|Ricky Kej Quick Info|
|Height||6 ft 2 in|
|Date of Birth||August 5, 1981|
Ricky Kej is an Indian music composer and environmentalist who first came into the spotlight in 2015 when he won a Grammy Award for Winds of Samsara in the category of ‘Best New Age Album’. Winds of Samsara, his 14th studio album, debuted at number one on the US Billboard New Age Albums music chart in August 2014, the first time a person of Indian origin had achieved this feat. One of the pioneering figures of the non-film music scene in India, Ricky dedicated his Grammy win to non-film music composers in the country. In 2022, he won a 2nd Grammy Award for his album Divine Tides – in the category of ‘Best New Age Album’. The same album, in 2023, won him his 3rd Grammy Award – this time in the category of ‘Best Immersive Audio Album’. As of May 2023, he has published around 20 studio albums but most of them have been released outside India – due to the poor music-buying culture in the country and the dominance of the Hindi film-music industry. Ricky has performed at concerts and events in venues in more than 30 countries and has been associated with several environmental and humanitarian organizations, campaigns, and advocacy groups.
North Carolina, United States
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Ricky had attended Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, an all-boys school for boarders and day scholars in Bengaluru. He later studied dentistry at the Oxford Dental College, also in Bengaluru, and completed a degree in dental surgery.
Music Composer, Environmentalist
- Father – Gyan Kej (Physician)
- Mother – Pammi Kej
- Siblings – He has a brother who is an orthodontist.
- Others – Janaki Das (Grandfather) (Freedom Fighter, Actor, Cyclist)
World Music, Dance, Electronic, New Age, Hindustani Classical, Carnatic
Vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Guitar
- Ricky Kej Records
- Merchant Records
- Universal Music
- BToS Productions
- Strumm Entertainment
- Raveolution Studios
- Zee Music
- Listen 2 Africa
- EMI – Virgin
- Varese Sarabande
- Free Spirit Records
- Anand Audio
6 ft 2 in or 188 cm
85 kg or 187.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Ricky has dated –
- Varsha Gowda (2013-Present) – Ricky first met Varsha Gowda in 2006 but the pair began dating only in 2013. They eventually got married in 2014. Before the wedding, Varsha was working as the assistant vice president of an advertising and PR firm. Post-marriage, she began managing Ricky’s public relations.
Race / Ethnicity
- Mildly stocky frame
- Side-parted, wavy hair
- Sports a trimmed beard
- Cheerful smile
- Puffy face
Ricky Kej Facts
- Born in North Carolina, United States, Ricky, and his family moved to Bengaluru, India, when he was about 8 years old. He has lived there ever since.
- Although he studied dentistry, he did not pursue a career in the medical field and instead joined a progressive rock band that gave him exposure to modern music. His decision to pursue a career in the music industry did not quite go down well with his parents.
- Ricky started his career as the keyboardist of a Bengaluru-based progressive rock band called Angel Dust. About 2 years later, he became a full-time music composer and established a studio called Raveolution (in 2003). He went on to create music for numerous advertisement jingles and local films.
- He composed the music for the opening ceremony of the 2011 edition of the ICC (International Cricket Council) Cricket World Cup that was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on February 17, 2011.
- In November 2015, Ricky’s album Shanti Samsara – World Music for Environmental Consciousness was launched at COP 21 (the 2015 edition of the United Nations (the world’s largest and most well-known international intergovernmental organization) Climate Change Conference) by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. The album was one of several projects that were discussed during a meeting between prime minister Modi and Ricky following the latter’s first Grammy Award win in February 2015.
- Shanti Samsara – World Music for Environmental Consciousness included contributions from more than 300 actors, artists, and musicians from around the world on its 24 tracks and 4 music videos. Ricky has mentioned in multiple interviews that this project was inspired by prime minister Modi’s concern for the environment and the duo’s aforementioned meeting.
- In 2018, he released My Earth Songs – a set of 27 tracks, each based on one or more United Nations ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (a collection of 17 interlinked objectives that serve as a shared blueprint for the peace and prosperity of Earth) to inspire the younger generation to make a positive impact on our planet.
- Ricky has also partnered with UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide) to translate these songs into several different Indian and global languages. The lyrics of these songs, as of May 2023, had been published in more than 5 million textbooks – mostly in English, Hindi, and Kannada (spoken predominantly by the people of Ricky’s home state of Karnataka in southwestern India).
- In 2020, he collaborated with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a United Nations agency mandated to aid, protect, and resettle refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people) and the MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, situated in New Delhi, India) to release a song titled Shine Your Light.
- The track was a collaboration between Indian artists and refugee artists who had been persecuted for their love of music. It was performed in 4 different languages (English, Dari, Farsi, and Pashto) by 24 young refugee musicians living in India. In December 2022, Ricky was appointed a ‘UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador’.
- His life journey as a musician has been included in the curriculum that is taught to 7th-grade students in India who study under the ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) board.
Featured Image by Ricky Kej / Instagram