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Art & Life with Raashi Kulkarni

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raashi Kulkarni.

Raashi, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’m a pianist and composer pursuing my passion for music! I’m originally from the east coast and grew up studying music, from western classical to Indian classical. Music became my outlet for expression after I started taking piano and flute lessons in elementary school. My piano teacher had instilled the importance of story-telling through music early on, and that sentiment has stayed with me since. From elementary school to college, I performed at recitals, competitions, and festivals. I also participated in band, orchestra, and choir. Once I got to college, I studied Economics and minored in Music. Throughout undergrad, I performed for various special events at George Washington University (my alma mater), including GW’s Freshman Convocation, an inaugural ball welcoming President Obama, an alumni function at the Smithsonian Museum, and a piano concerto with the GW orchestra at Lisner Auditorium. After graduation, I continued composing and performing while working full-time in the corporate sector.

My goal was to move to Los Angeles and pursue film scoring and music as a career. Aside from teaching and performing, I started scoring commercials and short films while working my 9-5 job. I took online courses to become more proficient in programs like Pro Tools and Logic. After a few years, when I felt like I could take a leap of faith, I quit my day job and applied to University of Southern California’s graduate program for screen scoring. I had been looking into their program for years and knew I needed additional training. It was the only school I applied to, and I, fortunately, was accepted and moved to LA in 2015. After completing the program, I freelanced as a composer and assisted various film composers around town for six months before getting a full-time job with Emmy-nominated composer, Blake Neely. I’ve been working with Blake and team for over two years, first as an intern, then writing assistant/arranger, and now also composing additional music on Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash. It’s been an incredible experience to work on a variety of shows and films, and the learning curve has been immense. During the last two years, I also composed the music for a PBS television series, released my debut EP, scored a few short films, and conducted an original piece at Capitol Records for a television show, which will air this spring. It’s been a whirlwind for the last few years, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. This is just the beginning!

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I love story-telling through music. Stories and music have been passed down for generations and unite people from all parts of the world. Connection is the main reason I love to create and share my work. When composing for film and television, my job is to elevate the emotions of the story and provide context that words cannot. When composing my own music, I’m sharing a part of my soul. My hope is that it will resonate with others as it does with me, that it will make people feel something.

For film and television, the genre of music truly depends on the director. This is their story, and my mission is to help tell that story with my soundscape. For scores, I like incorporating live instrumentals with electronic samples. When I compose for myself, my first inclination is to go to the piano. I enjoy writing works for solo piano and also love composing music that fuses different genres together, from western classical + Indian classical to jazz + Broadway + pop.

Whether I’m composing music for a record or for a film/show, my goal is to create something meaningful, to connect with my listeners, and to inspire.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
I practice this mantra everyday: Passion. Perseverance. Patience. There are definitely financial challenges when it comes to pursuing a creative path. As I mentioned, before I started doing music full time, I worked a corporate job for a few years after college. After work, I’d focus 100% on my craft, teach piano lessons, perform for live shows/gigs, and score commercials and short films. Do what you have to do, and set aside at least a few hours each day for your art.

I think it’s important to work without distraction and with absolute focus. If you’re working one job or two jobs as a means to pay your bills, then use whatever time you have after that to hone your craft. Time management is key. I think all artists realize that there are levels of sacrifice that come with pursuing your passion. Keep a strong support system around you. Write down your goals and never lose sight of your purpose. Things do not happen overnight. Have patience. At the end of the day, let your work speak for itself.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can see/hear my work on my website, www.raashikulkarni.com, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud, and all major downloading and streaming platforms like iTunes and Spotify. If you’d like to support and join me on this adventure, you can subscribe/follow me on those channels!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
CapitolRecords 1 and 2 – Photography by Adriana Serrato, Lisner Auditorium – Photography by AISM Photography, Warner Brothers – Photography by Dan Goldwasser

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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