by a person from Tripura, in fact from my own District, just a couple of miles away from my house.
That’s when it got to my mind that if a person from Tripura can go to the studio and record. I can also record.
Now I keep my ears open to a different artist and listening to real good artist really inspires me to make a better song.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
ZwingLee: Look confident that’s all you got to do so that even mistakes look like your style. But it is very rare because you know there are a lot of practices that happen behind the scene.
Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
ZwingLee: No I don’t get nervous before any performance. But I hate competitions that shake my nerves. There was once where I was in a competition and trying to do the song well, I forgot the lyrics. Every artist has their own style but in
a competition, an artist has to do impress the judge by doing stuff which the judge like and you are not being you. That’s what I feel.
What advice would you give to beginners?
ZwingLee: I would refer them my recording process which is:
vi. Repeat step I to vi till the song sounds really good.
Vii. Call your friends for feedback.
How often do you practice?
ZwingLee: Every Moment. Every Day. I just don’t stop my brain from taking my focus away from thinking about lyrics and rhythm.
I manage to write at least 2-4 lines at least every day.
What does it take to become a rapper in this current age?
ZwingLee: Determination and Persistence to be real or you will sound like any other TOm, Dick and Harry (hahaha).
And how to stand out from the rest?
ZwingLee: Be real and also finding your own style. Because, if you have your own style you will ultimately stand out from the crowd.
But if you are like any other artist out there, You are just another random artist whom people will forget in time.
What do you like most in the RAP segment of music?
ZwingLee: The Expression. You can show your love, hatred, aggression…. Name it, Rap can express and make you feel the existence of emotion.
What skills/personal attributes is important to being successful in RAP?
ZwingLee: RAP is short for Rhythm and Poetry. You should be a poet with the ability to write lyrics with metaphors, similes, punchlines, etc.At the same time, you should not forget the rhythm and how to flow like a water on the beat. You see water takes the shape of any container,Rhythm in RAP should be like that.
How do you cope up with people that view your songs as offensive and unethical?
ZwingLee: Well, look RAP has always been competitive. And people who take it as offensive and unethical has never heard of real RAP, all they heard is pop rap. And you know I represent the real RAP culture, so it doesn’t matter to me because at the end of the day people who listen to my songs are always listening to me and I am leading them to the real path unlike the fake ones who doesn’t even probably know where RAP culture originated from.
Given the nature of your songs that questions administrations and social injustice?
ZwingLee: RAP is always aggressive. Artists like the NWA, Wu-Tang Clan have always raised questions about the system. RAP is being real and standing up for what is right and I have seen my people suffer a lot, so my songs talk about my struggle and my people in my state.
What are the typical mistakes people make when trying to pursue this career?
ZwingLee: Not being themselves.
OK, Let’s take a short break here…
We will continue our next session after a while.