Bohemia (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Background information
Birth name Roger David
Also known as Bohemia, Punjabi Rap Da Badshah, Raja, The Punjabi Rapper,
Born (1979-10-15) 15 October 1979 (age 35)
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan[1]
Origin California, United States
Genres Rap, Desi Hip Hop
Years active 2002–present
Labels Sony Music India, Kali Denali Music Universal Music India, T-Series, Speed Records.
Associated acts Snoop Dogg, Sean Kingston, Baby Bash, Glasses Malone, Kurupt, Akshay Kumar, Neha Kakkar, Mika Singh, Tigerstyle, Malkit Singh, Gippy Grewal, Sonu Kakkar, Rishi Rich, Taz, Devika Chawla, Coke Studio, Jasmine Sandlas, The Bilz and Kashif, Haji Springer,

Roger David, (born 15 October 1979),[2] better known by his stage names Bohemia (stylized BOHEMIA), Raja and The Punjabi Rapper is a Pakistani American Rapper and music producer from California. He Raps in Punjabi and describes himself as "The King of Punjabi Rapper" and "the pioneer of Desi Hip Hop" and the "creator of Punjabi rap".

Early life[edit]

Bohemia was born on 15 October 1979 in Karachi, Sindh[3] into an ethnic Punjabi, Christian family. His Father was an employee at Pakistan International Airline and hence they got transferred to Lahore where he spent his childhood. He moved to Peshawar and lived there for 7 years . In his early teens, he arrived with his family in America, settling in San Francisco’s Mission District. Within their first month on the block, he witnessed a young man get murdered over five dollars. The killer was the man’s brother in law. This would be Bohemia's first lesson on trusting others in the streets of Pardes (the foreign land). Although he had strong knowledge and passion for writing music, he made it a second priority, and began hanging on the street corners to run drugs for local hustlers.

Bohemia started learning music from his father at a very young age and writing Punjabi poetry around that time.[1] The streets became a priority to Bohemia, but he would occasionally play keyboards at local Desi events. Through this platform, he gained recognition in the Desi music community. But what struck people most was his ability to write songs or poetry, mostly in Urdu and Punjabi. His mother died of cancer[3] when he was 16 years old. At the same time he was offered a lucrative job at a Sacramento based recording studio and he decided to follow his passion. Bohemia packed his bags, dropped out of school and left his family behind to become a full-time musician. Along with a crew of other musicians, Bohemia was now spending his days on the road, playing gigs throughout the US and Canada, sleeping in cars and on recording studio floors. It would be through this experience that Bohemia would learn about stage presence.

As the youngest member of the musical family, Bohemia came to consider them his older brothers, but as certain members became entangled in hard drugs, the crew fell apart. It was at this point that Bohemia, still a teenager, decided to go his separate way. Again, he packed his bags, this time to join his cousin in Oakland, a city known for both its abundance of independent rap labels and its uncontrollable murder rate. Devastated by the loss of his friend and heavily influenced by his friends in Oakland, Bohemia began to loose focus on his music and indulge in heavy drugs, crime and women. He spent his days hanging in the streets and moving drugs across the 680 and 880 interstate. Yet and still, Bohemia would be delivered an opportunity which would draw him back to his true passion. His cousin was working on a West Oakland recording studio, when he introduced him to a young hip hop producer called Sha One. Sha was in the process of setting up his own label. He was looking for an artist who had a strong presence both live and on record and he saw this in Bohemia. He flipped out when he heard Bohemia reciting something he had written in Punjabi, and asked him to rap it over one of his beats. Bohemia has never rapped seriously before, but when he did, it was as if he’d found the perfect expressive medium for his writing.

Over the next few months, Bohemia wrote a library of lyrics. This would become arsenal for his debut album Vich Pardesan De (In The Foreign Land) – an autobiographical story of his life as a Desi youngster adopting to the streets of America. This album brought forth not only a voice for young Desis who were constantly balancing between Desi culture and American culture, but a new genre of music which is today known as Desi Hip hop. Bohemia claims to be inspired by the poets Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mirza Ghalib and Allama Iqbal. He says, "People like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirza Ghalib are our icons and most of my poetry is inspired by them.[4] For instance, in one of my songs, I talk about ‘going beyond the stars’, the idea of which is essentially taken from Allama Iqbal’s ‘Sitaron Se Aagay Jahan Aur Bhi Hain’."[1]


Bohemia performing in Huston, Texas

Bohemia quickly gained popularity with his independent debut album, Vich Pardesan De [In the foreign land] hitting Top 10 on BBC Radio UK in 2002. The following album, Pesa nasha pyar [Money, intoxication, love][5] became the first full-length Punjabi rap album released by a major label in history. It brought Bohemia increased popularity, including his recent multi-record deal with music label Universal Music Group [2006 - 2009]. This brought his creation of "Punjabi rap" to mainstream recognition, making Bohemia pioneer of a new genre of music known as Desi Hip Hop or ‘Desi-rap’. In 2006 Pesa nasha pyar hits #2 on Top 10 downloads of Maxim (magazine), and #3 on Planet M chart India.[3] Da rap star,[6] his third album receives 4 nominations at the UK Asian Music Awards and PTC Punjabi music awards, including Best Punjabi Album and Best Music Director. Da rap star also remains #1 on Planet M chart several weeks.[7] Bohemia tours the world in 2009 performing all over North America, Australia, Europe and Asia. He has appeared on many of Universal India’s mega-compilations. Bohemia is one of the best-selling artists of the year according to UMG India in 2009, making him the flagship artist of Universal Music Group India.

