Jovan had the opportunity to chat with Canadian artist M Dhadwal who will be featuring on Patwant Singh's 'Taareyan Naal' track.
What can you tell us about the new upcoming track “Taareyan Naal”?
Taareyan Naal is a romantic track that I wrote and sang myself, with Patwant Singh producing the music. It’s written from a first person perspective of someone who is missing the person they love; however, I intentionally wrote the song in a way that the lyrics could be interpreted in both a happy or sad meaning.
Where did the idea come from for the lyrics and the music?
Specifically with Taareyan Naal, I started writing it back in 2012 and the lyrics evolved over the years into what you hear today. Like with any good piece of work, it took a couple years of editing and creating different versions until i was able to get it to a point where I was satisfied with how it flowed.
When it comes to writing the lyrics, I have always enjoyed challenging myself by writing in Punjabi. Growing up in Canada, Punjabi was not as widespread as it is today, but I had the opportunity to learn how to read and write Punjabi through the Gurudwara. It’s funny; my brain works in mysterious ways. I find that I write positive pieces of work when I am feeling down and write emotional pieces when I am in a happy mood.
In regards to the music, as Patwant Singh mentioned in his interview last week, the song kind of just happened. After talking for a couple years about collaborating on a track, I had actually gone into the studio to record a bhangra track. But after Patwant showed me the beat I just started singing the lyrics for Taareyan Naal and things took off from that point.
We worked together on bringing both the lyrics and music together: I fine-tuned the composition and Patwant flexed his knowledge in music production to put together musical pieces that would flow well with the track.
How long has this process taken to release this track and music video? What was involved in making it all happen?
As i mentioned, I started writing the lyrics in 2012. Patwant Singh and I started collaborating on this track in 2014, and recorded the video in 2015. It’s been a long journey to get to where we are today, but the knowledge I gained through this experience has been invaluable for my development as an artist.
Countless sleepless nights, late night studio sessions, and random thoughts scribbled into a notebook. Any producer or recording artist can relate to the fact that there are days you listen to your own track so many times your ears just go numb. This process has taught me a lot in regards to how much hard work and dedication goes into creating a quality track.
This process also taught me that I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to music. Patwant can attest to this simply by the number of vocal takes I did. If it didn’t sound right, I had to redo it. It was the same with the video. This track is a labor of love, and although it has taken 2 years to finally release, I hope that people connect to and enjoy this track just as much as we do.
What inspired you to be a Punjabi musician and when was it that you first thought about actually getting into singing?
Growing up I was always musically inclined. I took part in school choirs and bands, and always had a natural gift towards musical instruments and singing. I grew up around music and bhangra, as my dad’s brother was one of the first people in Edmonton to play dhol and start a bhangra team. Music and bhangra have always been a part of my life growing up.
In that vein, a lot of my singing has been me being in the right place at the right time. I was fortunate enough to begin learning classical Indian music at the age of 14 from a Ph.D graduate from Punjab University who had recently moved to my city. Through formalized training and the learning of raags, I began to appreciate and gain interest in classical music. With my knowledge and foundation based in classical music, the stars aligned for me again when I met my vocal coach Baljit Kalsi a few years ago. He has helped me refine my vocal talents, and continues to help me develop into a better vocalist.
Music is such a deep language and I believe that formalized training is essential if you aspire to be a vocalist. Even if you are not pursuing singing as a profession, raag and the history of music is so beautiful, it is great to understand the origins of where our music comes from.
Can you tell us about one specific incident or situation that made you realize your passion for singing?
Growing up, I would always be singing and dancing around the house. I would take blankets and make pretend stages in the living room and sing for hours for my family and neighbours. I had multiple opportunities to perform at cultural shows and at the Gurudwara as well. There isn’t one particular incident or situation that made me realize my passion for singing; I’ve just always had the itch for music in my blood.
As an artist trying to make a breakthrough in the Punjabi music industry do you think you’re at a disadvantage because you’re in the Canadian market compared to being in the UK or India music scene?
No, every market is different and the Canadian market has its benefits and disadvantages aswell. If we take a look back in history to the 90’s and early 2000’s artists like Jazzy B and RDB were considered “Canadian artists” and look where they are now. Jazzy B and Manj are now synonymous with Punjabi music, so I don’t think being Canadian is any disadvantage.
We have such amazing talent emerging onto the scene in this country such as: PropheC, Randy J, Deep Jandu, Fateh, Harj Nagra, En Karma, Raju Johal, Rayman Bhullar, DJ Intense and Hans Maan just to name a few. Canadian music is blossoming and I think we will see a strong surge of Canadian talent in the upcoming years.
The track cover is very creative who did the design for it?
Gurjot at Dimaag Media made the cover and video for Taareyan Naal, follow him on instagram @dimaagmedia, very talented artist!
If you could work with any artist in the industry, who would it be and why?
