Today's Highlights

In Conversation with Sofia Ashraf | The Gig Week, Delhi.

By Gauren Bhardwaj
December 10, 2017
In Conversation with Sofia Ashraf | The Gig Week, Delhi.
Friday, the 8th of December 2017 witnessed the closing act of the seventh edition of ‘The Gig Week - Delhi’. The concluding event was hosted at the Auro Kitchen and Bar, Aurobindo Market. The closing acts included Sofia Ashraf, Sapta, and Madame Gandhi. The gig started off with Sofia Ashraf bringing fire to the stage with her wolf-esque vocals. Yes, you read it right, Sofia was howling on stage and so were the attendants, all in a unison. Some of you might know Sofia from the ‘Kodaikanal Won’t’ protest song that had gone viral and those who don’t, need to explore more of social media because this video was a wildfire. Even Nicki Minaj tweeted about it. Backing Sofia’s vocals was Sapta, a DnB duo based out of Chennai. Sapta is made of Marti Bharath on the Synth (And Vocals), and Tapas Naresh on the drums. As soon as Sofia dropped the mic, Sapta picked up every bit, quite gracefully. Everyone in attendance was jumping to Sapta playing ‘The sound of the nation’. Marti had a great stage presence and commanded moves from every corner of the Auro. However, the showstopper, the closing act was Madame Gandhi. Unfortunately, her set started at 12:30 AM and we had to push off. Nevertheless, we could catch up with Sofia on our way out and had a real conversation. Here’s what went down: [embed][/embed] Gauren from Loudest - what inspired you to do the song on the Kodaikanal issue? Why Anaconda? Sofia –  “OK! So, I am going to take some time talking about it!”. And within seconds, She was passionately taking us down the memory lane to a place in time where it all started. Jhatkaa, the NGO that was actively working on the project had approached Sofia to do a song around the concept. She was not the only one behind the idea, It was a collective effort that resulted in getting twitter responses from Paul Polman and a disclosure on the Unilever website. Rap music is generally more deep-rooted than how it appears to be, It’s a tree/iceberg. Sofia could identify the underlying tone on Anaconda that was intended to be Skinny-shaming. While bending a couple of words she realized the same anti-skinny concept could work out to deliver an Anti-corporate act. Gauren – What makes political rap so appealing and why political in times of Snow The Product and Cardi B? Sofia – To be very honest, I don’t know who these people are, but rap music has some slack to cut. Misogyny and Braggadocio being an integral part of the modern-day hip-hop music. No one really can fathom the awareness that rap music could propel at the most basic level. The same music has given voice to so many women living in shadows, in families that do not let expressionism hit their daughters. I feel proud when I hear people talking about how I have helped them break free. [embed][/embed] Gauren – What do you say (musically) - Nicki Minaj/Remy Ma/Salt n Peppa/TLC? Sofia – Oh yes! I listen to a lot of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes (TLC), Aaliyah and Miss Lauryn Hill. Also, I would like to address another issue here as we speak of rappers and MCs. I don’t really get around the concept of being called a female rapper or a female emcee. It’s just a rapper or an emcee that all it takes.   Gauren: What’s on your playlist? Sofia – (Laughing) Oh, I have a very weird playlist and has songs from everywhere. You would find some ‘Chinese Men’, some of Hip Hop music, some of Miles Davis and a lot of Indie Tamil and Carnatic music.   Gauren: Any new music coming out soon or any collaboration? Sofia - There’s more to it but I can’t really speak about it at this moment. But I can definitely tell that I am featured on a song in Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Gully Boy’ starring Ranveer Singh. The song is in collaboration with Swadesi and Mawali. While there are more in works, which we shall eventually know about.   [caption id="attachment_2736" align="alignleft" width="200"]Rapper Sofia Ashraf performing at the Auro, Kitchen and Bar Source - Auro Bar and Kitchen FB Page[/caption] Gauren: What are you trying to do with your music? Sofia – I would like to answer this question in two parts: Musically: I think I still have a long way to go in order to grow as an artist. But for now, I am happy with where I am right now. I am happy doing these un-sponsored shows, It’s better to create value for oneself, rather than for a brand that is all about the sales and revolves around the idea of capitalism. Socially: I feel I have accomplished something but not enough as of now. I mean, I still receive videos from people in which 12-Year old kids are rapping to my songs. Also, there’s this girl that calls me, once every month telling me how my music/voice has helped her lately as she comes from a conservative family. But guess what, I do too! I went to ‘hardcore Muslim college’, wherein, I was also the president. On some days, You could find me fixing dupattas of girls in college or on the stage as they performed. Look at me now, (Bitch). You can follow Sofia here on  Facebook and Twitter.

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