Bohemia (rapper)

Native name بوہیمیا
Born (1979-10-15) 15 October 1979
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan[1]
Residence San Francisco, California, United States
Spouse(s) Sunny David (m. 2016)

Musical career

Genres Desi hip hop
Years active 2001–present
Labels Kali Denali Music, Universal Music India, Sony Music India, T-Series SEGA Music

Roger David aka bohemia (Punjabi: راجر ڈیویڈ; born 15 October 1979)[2] better known by his stage name Bohemia (Punjabi: ਬੋਹੇਮਿਆ) or Raja (Punjabi: ਰਾਜਾ) is a Pakistani-American rapper, songwriter, poet and record producer from California regarded as the first ever Punjabi rapper, releasing the first Punjabi rap album in 2002.

Early life

Bohemia was born on 15 October 1979 in Karachi, Sindh[3] into an ethnic Punjabi, Christian family. He also has a bible and a Guru Granth Sahib at his home, as one of his forefathers was Sikh at one point. His father was an employee at Pakistan International Airline. The family were transferred to Lahore, where he spent his childhood, followed by seven years in Peshawar. While he was in his early teens his family moved to the United States, settling in San Francisco's Mission District.

Bohemia started learning music from his father, and writing Punjabi poetry around that time.[1] He occasionally played keyboards at local Desi events. He wrote songs and poetry, mostly in Urdu and Punjabi. His mother died of cancer[3] when he was 16 years old. At the same time he got a job at a recording studio in Sacramento. He dropped out of school and left his family to become a full-time musician. Along with a group of other musicians, he toured and playing gigs in the US and Canada, sleeping in cars and on recording studio floors.

He moved to join his cousin in Oakland, who was working at a West Oakland recording studio, and introduced him to a young hip hop producer called Sha One. Sha 0ne heard Bohemia reciting something he had written in Punjabi, and asked him to rap it over one of his beats. Over the next few months, Bohemia wrote the lyrics for his debut album Vich Pardesan De (In The Foreign Land) – an autobiographical story of his life as a Desi youngster adapting to life in the US. This album was a new genre of music which is today known as Desi Hip hop. Bohemia claims to be inspired by the poets Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mirza Ghalib and Allama Iqbal. He said in an interview, "People like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirza Ghalib are our icons and most of my poetry is inspired by them.[4] For instance, in one of my songs, I talk about 'going beyond the stars', the idea of which is essentially taken from Allama Iqbal's 'Sitaron Se Aagay Jahan Aur Bhi Hain'."[1]


His independent debut album, Vich Pardesan De reached the Top 10 on BBC Radio UK in 2002. The following album, Pesa Nasha Pyar [Money, intoxication, love][5] became the first full-length Punjabi rap album released by a major label. He subsequently signed a multi-record deal with music label Universal Music Group [2006 – 2009]. In 2006 Pesa Nasha Pyar was on the Top 10 downloads of Maxim, and No. 3 on Planet M chart India.[3] Da Rap Star, his third album, received four nominations at the UK Asian Music Awards and PTC Punjabi music awards It also remained at No. 1 on Planet M chart several weeks.[6] Bohemia toured in 2009. performing in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia. He has appeared on several of Universal India's compilations.

Bohemia in 2011

He performed the title track for Warner Bros film Chandni Chowk to China, appearing in the film with Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone.[7] A few months later he did the title track for another Akshay Kumar film, 8 x 10 Tasveer.[8] In 2011 he gave a song as a present to Akshay Kumar for his first Hollywood Production Breakaway.[9] Bohemia also made a voice performance for the film Desi Boyz to set the cameo scene for Sanjay Dutt. In September 2012 he released his fourth album Thousand Thoughts.[10] In 2013, it won Best Non-Resident Punjabi Album award at PTC Punjabi Music Awards.[11] At the Coke Studio Sessions he was the first rap artist, appearing in their fifth season where he performed three songs. Bohemia has also recorded a collaboration with Sonu Kakkar and Jamaican American artist Sean Kingston.[12]

Bohemia performing in the United States.

In May 2012, Sony Music India signed Bohemia. As part of the association, Sony Music managed his music albums, launches and shows under its artist management program.[13][14][15] In 2014 Bohemia decided to go independent under his own music label Kali Denali Music.[16] Bohemia appeared in XXL magazine in New York.[6]

Awards and nominations

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2010 "Da Rap Star" Best Punjabi Album at PTC Punjabi music awards Nominated
2010 "Da Rap Star" Best Sound Recording at PTC Punjabi music awards Nominated
2010 "Da Rap Star" Best Punjabi Music Director at PTC Punjabi music awards Nominated
2010 "Da Rap Star" Best International Album at UK Asian Music Awards Nominated
2013 "Thousand Thoughts" Best International Album at PTC Punjabi music awards Won



Year Album Artist Music Director
2002 Vich Pardesan De Bohemia Bohemia
2006 Pesa Nasha Pyar Bohemia Bohemia, Mixman Shawn
2009 Da Rap Star Bohemia Bohemia
2012 Gulabi Jasmine Sandlas Bohemia
2012 Thousand Thoughts Bohemia Bohemia
2016 KDM Mixtape Vol. 1 Various artists Various artists
2016 Skull & Bones (The Final Chapter) Bohemia Bohemia

Film Soundtracks

Movie Song Year
Chandni Chowk to China Chandni Chowk to China 2009
8 x 10 Tasveer I Got the Picture 2009
Breakaway Sansaar 2011
Desi boyz Subha Hone Na De 2011
Faraar Taur 2015


Coke Studio


  1. 1 2 3 Mahmood, Rafay. "Bohemia: More than just forties and shorties". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  2. "TDIM – Bohemia's Birthday – 15th Oct". 15 October 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 Bohemia (30 August 2012). "Bio". Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  4. "BBC Radio 1 – Nihal, Tabla Soul Session with Swaati, Bohemia talks with Nihal". BBC. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  5. "iTunes – Music – Pesa Nasha Pyar by Bohemia". iTunes. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Bohemia Bio | Bohemia Career". MTV. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  7. jfsocc (16 January 2009). "Chandni Chowk to China (2009)". IMDb. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  8. manojharisree (3 April 2009). "8 x 10 Tasveer (2009)". IMDb. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  9. "Sansaar [Breakaway 2011]". Bohemia The Punjabi Rapper. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  10. "iTunes – Music – Thousand Thoughts by Bohemia". iTunes. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  11. "PTC Punjabi Music Awards winners". The Times of India. 25 March 2013.
  12. "BOHEMIA, IRAJ, SEAN KINGSTON". BOHEMIA. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  13. "Sony Music signs Punjabi rapper Bohemia". Daily News & Analysis. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  14. "Neha Kakkar Akhiyan Lyrics Bohemia Raps". Indian Times. 27 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  15. "Sony Music signs singer Bohemia". Times of India. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  16. "Main". BOHEMIA. Retrieved 9 March 2015.

External links

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