Mar 9, 2017
Rapper Sofia Ashraf says she is more excited about working in the Tamil and Malayalam film industries than in Bollywood.
Ashraf picks up social issues to rap about. She shot to fame with her video 'Kodaikanal Won't' in 2015, which brought to light adverse effects of industrial pollution.
She is now a content creator at Blush, Culture Machine, and comes out with songs for the digital channel.
Asked if she plans to collaborate with a Bollywood artiste to grab attention and have a wider impact, Ashraf said she prefers a digital audience.
'I prefer the digital audience. It is an audience that I'm tuned into. I wouldn't say no to a good Bollywood opportunity if the message is right, but I'm more excited about the Tamil and Malayalam industries which are making the kind of films that I want to make music for -- an audience that speaks the same language as me both literally and artistically,' Ashraf told IANS in an email interview.
Ashraf, who has rapped with music maestro A.R. Rahman, says issues that are inspiring her right now are 'farmers issues, nuclear power, moral policing and patriarchy'.
Talking about how she picks issues, Ashraf said: 'I can't be sure that every video I release will shatter glass ceilings or bring down centuries old patriarchal mindsets. The least I can hope for is to get people to start dialogues.
'I try to make content that's relatable and real. If my video helps a girl overcome her insecurities and makes her question her social conditioning, I think I've made an impact.'
She says the topics she picks 'are issues that really enrage me'.
'In the past, I have rapped about moral policing, religion, corporate work culture, consumerism, the struggle of choosing art over a corporate job, the electricity deficit in Tamil Nadu, the Bhopal Gas Disaster, my identity as a hijabi and societal pressure to conform.
'So, as you can see, the topics are varied. There's only one mantra I follow when I pick a topic - research, research and more research,' said the Chennai-born rapper.
Do you think music is the medium to take to address social issues?
'Music is one way to get people to listen to you. Edutainment, we call it. Having said that, music has great power, but, music alone cannot change the world. I can write an intensely moving song about poverty. What now? Have I cured the food crisis? Music with a message is great. But music with an actionable outcome is better.'