Salt Lake hip-hop musician uMaNg releases new album
His name is Umang Khosla, but local rap fans know him as uMaNg.
He started writing poetry when he was 15. Eventually, that poetry turned into rap. He's followed the release of his first album, 2011's "The First Impression LP," with his second, "Lasting Impressions."
The Utah musician answered questions by about his influences, his music and what Jewish vampires fear.
How did you get started in music?
Music to me goes back as far as I can remember. I grew up listening to all kinds like rock, rap and pop, the usual. But my taste goes as far as foreign, as I've also grown up on Hindi and Bollywood music as well. From there, thankfully to my peers, I got heavy into underground hip-hop, where the art is most pure and free from any constraints that "mainstream" music may put on an artist.
Do Jewish vampires avoid crosses or Stars of David?
I'd have to say crosses. I'm assuming some vampires in history were already Jewish, right? I'll stop my thoughts there, as I might get into trouble if I keep elaborating,
What inspires you?
My answer may seem like a cop-out and the easiest thing to say, but in plain, life truly inspires me. Anger, sadness, happiness all emotions inspire my music. It's funny because when I started out, it was really because how angry, confused, depressed I felt about life in general that had me seeking an outlet. And years later, I can truly say that it's easiest to make art when I'm feeling joy now.
Describe "Lasting Impressions" and how it differs from your first record.
"Lasting Impressions" continues the theme from "The First Impression LP." The first record intended on striking a chord on an introductory note with listeners. During the last year, though, the reality of being an unknown artist and struggling to make a name for myself set in. It teases, leaving a "Lasting Impression" as if it were the last record I make. It's darker, edgier, more current, but I'm most proud that it's a natural progression of me being an artist. BBZ Darney produced this entire album.
What do you think of the different eras of hip-hop, and where does your music fit in?
Well, my favorite eras are definitely the '80s and '90s, as they established the genre with some of its best artists and music. The early 2000s also had some individuals who evolved it as well. I am out of touch with how hip-hop is, mainstream-wise. You can chalk it up to my age, being a hater, but I simply do not like how most hip-hop is now. Our music is definitely inspired by the '90s "golden age" of hip-hop. So I'd say our music belongs there.
Does Utah, or your music, have a distinctive style?
My style in particular is East Coast, as that's where I grew up and my primary influences come from. Utah artists, from what I've heard, have a distinct blend. Quite a few artists here have that East Coast style, some have a West Coast style, some even Dirty South. Since we're not exactly placed in one of those regions, it makes sense.
Is Utah a good place to be an artist?
In today's world we live with social networking. The industry's decline in physical music is rather obvious because of music being listened to, purchased and pirated over the Internet. It's not necessarily important where you are located but rather the quality of the music you are making. And, of course, how persistent your effort is of getting that music heard.
What is your proudest musical moment?
Besides every time I perform onstage, I'd have to say recording and releasing "Lasting Impressions." I bottled up all feelings I had over the past year and threw it all onto this album. It was like releasing my first album all over again. This last year has been the most significant in my life thus far. The birth of my daughter, performing at many different venues, meeting important figures in my life, all took place.
How does Utah influence your music?
It didn't "influence" my music per se, as the events that took place at a certain time in my life in Utah set the stage for me to start making music. So in that sense, Utah itself is very influential.
To listen to uMaNg's music, visit umang.bandcamp.com/album/lasting-impressions.
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