A few months ago, Nikhil Datta bested hundreds of other musicians to win Power 107.5's "Are You Radio Ready?" contest. The victory affirmed what fans already knew: The hip-hop artist of Indian descent was set to make waves.

A few months ago, Nikhil Datta bested hundreds of other musicians to win Power 107.5ís ďAre You Radio Ready?Ē contest. The victory affirmed what fans already knew: The hip-hop artist of Indian descent was set to make waves.

Known as Khil on stage, Datta has opened for several national acts and will soon drop a mixtape featuring Dead Prez, Freeway, Machine Gun Kelly, Project Pat and Freeway.

From his Downtown studio, Datta shared about passion, performing and perseverance.

The first big show that my group and I opened up for was Clipse. That was really our entrance into the hip-hop community in Columbus. Originally, we were doing shows in the Indian community.

The respect crossover was kind of difficult, but that type of thing doesnít bother me. There are a lot of Indian artists out there that will say, ďPeople donít look past my ethnicity.Ē Iím not really big on that. My thing is that if you have talent ó and youíre confident in your talent ó people will respect you. That wasnít the biggest hurdle.

Iím the kind of person who likes to work hard under any circumstances.

The biggest hurdle is the culture weíre brought up on. Our parents sacrificed everything they had to come to this country. The way our parents think is: Do something stable. Become a doctor. Become a lawyer. They just look at us like itís a joke, itís a game and that weíre going to be unsuccessful.

The best advice Iíve ever received was from M1 of Dead Prez. He told me not to worry about anything from any outside sources, meaning my family or the criticizers out there. This was the biggest thing he told me: ďFocus on your message and run with it.Ē

My message is perseverance. What I try to talk about is motivating and inspiring yourself above all odds. Iím not going to talk about my hardships and my struggles, and hereís why: Thereís people out there who have it way harder than me.

The best moment in my career so far was having my song played on 107.5.

Three things I canít live without are my music, support from my team and support from my fans. If there was a No. 4, Iíd say the haters. I love the hate and the support equally.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? Email John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.

Photo by Will Shilling