Anyone who takes the time to speak to artist RajiTheOne will find out quickly that he has a plan at hand, and nobody believes in him as much as he does.
Born Jamal Rogers, the Chicago-born, and Minnesota-based artist paid his dues in the music game for nearly a decade in various capacities. Years later, he would release a song entitled #WhiteGirlVoice that would go on to gain over 68 million streams on Spotify.
However, that is just a snapshot of his background, the full story is much more interesting. He recently sat down with the MSR to reflect on his mixtape Sincerely, the Buzz is Real and upcoming projects.
RajiTheOne, whose stage name is derived from his last name Rogers, learned about the business and production of the music industry by interning for six years with Songbook Entertainment, working with Troy Taylor and Trey Songz.
“I was a kid who had an opportunity to go to school for free. I took a year off and said, ‘I’m going to do some music, and take advantage of some other opportunities…’ [Then] at 19, I was working under Trey Songz. [I] did not see that coming — or did I? That’s the crazy thing about manifesting your dreams — you shoot for the stars and you’ll land on another planet, [and] that got me to where I’m at right now.”
RajiTheOne recalled going from songwriting to engineering and producing to vocal production of songs that he wrote. From there, he would go on to be a backup singer and witness other artists perform songs that he wrote.
Eventually, he decided to take center stage, but the route to performing his own material was an unconventional one. “There was a time and point when I was writing so many songs that I was trying to figure out how to manipulate the system because it wasn’t working in my best interest,” recalled RajiTheOne.
“I would pitch-shift my voice [and] tell people that I had an artist named ‘Raji’ and I would see what the reaction was without there being a bias of the artist being myself.”
According to RajiTheOne, the typical reaction was that the song was “dope” and everyone was trying to figure out who the artist was behind it. He would more or less describe himself to them — a young Haitian artist with dreads. “I would laugh in my seat — internally laughing — like, wow, you don’t even know the person you’re complimenting is myself.”
Today, RajiTheOne not only plays the roles of manager and artist but also business owner. “I know too much to let all this knowledge go to waste,” he said. “So [I decided to] become the artist, own the production company, and do joint ventures and partnerships with companies that believe not only in the artist, but the man who owns the company. From there, RajiTheOne was born mentally.”
This mindset didn’t just take place overnight; it was influenced by the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. “When I picked the book up it said to focus on a burning desire, something that you wouldn’t mind doing for the rest of your life for free, but could make money [from]; I picked music. From there I learned the industry in and out.”
Right now, RajiTheOne, whose style is often compared to Drake and Bryson Tiller, is utilizing every tool at his disposal to understand his fans and know where his markets are.
Recently, he released his latest video and single for “My Word,” a song he literally made for his fans with their input. RajiTheOne said that he was creating a beat on Instagram Live and asked viewers to weigh in. He took the fans’ suggestions and then made the song. When it came time to do the video, he did the same thing and asked them what they wanted to see and then he delivered.
So what’s next? Recently RajiTheOne has launched his own line of clothing and merchandise to further capture his fans. He said to be on the lookout for the summer launch. He also wants his fans to check for his next three singles. Right now he’s considering videos for #Everything, #DaddysGirl, and #NoProblems from his mixtape.
“I want to make content that people will enjoy or will continue to consume,” said RajiTheOne. “Technically, I’m catering to [my fanbase], so as a consumer, what do you want to hear from me since you know a little bit about me? I don’t mind catering to that, because we all got to be in the stadium while I perform this, so you better like what I put out.
“It’s that simple, and that fuels me. So, I know when I feel low…there’s an audience to remind me, like, hey, this is why we like you and this is what we would like to hear from you.”
Khymyle Mims is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.