4 Things You Need To Know About Hip-Hop Star Rich Brian
Brian Imanuel Soewarno, better known by his stage name, Rich Brian, is an Indonesian rapper, singer and record producer.
In 2016, the then-teenager reached global fame with the release of his debut single, Dat $tick, on SoundCloud. While the song was met with both criticism and applause, it racked up millions of listens, leading Rich Brian to be signed by Asian-focused music collective CXSHXNLY. He has since released three albums: Amen in 2018, The Sailor in 2019 and 1999 last year.
Here are four things you need to know about the 21-year-old rising star.
1/4 He recently collaborated with fellow Indonesian music stars NIKI and Warren Hue
Launched this May, the collaborative single, titled California, celebrates the trios’ Indonesian heritage while also delving into their experiences of being Asian in America. “This song is about three Indonesian kids that managed to chase their dreams. Whether it’s acting, being a scientist or an architect or both, it’s all attainable,” Brian said in a press release. NIKI also shared that songwriting-wise it was “one of the most organic coming-together between the three of [them].”
2/4 He learnt English by watching YouTube in his spare time
Born in 1999 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Brian and his siblings were homeschooled while his parents worked at the cafe they owned. When he was bored, Brian would watch random YouTube videos on everything from how to solve a Rubik’s Cube to unboxing videos. “[Then] one day, I was just thinking about something, and then—you know when you think and you have that inner voice in your head? I realised it was in English,” he said to ABC News.
He told ABC News that he still remains fluent in Indonesian but is always working to improve his English pronunciation.
3/4 He was the first Asian artist in history to reach number one on the iTunes Hip-Hop Chart
In 2018, Brian made history with the release of his debut album, Amen. The album reached number one on the iTunes Hip-Hop charts—making him the first Asian artist in history to achieve this feat.
4/4 He has a secret skill for completing Rubik’s Cubes
He has a knack for completing Rubik’s Cubes, and has completed one in as little as 21 seconds. He has even competed internationally in Rubik’s Cube competitions and is an official member of the World Cube Association. He’s even shown off his skills on stage and while being interviewed.
See more Gen.T honourees from the Entertainment category of the Gen.T List 2020