Rani Joshi – The Writer, The Poet, The Marketer, The Singer, The Adoptive Mother.
Growing up being subjected to domestic violence can be hard. Growing up with the dream of breaking into the music industry is hard. Being told you will never amount to anything and that you are too skinny is hard. But imagine your mother not being there to help you to get through all the troubles. You have to raise your 5 year old sister. Rani Joshi is one lady who went through the above but just look at her now. An amazingly talented singer-songwriter, poet who has had her a book of her work published. Her debut single ‘Play This Game’ is available to download now.
Rani’s mother passed away when she was just 16 and both Rani and her mother were subjected to domestic violence. But Rani hasn’t let this affect the success she has gained to date. With the help of her brother she has raised her younger sister, runs a music management company, record label, writes and is a marketer to boot.
I wanted to speak to Rani and find out about ‘her’. Have the situations she faced in the past affected her growth? What advice would she give to others who find themselves in the same situation?
So I’ll let the second of my queens (Rani’s), my next woman of substance introduce herself in the style of blind date:
“Hi I’m Rani Joshi and from Milton Keynes”
You have so many strings to your bow and I’d describe you as a writer, adoptive mother, singer, music management guru, marketer, singer and diva extraordinaire. Tell us your story.
Wow…where to begin. I’ll start with being an adoptive mother. I was 16 when my beautiful mother passed away after a major operation in 2000. There are four of us sibling’s one elder brother, an elder sister who is married, myself and my younger sister. My elder sister had, had her civil wedding in June 2000 whilst my mother was still alive and then of course once we had lost our mother it was only natural for her to continue her married life. That left my brother, younger sister and me. At the time my sister was only 5 so both my brother and I had to take on the responsibility of being parents aged just 23 and 16.
It was extremely hard as I was just about to begin my 6th form education, so I was studying full-time, working two part-time jobs from Thursday – Sunday, then going home, cooking, cleaning and looking after my younger sister. The pressure was immense but I felt strength within me coming from somewhere otherwise I’d never had got through that point in my life, my brother is amazing and like a father to us.
I began writing poetry aged 12 then song-writing from 14. Over the years I just developed both and recently I have had one of my poems published in an Asian Writers book ‘Happy Birthday To Me’. I’ve also co-written some of Kee’s (Hindi Pop-Rock singer-songwriter) material which will be on her album. I’m still developing and I do not think that anyone ever really stops developing; you just learn more and adapt your skills so you can better yourself.
Singer – This journey began and then I stopped. It’s taken me 10 years to really believe in myself and only now I’m finally ready to release my debut single ‘Play This Game’ I guess management falls right into this category. I love music and wanted to work on my debut album. I worked with a producer for a few months but we parted ways. I then met Arjun through Myspace and Kee via the producer I previously worked with, I then took on managing both British Asian artists and of course Raine was born, slowly we have laid our foundations so the journey has only really just begun.
I did get to a point last year where I was going to give up music completely as I felt I was not giving enough time to my family, but I’m very lucky to have the siblings I do, as they share the same passion. I love music for music not the fame. Fame can become tainted.
Marketing is my full time job. So I work 9-5pm then work on music management/writing/home etc in the hours left. It’s important to have a business mind when working in a day job or music.
So you tell me that you are an adoptive mother to your younger sister? How do you find that?
It’s a blessing but it has been hard. She has grown into an amazing teenager and I couldn’t ask for anything better. In the beginning, I couldn’t just get up and go, emotionally it was extremely hard. I had no idea how to be a mother, but somehow I learned. It’s difficult because I can’t just shoot off, I have responsibilities and have done since 2000 and if I do go out for music related work, I feel guilty.
What gives you the most pleasure or satisfaction? Writing, singing, marketing, looking after your sister?
They all give me pleasures and satisfaction in their own way, I can’t pick one.
Writing is my emotional release, singing is my dream, marketing is the business woman in me and looking after my sister is the mother and sister in me. I love her like my own daughter; even though we fight like sisters.
You told me yourself and your mother were victims of domestic violence. Would you mind sharing your experiences with our lovely readers?
It’s a very deep subject for me and I want to share this story in the hope others do not suffer in silence.
My mother was a wonderful human being like no other I’ve ever known.
She gave endlessly and always smiled through the pain. My father was, and still is, an alcoholic; my mum was subject to violence, emotionally, mentally but more so physically. We ended up staying in a women’s refuge for a short period and once my father was made to leave our home we moved back in, but the abuse didn’t really stop until my mother passed away.
