Rhea Raj (born 5 April 2000) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress based in New York City. Her style fuses pop music with dance and hip hop.
Early life and education
Rhea Raj was born in Stamford, Connecticut to Indian parents. Her mother taught classical Indian and Bollywood dance, where Rhea first developed her love for music as a child. She started taking voice, piano, and guitar lessons at the age of 10 and began performing at venues like the House of Blues, Hard Rock Cafe, and American Airlines Center for Dallas Stars hockey games. In September 2018, Rhea Raj enrolled in New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.
Rhea Raj started writing songs at the age of 12, and released her first EP, Neon, in 2014. She performed songs from the EP on CBS and ABC, and was invited to open for musician AJ Rafael in Dallas, Texas on his Matchmaker Tour and the Chetna charity gala where she performed in front of supermodel Iman.
In 2016, Rhea Raj competed on the final season of the original run of American Idol and her audition aired nationally on FOX. Jennifer Lopez praised her performance, “You have like this breathy quality in your voice which is really really pretty. I like it. Your voice matches your vibe, matches how you look… it’s all working for me.
Rhea uploaded a cover of “I Got You” by Bebe Rexha to her YouTube channel in 2016, which she fully recorded and produced at home. The video was picked up by MTV in 2017 as a promotional video for their Cover of the Month campaign. Bebe Rexha then shared Rhea’s original YouTube video on her Instagram and Twitter, which received a large international response. The following year, Glamour Magazine included the cover in their YouTube series “You Sang My Song”, where Bebe Rexha watched the Rhea’s video, saying, “you are amazing, you are super talented. I just love your vibe, your voice, the tone of your voice… you got it girl.”
In 2017, Rhea Raj acted and starred in NYU Graduate Student short film “Hasim October”, which premiered at NYU’s Cantor Film Center. The film was screened at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival on 20 September 2018.
Rhea was invited to sing at a United Nations global delegates conference in May of 2017 in New York City.
From 2017 to 2018, Rhea Raj wrote and sang on over twenty songs with producers and artists from around the world. Her international presence grew online after starring in several music videos for these songs.
Her collaboration “Tidal Waves” with Tom Ferro and Gil Sanders was released through Armada Music in 2017. Their second song together, “Overdrive” was signed to Dutch record label Future House Music and released a few months later. Nicky Romero played “Overdrive” on his Protocol Radio station.
The same year, Rhea’s song “Ride With You” with American producer MVJESTY was placed in LA Galaxy’s Monthly Mixtape video with Chevrolet.
In November 2017, “Far Away” by Rhea Raj and producers AVAE and Her Mind, was shared by The Chainsmokers on SoundCloud.
In 2018, Rhea released a single “All Your Love” with Brazilian EDM duo Gudi through Sony Brasil. The song was featured in MTV Brasil’s The Music Journal.
Rhea had a second song through Future House Music called “Intertwine” with Polish producer Zary.
In April 2019, Rhea Raj released her single “2AM” and its music video, in collaboration with producer UpsideDown. “2AM” aired on BBC Radio 1 the following month, where Rhea discussed the song’s background in an interview. She performed “2AM” live in New York City, opening for artists The PropheC and Arjun.
Rhea released a solo single “You’re a Star” in May 2019.
Rhea Raj’s younger sister, Lara Raj, is also a singer and actress. She appeared in Michelle Obama’s Global Girls Alliance campaign video in 2019 as one of the lead performers.