Raja Kumari

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Raja Kumari
Kumari at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles California
Kumari at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles California
Background information
Birth nameSvetha Yallapragada Rao
Born (1986-01-11) January 11, 1986 (age 34)
Claremont, California, United States
GenresPop, dance, hip hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards, guitar
Years active2012–present
Associated actsDivine, Iggy Azalea, Fifth Harmony, Fall Out Boy, Gwen Stefani, Knife Party, Sean Garrett, Shannon K

Svetha Yallapragada Rao (Telugu: స్వెత యల్లప్రగడ రావు) (born January 11, 1986), professionally known as Raja Kumari is an Indian-American rapper, songwriter and singer from Claremont, California.[1][2] Kumari is best known for her collaboration with notable artists including Gwen Stefani, Iggy Azalea, Fifth Harmony,[3] Knife Party, Fall Out Boy.[4][5] She is also notable for receiving as a songwriter, the BMI Pop Awards in 2016,[6] being nominated to a Grammy award in February 2015,[7] and featuring on BBC Asian Network programme Bobby Friction on July 5, 2016.[8]


Raja Kumari is born as Svetha Yallapragada Rao to Telugu parents in Claremont, California.[9][10][11][12] Kumari holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies, with an emphasis on South Asian religions. She is an Indian classical dancer who started dancing at the age of 7. While in fifth grade, Kumari discovered hip hop through the Fugees' album The Score. By the age of 14, she was a noticed freestyle MC known as "Indian Princess" (IP) or "Raja Kumari". She is a trained dancer in Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Bharatanatyam and had given many live performances in Ravindra Bharathi in Hyderabad.[9]

During her artist career, she has contributed to several philanthropic activities through her performances including the creation of a hospital in Bangalore and a meditation hall in South India for the Vegesna Foundation, a school for children with physical disabilities. As a result, Kumari has been recognized as a benefactor by the Foundation for Indic Philosophy and Culture (Indic Foundation) and has been honored with the Kohinoor Award for excellence in the Classical Arts by the Governor of Tamil Nadu.[13]


Kumari[14] co-wrote, featured in or performed background vocals in a number of notable songs including Fall Out Boy's double-platinum single "Centuries", "Change Your Life" feat. T.I., Vicetone's "Don't You Run",[15] Brave Enough by Lindsey Stirling and "Set Me Free" for Baz Luhrmann's original Netflix series The Get Down about the birth of Hip Hop. She has also contributed to songs in albums by Gwen Stefani, Fifth Harmony (Reflection), Twin Shadow, and Dirty South. Recently she released her debut solo single "Mute" featuring Elvis Brown and produced by Jules Wolfson at Epic Records.[2][8][16] which premiered on Paper Magazine's website. In May 2016, Kumari was honored at the 2016 BMI Pop Awards for co-writing the song "Centuries" with Fall Out Boy.[6][17] In addition, she has a recording contract with Epic Records through L.A. Reid and collaborated with several players in the music industry, including artists Polow Da Don, J.R. Rotem, Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, Soulshock and Karlin, Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, Justin Tranter and Fernando Garibay.[citation needed] She has also been inspired in her music style by the Indian composer and producer A. R. Rahman.[2] In 2018, she co-wrote and performed the song titled 'Roots' and 'City Slums' in collaboration with Divine.[18] She has starred in Gully Boy as a judge, which was a cameo appearance.

She also hosted the American Music Awards Pre-Show telecast, alongside Lauren Jaregui.[19] She has been nominated for an MTV European Music Awards three times for Best India Act.

Kumari has also been announced as the face of MAC Cosmetics' holiday campaign: MAC STARRING YOU, in which she appears in adverts and marketing materials around the globe.

She also was a judge on season one of MTV HUSTLE, a rap battle competition show that was the highest rated premiere in MTV History.



Year Song Film Composer Co-Singer(s) Writer(s) Ref.
2017 Jugni Kaatru Veliyidai A.R.Rahman
  • Tejinder Singh
  • Shikara
Freaking Life Mom
Never Give Up Vivegam Anirudh Ravichandar Raja Kumari
2018 Allah Duhai Hai Race 3 JAM8
Husn Parcham Zero Ajay-Atul
  • Irshad Kamil
2019 The Wakhra Song Judgementall Hai Kya Tanishk Bagchi Navv Inder, Lisa Mishra Tanishk Bagchi
Rap Lyrics:
Raja Kumari
2020 Afreeda Dil Bechara A.R. Rahman Sana Musa Amitabh Bhattacharya


Songwriting credits[edit]

