Shortlist | Music

DAWN: An Original Rap Mixtape

IIT Mandi’s Vivek Sharma gets candid about Dawn, his journey into rap, his brief hiatus, and his aspirations.

Vivek Sharma had always had a keen ear for music, and when he first started listening to rap in 2009, he was instantly drawn to it. Little did he know that one day, his obsession with the music, his research around the genre, and the penning down of his thoughts would lead him to release his mixtape, titled Dawn. You may know him from our previous feature on his single, ‘IIT ki Kahaani’, but Sharma’s story cannot be limited to just one track.

Dawn, to Sharma, is not just a random compilation of rap songs. He says, “It’s like an extension of my personality. It’s got everything – my thoughts, what I’ve learnt in my short life, and every experience that has affected me deeply.” The mixtape includes tracks like ‘I’m Back’ which talks about his hiatus, ‘Follow Your Dreams’ which is about the rat race he was sick of seeing amongst his classmates, ‘Aam Ladka XR’ which captures his journey into rap and his stage name XR, and ‘La Vida’ – his favourite – which has gotten great reviews amongst his friends, and even has a hook on Tinder references. The mixtape also has a remix of Drake’s ‘Started from the Bottom’, and Sharma has given a Punjabi spin to it.

The fresh B. Tech Electrical Engineering graduate wasn’t always this good at making his own music. His deep dive into Punjabi songs led him to discover Bohemia, and his first ever performance was a cover of ‘School di Kitaab’ by the artist, at a cultural event in IIT Mandi. “It wasn’t my best performance, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was when I knew that I wanted to do this again.”

His friends’ constant support inspired him to write his own music, and he released his first single in his second year of college. He went on to write music for his college’s cultural fests.

“With every song, my delivery and lyrical content improved and by the time I reached my final year, I released a song on college life, titled as “IIT ki Kahani” which got the best response out of all the songs that I had released by then.”

When asked about his brief hiatus from music, he says,

“I had been thinking about releasing my mixtape since my fourth year, but circumstances didn’t allow me to get it out on time. I was writing continuously. But was not just getting enough time to compose it and get all the lyrics into a complete song. Since it was going to be the first mixtape, I didn’t want to go in haste and release it till I was fully confident about it.”

At the start of 2018, he promised himself that come what may, Dawn will reach its listeners in the first quarter of the year. The mixtape was released on the 18th of March, and Sharma couldn’t be happier about it!

Meanwhile, Sharma has started working on my next mixtape.

Dawn is available on Youtube, SoundCloud, and MP3 Download.

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By the Editorial Team.