Music Bio

Rajko began playing guitar aged 16, taking one of his father’s guitars and learning  simple guitar riff from a friend. Prior to this Rajko had learned some basic piano from his mother and a little drums from his brother, but never more than dabbled with music.

“I seem to remember the first thing I learned on guitar was the intro riff for Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. I didn’t even know the song at the time, but a friend showed me the riff and it was quite fun to play…over and over and over.”

Following this, and inspired principally by the solo work of artists such as Cat Stevens, Eric Clapton, Paul Weller and David Gray,

Rajko began to teach himself as many tunes as he could learn, from friends, family, books or most often simply from listening. Not content simply to play, Rajko learned guitar in order to also be able to sing,

“ I didn’t feel fully comfortable to get up and sing in front of people, but given an instrument between me and the audience, suddenly I found I quite enjoyed singing in front of people ”

At age 17 Rajko began writing songs and at age 21 took his first paid residential gig at the Newshouse in Loughborough. The regular Sunday evening acoustic gig eventually became one of the venues busiest nights and as well as helping Rajko pay his university bills, it was the place where Rajko began to develop his confidence as both a musical performer and an entertainer.

It was whilst at University that Rajko realised that his musical ambitions lay beyond simply learning a few cover tunes and entertaining friends:

“I realised that what I loved more than anything was to create new music. Of course I loved to entertain people with music, but even more so I loved to express myself through new music…and create something out of nothing. For me that’s a magic of music that captivates me most – the idea that I can take a feeling within me, or an experience, and turn that into a combination of words and notes that tell the story much better than I possibly could in conversation.”

At university Rajko joined up with older brother Luka and best friend James Silcox to form the band 7Law (originally called LuRajJam), taking Rajko out of his comfort zone of chilled-out acoustic folk, and into the excitingly unfamiliar territory of Rock music. Winning Bath University Battle of the Bands, and recording a simple demo CD, the band went on to perform at many of London’s top live music venues, in a two year jaunt that included hiring an open sided Truck and performing live outside Radio 1 and MTV studios in London.

Eventually the band decided to ‘call it a day’ as each member realised that life could not go ‘on-hold’ for the band indefinitely:

“I don’t think any of us wanted to stop playing as a band – in fact we wanted with all our hearts to make it work…but in the end we just concluded that if it was not necessarily going to become a legitimate career for all of us, then we wanted to be accountable to ourselves, not each other. For me it was not the end of my music journey, but it did require me to let go of something I really believed in. And to this day I still believe in that band and think we should recorded an album – but it will happen at the right time.”

As the band played its final London gig, Rajko took the opportunity to return to his acoustic guitar and original musical influences, but with the added benefit of exposure to a different genre of music, and considerable experience on the live-performance scene. In 2005 he began writing material for a solo album and joined forces with guitarist Nik Ironside Wood, to create an acoustic ensemble to back up the solo acoustic guitar and vocal. The duo were soon joined by talented Cellist Adrianne Winninsky to complete the band, and began independently recording the album:

“Most of the album was either recorded in my bedroom or the living room of part time producer and friend Jeff Ross. Some of the equipment we used was pretty good – and some of it was really basic – but I knew that what I wanted to create needed to be as simple and pure as possible, and so I was more than happy to work with what I had.”

Lacking the financial resources to book into a music studio, the recording process was stretched over many months, seeing Rajko taking any and every opportunity he could to record a vocal track here, a guitar part there…and gradually piecing together song by song. All in all, the process took almost two years, and more significantly threatened to never quite reach completion.

“I think the hardest part about it was knowing that despite all the effort and struggle to make it happen, it still may never get completed and even if it did, there would still be  aspects to the recording that were not as good as I knew they could be. Not because I wasn’t committed to doing my absolute best – in fact more often than not I was too much of a perfectionist, paying attention to every single little note or the way I sang one particular word – but more so the problem was simply lacking the facilities, time, finances and recording experience to get the best out of myself with tiny windows of opportunity and band members living in different parts of the country.  I’ve often said, completing that album was harder than most of the challenges I faced on Last Man Standing!”

In 2007 Rajko released the album ‘Poor as a Church Mouse’ independently through Itunes, Amazon and CDBaby as well as performing album launches at key venues across London. He then went on to tour West and East Coast USA, performing at venues such as New York’s ‘Cutting Room’ and ‘The Bitter End’, and L.A’s Tangier and Hollywood Borders Bookstore. However, the most rewarding performance of all was to be an invitation to play at Guarnerius Classical Music Chamber in Belgrade, Serbia.

“It was not just the honour of playing at such a wonderful venue, but the culmination of a couple of years of playing together as a band. It was the most magical performance of all.”

Appearing on State Television and Belgrade Radio, Rajko and band completed a week of performances to conclude the Album tour, and return to the UK to begin new chapters.

Having dedicated 2010 to launching the Hour of Power workout and Maximuscle Dragan Challenge, Rajko took time also to step away from professional music for the first time in more than 5years. Putting ambitions of recording and performing on the backburner whilst dedicating himself to his work in fitness, Rajko began writing and developing material for a second album – one which would draw not only on his love of the acoustic guitar, but equally on his new found appreciation of the power of rock music, driving rhythms and high energy performances.

“The next album is still going to be acoustic guitar driven because I love the raw power of an acoustic guitar strummed hard or finger-picked with wonderful clarity and bite. But I’m also going to make sure I give myself space to concentrate more on my singing and really giving it some when I perform. I no longer feel like I need to hold a guitar to have the confidence to sing, and in fact I’m excited to have the freedom to just sing out with all I’ve got – without having to worry about hitting the right chord! I also wanna concentrate on really giving my performances some energy and dynamism, so that people listening have something to latch on to. Album one was introspective, calm and reflective. Album two will be rockin!”

In 2011, Rajko will still be working around a non-stop schedule of training, challenges and Hour of Power promotion, however expect to see Rajko returning once again to the musical stage for key performances throughout the year, building up to the recording of a new album later in 2011.

To follow Rajko’s musical developments, live performance schedule and to find out more about Rajko’s songs, visit www.rajkomusic.com