Year Title Artist Album
2013 "Change Your Life" Iggy Azalea Single
2014 "Freefallin'" Dirty South With You
"Boss Mode" Knife Party Abandon Ship
"Centuries" Fall Out Boy Single
2015 "Like Mariah" Fifth Harmony featuring Tyga Reflection
"Sadness" Selah Sue Reason
"Eclipse" Twin Shadow Eclipse
"Spark" Ghost Town Single
"Runnin'" Empire (season 2) Empire: Season 2, Vol. 1 (Original Soundtrack)
"Broken Hearted" Kalin and Myles Single
"Changed My Life" Kalin and Myles Kalin and Myles
2016 "Red Flag" Gwen Stefani This Is What the Truth Feels Like
"War Paint"
"Mirage" Lindsey Stirling Brave Enough
2017 "Never Give Up" Anirudh Ravichander Vivegam
2018 "Bright" Avril Lavigne Unreleased from "Head Above Water"
2017 "City Slums" Divine
2020 "N.R.I." Raja Kumari Single


  • Curry Sauce Vol. 1 (2016)


  • The Come Up (2016)
  • Bloodline (2019)

Since her debut EP 'The Come-Up,' Kumari has been hard at work on her next EP 'Bloodline.' Kumari has released the lead single from Bloodline, called "Shook." This single was accompanied by a music video which reached quite a bit of commercial success. Kumari's second single from Bloodline, called "Karma" was released February 13, 2019. Bloodline was released February 22, 2019.

Songs recorded[edit]

  • "Mute" (Performer/Writer).[8]
  • Vicetone – "Don't You Run featuring Raja Kumari" (Performer/Writer).[15]
  • City Slums featuring Divine
  • Krewella and Nervo — "Goddess" feat. Raja Kumari[20]

Television/Web Series[edit]

Year Shows Channel Role Notes
2018 Lockdown On ZEE5 Originals Recreating a Hindi Song Web Reality Show[21][22][23]
2019 MTV Hustle MTV Judge


  1. ^ Vivianne Lapointe (May 11, 2016). "While You Were at Coachella: I Escaped to Bali With the People Who Write the Hits". HuffPost.
  2. ^ a b c Nadya Agrawal (July 1, 2016). "Rapper Raja Kumari Blends Indian Classical Music With Trap Beats on "Mute"". Paper Magazine.
  3. ^ Nolan Feeney (March 18, 2016). "Gwen Stefani: How Making My New Album Saved My Life". Time.
  4. ^ Bill Lamb. "Fall Out Boy – "Centuries"". About.com.
  5. ^ "Raja Kumari". AllMusic.
  6. ^ a b "BMI Honors Taylor Swift and Legendary Songwriting Duo Mann & Weil at the 64th Annual BMI Pop Awards". BMI. May 2011.
  7. ^ "Bryan-Michael Cox & Sesac Host Annual Pre-Grammys Brunch". The Source(Magazine). February 9, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Raja Kumari – Mute!". BBC Asian NetworkBobby Friction. July 5, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Sengupta, Meenakshi. "All hail the Raja Kumari!". Telangana Today. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  10. ^ Adivi, Sashidhar (June 11, 2020). "'The Indian Princess' of rap". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  11. ^ "My culture is in my art: Rapper Raja Kumari". Hindustan Times. August 7, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  12. ^ "Indian-American rapper Raja Kumari to WION: One day I will bring a Grammy home". WION. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  13. ^ Nila Choudhury (May 26, 2011). "Multi-talented starlet Raja Kumari's got a heart". Urban Asia.
  14. ^ "Raja Kumari on cross-cultural music collaborations: Like to call it a brown renaissance".
  15. ^ a b "Preview: Vicetone ft. Raja Kumari – Don't You Run (Original Mix)". Bangin Beats.
  16. ^ "Raja Kumari – MUTE Ft. Elvis Brown". LiveFast magazine.
  17. ^ "Meet L.A. Reid's Latest Protege Raja Kumari". The Knockturnal.
  18. ^ "For How Much Longer Can We Ignore Caste and Still Call Ourselves Progressive?". The Wire. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "Raja Kumari becomes first Indian to host American Music Awards 2019".
  20. ^ Meadow, Matthew (May 15, 2020). "Krewella & NERVO Team Up For New Single, "Goddess"". Your EDM. Archived from the original on July 15, 2020. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  21. ^ Zee Media Bureau (August 17, 2018). "ZEE5 launches Lockdown with Badshah, Kailash Kher, Raftaar, Jonita Gandhi and many more". Zeenews.india.com. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  22. ^ Mid-day (March 21, 2018). "Raja Kumari and Kailash Kher collaborate for reality show Lockdown". Mid-day.com. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  23. ^ R.M. VIJAYAKAR (August 24, 2018). "ZEE5's Maiden Offering in the Music Space, 'Lockdown,' Premieres: Watch Trailer". Indiawest.com. Retrieved November 21, 2018.

External links[edit]