While Arpan Kumar chandel remains a small-town boy at heart, his evolution from a u.p. native to music sensation ‘King’ is the thing dreams are made of. His songs are earworms that have taken over charts — even more so since his recent collaboration with Nick Jonas. The superstar rapper shares with HELLO! his meteoric rise to fame, upcoming projects and the love he holds for his ‘King’s clan’
HELLO!: What made you choose your stage name, King?
King: “I draw inspiration from Elvis Presley and Shah Rukh Khan. They may have subconsciously driven the selection of my name. I guess it was destiny!”
H!: How did Arpan Kumar Chandel from Uttar Pradesh become one of India’s most loved rappers?
K: “My extended ‘King’s Clan’ will know that best. It blows my mind when I look around and see the family I now have. The people who listen to my music and buy tickets to watch me perform and constantly support and love me like their brother. They’re connected to my journey because I’m just a regular guy from Delhi who started with a dream and is working hard to achieve it. My fans have been with me since Day 1, from my first day on MTV Hustle to the day we landed on Spotify world charts. So when I achieve something, they achieve something.”
H!: What led you to pursue music?
K: “I went to college in Delhi and realised very early on that a corporate job wasn’t going to be my cup of tea. I didn’t give up on college though. I even got a job to start my career. But I had already begun to pursue music because I knew that was my calling.”
H!: You were one of the top finalists on MTV Hustle. What did that experience teach you?
K: “MTV Hustle was probably one of the biggest experiences of my life. It taught me the importance of consistency, and that you can’t take anything for granted. It gave me the audience to play my music to, as well as my ‘King’s Clan’ that’s rooted for me all through and stuck with me till date.”
H!: Your collaboration with Nick Jonas for ‘Maan Meri Jaan (Afterlife)’ is so catchy! Tell us more about this.
K: “It’s been an overwhelming experience to witness the journey of ‘Maan Meri Jaan’ since its release in 2022. Watching a song take over a country and then cross borders to global charts is like a dream come true. ‘Afterlife’ is the perfect crescendo the song could have achieved, with Nick Jonas jumping on it. We gave a brand new twist to the emotion of love beyond death with this mix, and we hope the audience will love the visuals that bring together both our identities.”
H!: The songs from your album Champagne Talk are all the rage now. Which is your favourite track from the lot?
K: “It’s difficult to pin down a favourite. What I presented as Champagne Talk was honestly a handpicked choice of songs very close to my heart. I’ve always said I wanted the album to be like a colour box, for listeners to pick an emotional zone they were in at any point of time, and there’d be a song to fit their mindspace. ‘Maan Meri Jaan’ is not my song anymore; it’s the entire nation’s love language now. But ‘Na Ja Tu’, ‘Broken Dreams’ and ‘OOPS’ are all tracks that will definitely make you connect to an emotion.
H!: Not much is known about your personal life. Can you give us a little insight into it?
K: “I come from Delhi, from a regular family. I used to play football till state level, but destiny had different plans. So now I do what I do. I love food, and I love cars. There isn’t much beyond this!”
H!: What makes you happy?
K: “Good food, my people around me, driving around in Delhi and home make me truly happy.”
H!: What did you do with your first big paycheck?
K: “I’m not much of a splurger. I bought a car and a grand meal for my friends. That’s all I needed.”
H!: How does the rest of the year look like for you?
K: “I’ll be touring the US, Canada and the UK for the first time ever this September. I will be dropping my long overdue album, New Life this year, as well. There are also a couple of unexpected collaborations that I can’t talk about at this juncture, but they’ll definitely get you dancing. I also have a few songs in films that I’m very excited about. I just announced Blanko, my own brand through which I want to keep offering my fans little parts of my life. And I’ll be ending the year with an India tour, which I’m the most excited about. There’s a lot of things in the pipeline. I won’t stop.”
Photos: Trisha Sarang; Styling: Anushree Sardesai & Richa Mehta; Assisted By: Jhanvi Khatwani; Hair: Javed Sheikh; Makeup: Swapnil Haldankar; Location Courtesy: The Quorum, Mumbai
This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the May 2023 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!