He would smash windows, hide behind cars and jump out and beat my mother. I think what hurts the most is till this date he denies abusing her. Her death in my heart will always be linked to her 15 years of violence. But not once did she complain.
I remember saying to my mum ‘why do you stay, when he hurts you so much?’ her answer was ‘because I love him’. Love really can be blind. I promised myself that I would never let a man ever hit me…but little did I know that the relationship I was in when I was 16 would subject to just that. I was hit just four times, but that was more than enough. I was slapped viciously, pinched continuously, had my head smashed into car windows.
I was emotionally and mentally abused and I lost the bubbly and confident person that I was. However, what I did do, that a lot of women can not, was walk away. My life was living hell for a while but I went to university and changed my life around. I still heard from him after a few years and he tried to send me manipulative messages. The greatest feeling was telling him I didn’t care and that he could no longer control me.
I did go through severe depression to the point I didn’t want to live but all of those things have only made me stronger and emotionally stable, because I realised I am blessed to have a life. When people tell me I am emotional I don’t care. I’m human and I have feelings.
What are the first signs of domestic violence? If you are faced with this situation or you know that someone is?
Every situation is different. Mine started with control, emotional blackmail, where I was, what I was doing; only spending time with that one person all the time, why I was going out, who I was meeting. Mentally and emotionally I was told I wasn’t beautiful, I was too skinny, you’ll amount to nothing, always made to feel guilty, you can’t do better than me and so forth.
Do you have any recommendations of organisation that these women could speak to?
Speak to the police, your local women’s refuge and of course there is the Southall Black Sisters.
Many people in the Asian community are scared to speak out, what advise would you give them? How can they escape?
Do not be afraid to speak up. I know there have been some very unfortunate cases that we read in the papers BUT like anything in life that is a minority number. You can change your life. Women stay because of communities, shame on the family and for children. But the community doesn’t feed or clothe you, pay your bills – you do! Children do not want to be in a detrimental environment; they want to be happy and loved. It’s okay to be a single mother; I am living proof of how you can get through it. Many women move onto healthier relationships. The choice is always in your hands.
Tell me about the life of an adoptive mother, a marketer, writer and singer? Do you struggle to balance your work and home life?
It is conflictive! Most of the time I’m okay but there have been points where I couldn’t cope. I think that’s only natural, I’ve not met anyone who has always coped. We all need to breakdown a little sometimes to build ourselves back up.
Do you write your own songs? Does your past reflect your past?
Yes I write all my own songs, I love writing. My songs are not all about love and relationships. Some are about life, losing your close ones, domestic violence – a reflection of my life. The debut single is however about a love for someone that I met when I was 18 and it was really difficult for me as it’s someone I really connected with but I got over it as I realised no-one wants someone who is with everyone!
‘Finding my voice’ and the first song I wrote
The first proper song I wrote, I sang accapella, which was ‘Eh Maa’ I started singing at my mother’s funeral…ironically when people were coming to show their condolences all I
was getting is you have a ‘beautiful voice, you should sing’ so I guess the journey really began then.
What does the future have in store for Rani?
The world is my oyster! I stopped planning since my mother’s death. I think of things I want to do and then just go for it. So right now I’m focusing on bettering myself as a human being, but above all really going for my dream in music and making it.
The single ‘Play This Game’ is my main focus right now – I really want to make my mother proud.
All I want to do and be in life is someone who strived to achieve for the better, I want my sister, my future children, my family and future husband to be proud of who I am not what I am. My journey has only really begun but I want them to believe that no matter how big or small a dream, if you work hard nothing is unattainable.
Rani’s new single ‘Play this Game’ produced by Arjun is out now. You can listen and download it here. In the words of my9 year old nephew ‘this is a beautiful song’
You can read Rani’s poems on her blog
Follow Rani on Twitter
Or email Rani directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to end this interview with a tribute to Rani’s late mother. She sounds like someone would be an inspiration to so many women. Rani says “my mother will always be my inspiration. She was the only one who truly believed in me and my talents. R.I.P”
I’m sure all of you will echo my words when I thank Rani for taking time out of her busy schedule, making time for me and being part of my women of substance celebrations. A big cheer for the strong, independant, inspiring woman that is Rani Joshi and I hope that she achieves all the success in the world which she absolutely deserves. A true woman of substance. I have picked one of Rani’s poems which I really resonate with.