Alpha Singh, a young hip hop artist from Chicago started his journey into rap from a young age. A talented Punjabi-American rapper, he debuted his album ‘The Saga Continues’ in May 2012. The album includes a wide range of hip hop styles, while the content focuses primarily on his pride for his culture and personal reflection on his life.
Now 17, Alpha plans to perform at the Lions Roar 5 Festival in Toronto on June 8th. Before that, I catch up with Alpha Singh for a Q and A.
Tell us a bit about yourself? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Chicago and at the time we lived in a small house on the edge of the city. After a couple years my family moved out to the suburbs in a small town called Lake Zurich, which is where I currently live.
What inspired you to be a rapper?
When I was 15 I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. Back then I was into Rock music and it never occurred to me that I would really like hip-hop. I started listening to Humble the Poet and Hoodini, only because they were Sikh artists and it was something I hadn’t seen yet. I think that’s really where it all started. I downloaded Hoodini’s “A California Classic” and I don’t think I stopped playing it for an entire month. After that I started writing on my own, putting out songs, and here I am 2 years later.
Who are your musical influences?
As I said, Hoodini and Humble the Poet were huge influences, but I really like to listen to all types of music. Specifically in Hip-Hop I really look up to artists like Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, & Logic.
You say that your music reflects the events within your own life and learning what it means to really grow up and be real. How do you feel you convey that in your rapping?
My music really reflects how I feel at certain times because I primarily make tracks with a certain emotion in mind. Music isn’t something I ever force myself to do. Whether I feel angry, sad, or happy, writing lyrics is just something I like doing to express those emotions. So in that aspect, my music really illustrates a picture of my life and how I feel at a certain time.
Do you find that your music reaches out to different ethnic groups?
I really hope so. I’ve grown up in a mostly Caucasian community and it was really tough in middle school trying to fit in. I do my best to take the best of both cultures that I experience. I think the mixed cultures clearly reflect in my music and it really allows all listeners to be able to understand the message I’m trying to convey.
With yourself and fellow Brown Chicagoan rapper Rex, do you see more South Asian Chicagoans rapping in the near future?
I’m not really sure. With the exception of Shinda, who I’ve had the pleasure of working with several times, I don’t really know of many other Indian-American artists from our area. I really do hope to see more “brown rappers” hit the scene, but as of now there aren’t that many.
Have you considered crossing over into bhangra music and providing rap verses over bhangra beats?
I never really considered it, but I’d love to try it out and see how it sounds. I’m always down for trying new things in music.
You plan to perform at the Lions Roar 5 Festival in Toronto on June 8th. Tell us more about the festival.
I personally think Lions Roar is an amazing festival. It’s a place where Sikhs from around the world can come together as a community. This year they’re hosting several different events, including the main concert at the Dreams Convention Centre in Brampton. The concert starts at 6 pm on Saturday, June 8th. The line-up of artists is absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to perform alongside many of the Indian American/Canadian artists that I look up to!
Are there any producers you’d like to work with?
I would love to work with King and Sikh Knowledge! Other than that I’m really open to working with any producers who have the talent and dedication.
Tell us about your single ‘Houdini?’
Houdini is the track/music video that I’ve put out most recently. I remember hearing the beat for the first time and immediately grabbing a pen and paper to write lyrics. I really had a good feeling about the song and so far it’s been received pretty well!
Any shout outs?
I wanna give a shout out to all those people who have been supporting me since day 1. I was pretty bad when I started out, but even then my friends encouraged me and pushed me to do better. If it wasn’t for them I couldn’t even dream of performing at Lions Roar! I’m so blessed to have them in my life.
Keep up the good work Alpha Singh! I wish you continued success.
Check out his debut album ‘The Saga Continues,’ along with several singles that are available to download at www.alphasingh.bandcamp.com.
Like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and subscribe to him on Youtube via the links below:-
For similar posts, check out Meet Kevin Krust: The YouTube star from Chicago!
And while you’re here, subscribe to me. It’ll keep you right up to date with my posts and my list is completely spam free. So drop your email below!