He enters Bollywood with the title track for Warner Bros film Chandni Chowk to China, appearing in the film with Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone.[8] }fter few months he did the tittle track for another Akshay Kumar's film 8 x 10 Tasveer.[9] In 2011 he gave a song as a present to his dear friend Akshay Kumar for his first Hollywood Production Breakaway.[10]

Bohemia most recently lends his voice for the film Desi Boyz to set the cameo scene for Sanjay Dutt. After his 4 projects he decided not to give anymore songs in Bollywood as he believes Bollywood is made of Fantasy stories whereas his music is based on real events that took place in his life. Bohemia didn't want his fans to misunderstand and assume that his previous songs were also fantasy stories just like Bollywood music. In September 2012 Bohemia released his 4th album Thousand thoughts.[11] Bohemia also produced an album Gulabi for Jasmine Sandlas[12]
In 2013, it won Best Non-Resident Punjabi Album award at PTC Punjabi Music Awards.[13] Bohemia refuses to follow existing trends and believes in creating his own path. In an era, where perception is everything and young artist are concentrating on making music videos instead of focusing on the craft of music, Bohemia continues to attract millions in audience, singing along his hit songs like ‘Kali Denali’, a song for which he has not yet made a music video. His way of thinking/writing also earned him an invitation to the popular Coke Studio Sessions as the first rap artist. He appeared in their season 5 and performed 3 songs. His thought provoking poetry ‘Geet mere yaad jiven school di kitaab’ at Coke Studio continues to pierce the heart of many and has received millions of organic views worldwide. Discussing his future plans, Bohemia said; "I’m honored to have been approached by many amazing artists this year. For me, this year is a collaborations year." Bohemia just recorded his International collaboration with Sonu Kakkar and Jamaican American superstar Sean Kingston.[14] Bohemia is also working with many upcoming artists as well that have a lot of talent.[15] According to his tweet on twitter and Haji Springer who he works with, Bohemia is recording his 5th album Thousand Thoughts Deluxe which is predicted to release in early 2015.

Style Statement[edit]

Most of the time Bohemia has been spotted wearing a Beanie with a hoodie. He likes to dress up casual as according to him he represents the youth.

Association with Major Labels[edit]

Bohemia toured in 2009 performing in Europe, Asia and America. He has appeared on many of Universal India’s mega-compilations including three tracks on The Chart Busters. Universal called this compilation "The biggest hits in Punjabi on one massive album!"[16]

In May 2012, Sony Music India signed Bohemia. As part of the association, Sony Music will take care of Bohemia's music albums, launches and shows under its artist management program.[17][18] In 2014 Bohemia decided to go independent under his own music label Kali Denali Music.[19]

Other Accolades[edit]

Bohemia appeared in XXL magazine in New York.[7]



Year Album Artist Music Director
2002 Vich Pardesan De Bohemia Bohemia
2006 Pesa nasha pyar Bohemia Bohemia
2009 Da rap star Bohemia Bohemia
2012 Gulabi Jasmine Sandlas Bohemia
2012 Thousand thoughts Bohemia Bohemia

Film music[edit]

Movie Song Year
Chandni Chowk to China Chandni Chowk to China 2009
8 x 10 Tasveer I Got the Picture 2009
Breakaway Sansaar 2011
Desi Boyz Subha Hone Na De 2011


  • "All Around The World" - Bohemia ft Aman
  • "Kala Doriya" - Bohemia ft Dj Chintu
  • "Evury day" - Bohemia
  • "Paigam" - Bohemia
  • "Keep It G" - Bohemia ft Kurupt
  • "Talli" - Bohemia ft Gitta Bains and Tigerstyle
  • "What Have I Learned" - Bohemia ft Jennifer F
  • "Rooh (the Soul)" - Bohemia
  • "Yaad Anah" - Bohemia
  • "Brand New Swag" - Bohemia ft Haji Springer and Panda Vution
  • "Main" - Bohemia
  • "My Shoes" - MiddleMan ft. Mr. Kay & Bohemia

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2010 "Da rap star" Best Punjabi Album at PTC Punjabi music awards Nominated
2010 "Da rap star" Best Sound Recording at PTC Punjabi music awards Nominated
2010 "Da rap star" Best Punjabi Music Director at PTC Punjabi music awards Nominated
2010 "Da rap star" Best International Album at UK Asian Music Awards Nominated
2013 "Thousand thoughts" Best International Album at PTC Punjabi music awards Won


External links[edit]