"Let me add that Nujabes and J. Dilla are here. Somewhere in the afterbeat, looking over their legacy."

Rikesh Chauhan, known as RKZ (pronounced Ricks), is a Luton-born recording artist, photographer, writer and creative, currently based in London.

RKZ began recording music in 2008 before releasing his first two-part single, Be Mine/Renegades, the following year. The Raxstar-assisted songs began circulating on BBC Asian Network, which propelled him into the core of the British-Asian rap scene where he became a mainstay for the following years.

Between 2009 and 2012, RKZ went on to release several singles including Defeat Me, How Are You and Gonna Be That. A remix of the latter would feature a host of prominent rappers including Swami Baracus, Lost Souljah, Raxstar, AC, Menis, Kaly and Waqas Ali from Outlandish. Gonna Be That also featured in rapper Bashy’s film, The Man Inside. He provided feature vocals on tracks including This DJ by DJ Dips and The Other Man by Raxstar, the latter surpassing 1.5 million views on YouTube. He released a YouTube series called CoverSessions, which featured his popular covers of Frank Ocean’s Swim Good and Usher’s Nice And Slow.

In 2013, RKZ transitioned into R&B, spoken word and soul. His first release of the year proved to be one of his most popular, Superstars featuring Shawn Sanderson. Influenced by the Soulquarian-era, RKZ frequently worked with producer Gifted on several mixtapes and EPs, most notably SOULar and Science X Soul.

The next few years RKZ released music less frequently, with his time now being split between video, photography, fashion and art direction. The songs Visionaries (his best-selling to date), They Don’t Know Nothing featuring Chino XL and Notes were stand-outs in this period. He intermittently featured as a guest artist on songs including EGO Remix by Raxstar, A Song I Wrote by Bedroom, and released covers of popular songs including Work by Rihanna, Girl Next Door by Musiq and Return of the Mack by Mark Morrisson. The tail end of 2018 saw his official return to music, with the singer releasing the singles Magnificent and Right There. His debut album, Somewhere In The Afterbeat, is scheduled to release in December 2018 and is exclusively produced by long-time collaborator, Handbook.

Creative

Portraits by Another Studio

An early passion for journalism pulled RKZ into creative writing, initially through music and poetry. He expanded this, becoming a feature writer for hip-hop blog Sampleface before taking over as UK Editor, and has gone on to write for publications including The Dapper Chapper, The Idle Man, CALM, Turnbull & Asser and more. In 2011, RKZ was announced as an ambassador for the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

Between 2011 and 2014, RKZ worked as a music video director, producer and editor, making music videos for the likes of Preeya Kalidas, Cashtastic, Roach Killa, GV and Sophia Thakur, as well as for all of his own music videos. He was the video lead for Be Discovered - an online music blog dedicated to discovering UK music talent - and created performance and interview videos notably featuring the likes of Little Simz, Shakka, Lady Leshurr, Jay Prince, Chasing Grace, Kojey Radical, Cameron Bloomfield and many others. He created over 80 videos in the span of six months at Be Discovered.

He joined the Creative team at social media agency Born Social in June 2014, and progressed to Senior Creative the following year, before joining Turnbull & Asser as their lead Copywriter & Social Media Coordinator. His work as a content creator, writer and photographer has seen him work for brands including Tom Smarte, Burnt Roti, Luca Faloni, Son Of A Tailor, Saran Kohli, Brathwait, Kiehl's, The Dapper Chapper and more.

In 2016, RKZ returned to his University (Westminster) as a Careers Mentor for students looking to get into the creative industry in London.

 

Experience | References

Copywriter & Social Media
Turnbull & Asser
(July 2017—Present)

Senior Creative
Born Social
(April 2016—July 2017)

Creative
Born Social
(June 2014—March 2015)

Video Lead
Be Discovered
(Oct 2013—Mar 2014)

Video Editor
GIANT Digital
(June 2013)

Content Manager
RGS Entertainment
(Sept 2011—Jul 2012)

Writer / Photographer
Freelance
(Jul 2012—Present)

 

 

Ambassador
CALM
(Feb 2012—Present)

Mentor
University of Westminster
(Nov 2016—Present)

References

Available upon request.