Parents gave this rapper space to follow dreams
A recent survey found that many Singaporean youth fear pursuing their passions and dreams. CHEOW SUE-ANN speaks to a young rapper and an online media personality who took the leap of faith and managed to succeed
He had gone for more than 500 acting auditions and got rejected repeatedly, but his dream to work in the media industry never faded.
Today, Rajid Ahamed, 24, better known by his rap moniker Yung Raja, has carved himself a niche in the local and regional music scene.
The rapper travels around the region to perform and host television shows, such as the first season of Yo! MTV Raps.
Rajid, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic mass communications graduate, has released several singles and his most popular hit, Mustafa, has garnered over 1.6 million hits on music streaming website Spotify.
He is also currently signed to the South-east Asian arm of Def Jam Recordings, a record company that works with artists including Kanye West, BTS, Justin Bieber and Rihanna.
Rajid told The New Paper: "I've known what I wanted to do since I was 14. I wanted to be an actor, and to achieve success in the creative and media industry.
"I was struggling for nine years, trying to make it in acting. I probably went to about 500 auditions, but that didn't happen.
"When I first tried to put out music, I did not know it would be successful, until we started going viral online."
He credits Fariz Rashid, a fellow Singaporean rapper who goes by the name of Fariz Jabba, who told him there were only so many auditions he could attend, and he needed to forge his own path instead of following one that was already there.
Rajid said while many friends and family members would constantly ask when he would go to university, or pursue a more conventional route, he knows that path is not for him.
He said: "I grew up being told that I should be a doctor, lawyer, engineer because that is the best way to support my family and ensure stability.
"But my parents always gave me the space to figure out what I wanted to do.
"They asked 'What does my son want to do?' as opposed to 'What should my son do?'"
Rajid said in the two years he has been rapping, he has been able to earn enough to support his family financially.
He added that he wants to take care of his parents, especially his father, who is already in his 70s.
The young rapper travels the region to perform and is also the brand ambassador for leading fashion brands.
He said: "In our generation, people don't want to do what makes them unhappy anymore.
"Now, it is about chasing dreams and doing what you love - something that was unheard of in the past."