Carry on Carry: How Ajey Nagar turned into YouTube sensation CarryMinati

As YouTuber Carry Minati makes his debut as a playback singer in The Big Bull, we talk to the rapper, singer, gaming and roasting specialist.

Known to 29.5 million people on YouTube as CarryMinati, Asia’s no 1 YouTuber Ajey Nagar has quite literally grown-up creating content for the web. In a new milestone for Ajey, his hugely popular song Yalgaar, composed by Wily Frenzy, has now been turned into the title track for the upcoming film, The Big Bull starring Abhishek Bachchan. The film will mark his first outing as a ‘playback singer’ in Bollywood, adding a new achievement to Ajey’s list of accomplishments as a rapper, singer, gaming and roasting specialist.

Ajey was just 10 years old when he discovered YouTube and was intrigued by the possibilities it offered him. After spending three years experimenting with the platform, Ajey decided at 13 that he wanted to pursue a career as a digital content creator. “It was all very organic,” Ajey says. “I remember in the start, I used to record myself doing all these crazy football tactics so that I could replay it a million times and learn from my slipups to ace the sport. Little did I know at that time I’d be doing content creation for a living.”

Ajey shares that he was a reserved child who had difficulties expressing himself, but creating content for YouTube helped him gain confidence. Talking about how he took such a huge leap of faith at such a young age, Ajey says, “It was a very intuitive calling for me. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t want to do this because it is my passion project. In my earlier days, I told myself even if I don’t succeed, I would still be doing this. That was my mentality during that time and nothing has changed since.”

The digital prodigy who grew up in Faridabad luckily had the complete support of his parents who encouraged him to follow his passion, but insisted he complete his education via long distance learning. Though he did miss out on a ‘regular’ childhood and doing the things kids his age usually do as teenagers, Ajey has no regrets because he was completely immersed in his passion.

Over the years, Ajey has mastered the art of roasting, reaction videos, and video game live streaming. He helpfully elaborated on each of these. “Roasting is picking out things that are funny and making a new video or product out of it. In reaction videos, you’re just watching a video and reacting to it, while making comments like ‘oh nice’, ‘ha’ and ‘cool’. Video game live streaming is an interactive activity where creators record themselves playing games to a live audience online.” In 2017, Ajey also launched a separate channel, ‘CarryisLive’ where he plays video games while doing live interactions with his subscribers.

But while all these forms of content creation have made him immensely popular, Ajey’s real love is music, and the songs he writes seem to have struck a chord with those who follow him. Talking about what makes music special, Ajey shares, “Music helps me express myself better since I’m quite the introvert. Music helps me speak my soul language. The response to my music releases has always been encouraging and now music is also part of my primary passion along with content creation and streaming.”

Interestingly, though he has spent over a decade of his professional life on the platform, Ajey shares that he is still trying to understand the algorithm and how it works. But there is one thing he is sure of, “Disruptive content is the king of online media today, and the algorithm loves you the most when content riles the audience up”. So while content has to be relatable and entertaining, one needs to constantly think outside the box.

But are there times, when the pressure of being constantly creative gets overwhelming? How does someone like him stay motivated and inspired to create and connect on a regular basis? Ajey responds, “There are times when I feel this will be my last video and now, I will do something else but that day never comes as I recall the hundreds of emails, messages, comments of fans talking about how my videos helped them overcome difficult situations and this gives me the motivation to do what I do every single day”. He does try and go with the flow instead of setting rigid deadlines and quantifying his goals. Having a second channel also helps, because he can take a break from either one when he feels like it.

But even with 29.5 million subscribers, being named ‘Next Generation Leader’ by TIME magazine in 2019 and being not just India’s but Asia’s most popular content creator on YouTube, Ajey is not one to rest on his laurels. He shares that he has a very clear vision for the future, where he wants to see himself become one of the world’s top 5 content creators. He adds, “The next milestone is to represent India on the world stage when it comes to content creation, music and gaming and further stretch my wings and keep flying.”

While 2020 was a year where content creators like him managed to keep millions entertained as we spent months locked in our homes, Ajey feels that the pandemic either made people more dependent on content online or forced them to disconnect and make time for some much-needed soul searching. “Personally, 2020 was an eye-opener for me in many ways. I realised that we are very disconnected and dysfunctional as a society and we need to show up for one another more frequently” Ajey adds. He also plans to work on a motivational podcast this year which will be an extension of his existing CarryMinati universe.

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