Coiffed hair, charming smile, crooner vocal range - Zac Rai seems to have all that it takes to be the  singing sensation of this generation. Anyone active on social media has probably heard of him and his band of friends who have brought you short films, vlogs and catchy tunes under their company Art in Motion. Zac has created a lot of stir in the British Nepali community with his melodious songs even touring across the continents from Asia to Australia. A creative extraordinaire, Zac’s likeable persona has earned him a lot of followers who support his work faithfully, evident through millions of views and comments on his videos. We recently caught up with him to discuss his music, identity and how his Nepali heritage continues to inspire him today.

How did you get started in the music industry?

I feel like I have been singing for as long as I can remember. In terms of how I officially started, it happened when I got to work with Jay Author, Elijah Melo and other like-minded people in the industry and it just developed from there. That was almost four years ago and we’ve been continuously growing and supporting each other and it’s been a great journey so far.

Why have you chosen music as a medium to express yourself?

With music it’s the satisfaction you get - in some sense it allows me to escape from ‘reality’ and enables me to connect with so many people on a deeper level and that’s amazing.

Does your Nepali heritage play any part when you create your music?

Definitely. My music is a fusion of two different languages and cultures; Nepali and Western and that’s what my sound is right now. It’s new and something neither the Nepali or Western people have heard before which is why I think it’s so young and fresh and going to be relevant for a long time.

Do you ever struggle with your identity as a British Nepali? Tell us about your experience of growing up in two different cultures.

I was born and raised in Nepal but I’m at a point in my life where I’ve lived in the UK more than I have in Nepal. It’s not a struggle but sometimes you do feel like you don’t completely belong to either culture. Here in the UK, people look at you because you’re different and in Nepal because of the way I look or dress they don’t think I am fully Nepali. But I see it as a benefit because I am able to bring two different cultures together.

What are your thoughts on the urban British Nepali scene emerging in the UK? How have you seen it evolve and how do you see yourself being a part of it?

I think a lot has changed from when I was a teenager starting out. The youths now are more open-minded and welcoming to new ideas. As far as my involvement in the movement, the youths coming into the industry understand and appreciate my music and that’s valuable to me.

Do you create music with a certain demographic in mind? If yes, who is your music for?

Yes and no. The style of music you make will always attract a certain audience but as an artist you don’t really think about that because you just want to focus on making good music. When I’m creating music I focus on whatever feels right at the moment, I don’t really think about demographics because I feel like music should be for everyone.

Is there a bigger impact you want to have with your music?

Of course! I want to shape the Nepali music industry for the youths coming in. I want them to be able to stand on their own feet making music because at the moment it’s a struggle to survive as a musician in Nepal. I want to create a platform for them where they’re able to thrive doing what they love.

Who are you inspired by?

Hardworking people. It could be anyone, it doesn’t have to be an artist, filmmaker or a creative, I am just inspired by hardworking people. My friends always inspire and motivate me and recently I came across a quote that really resonated with me and it goes, “if you’re not inspired by the people in your circle then you don’t have a circle you have a cage”.

What are your upcoming plans and goals?

We have some new songs coming out and I am really excited for it. I am also planning on releasing an EP around summer time. The main vision for this year is a world tour which is going to start from the second half of this year and we’re thinking of covering Nepal, Australia, USA, HongKong and more.

︎: Ruby Rai

︎: Chrisia