I always attribute my inspiration to start singing to Jazzy B. As a kid whenever I heard “Londono Patola,” no matter what I was doing, where I was, if that song came on I would stop and just listen to the song from start to finish. From there I gained an appreciation of artists like Kuldeep Manak. It would be an honour to one-day work with Jazzy B. That being said, I would love the opportunity to work with any artist. Every artist has his or her own unique style and bring a wealth of knowledge. It would a valuable experience to learn from any artist in the industry.
Who do you model your singing style after?
I would like to say no one in particular. I listen to a wide range of Punjabi music and I like to draw elements from multiple styles of music.
Versatility is very important when it comes to singing, especially in Punjabi music. I enjoy challenging myself and singing outside of my comfort zone at times. To be a true Punjabi artist it is important to know our history through vaars, and kaliyan etc. because that style of singing is very different from singing these days. It is important to remember artists like Kuldeep Manak, Dilshad Akhtar, Surinder Kaur and others, for without them there would be no such thing as Punjabi music.
What do you have to do to be successful in the industry?
As I alluded to before, work hard and be confident in your abilities. If you have talent, people will notice you and they will appreciate what you bring. Being honest and genuine is also important. We are nothing without those people who helped us get to where we are today and it is important to always acknowledge them and appreciate your supporters.
What do you think makes you different than anyone else in Punjabi music?
Every artist brings something unique to the industry, what sets me apart from other artists is my desire to learn. The Punjabi music industry has a vast history and is entwined with years of knowledge and skill. I strive to learn from any artist I encounter and incorporate their teachings into my style. Vocal versatility and adaptability is what sets me apart from the others.
Did you think of using a different stage name rather than just your name and what were the ideas you floated around?
Ever since I was a kid, I always imagined my stage name being M Dhadwal. I would dream endlessly about singing on stage under that name. My last name being unique in itself helps catch the attention of people as well.
Considering how music has evolved over the years, what do you still see is continuing today that you grew up with?
A lot has changed from when I first started listening to Punjabi music until now. The 90’s were primarily focused on production and the incorporation of live instruments into compositions, the early 2000’s saw a rise in sampling beats in production, and in recent years there has been a strong resurgence of incorporating elements from mainstream western music into Punjabi songs.
One thing that I really appreciate seeing is the respect given to the pioneers of Punjabi music. Although, there are still artists and lyricist that insist on producing tracks that promote negative behaviours, in recent times there has also been an awareness given on preserving our culture.
Artists like Jazzy B, Ranjit Bawa, and Ninja amongst others make music that appeals to the current youth but still promote our culture by shedding light onto those artists who came before us. I also hope to continue with this trend and promote our culture through music and live performances.
We see so many artists releasing one track and then we never hear from them again, how do you plan on sticking around?
Quite simply, my undying passion for making good music. If one of my tracks resonates with even one person, I am happy. I just want to make music that people will enjoy, and I hope that fans of Punjabi music will embrace my style and passion for Punjabi music.
What is your favourite all time song, favourite artist and your current favourites?
Oh boy, I don’t think I can pick one favourite song of all time. There are quite a few songs that hold a special place in my heart, some that come to mind off the top of my head are: Rukhaan Wangu by Sabar Koti, Mann Vich Vasna by Dilshad Akhtar, Mere Shauk Da Nahin by Ghulam Ali, Moda Maar Ke by Surjit Bindrakhia and of course Londono Patola by Jazzy B.
I’ve mentioned quite a few artists throughout the interview that I listen to on a frequent basis, Jazzy B, Dilshaad Akhtar, Sabar Koti, Lakhwinder Wadali and a whole bunch of others. I love listening to all types of music. Current artists that I enjoy listening to would include Ninja, Ranjit Bawa, Firoz Khan and Manmohan Waris just to name a few.
What do you think about the current state of the Punjabi music industry and things like YouTube views and iTunes charts?
It is what it is. Artists who are buying views usually only stick around for a short period of time, while those who rely on their talent and abilities tend to show greater longevity in the industry.People can buy views or whatever they want, but in the end it’s the fans who support us, and they’re smart enough to distinguish real talent from ‘not so real’ talent.
You recently announced on Facebook that you would be donating half your earnings from this track to aid those individuals affected by the Alberta wildfires. Can you tell us more about that?
Definitely! Approximately 90,000 people were forced to evacuate the city of Fort McMurray just north of Edmonton, Alberta. Some individuals had a mere 5 minutes to grab their belongings and leave the city. Although the fires are somewhat under control now, the rebuilding of the city and homes are still to begin.
I had the honour of interacting and helping some of the evacuees of Fort McMurray at my place of work, and I can honestly say that they were some of the most kind-hearted, and genuine people I have ever met. Despite being forced to leave their homes and having many of their belongings left behind or destroyed, they were still smiling and positive through everything. I would love to give back to the people of Fort McMurray, and I believe this is a great opportunity for me to do so.
What do we have to look forward to in the next few years from you?
My goal in the upcoming time is to help promote our culture and help put Canadian music on the map. I hope all of you will join me on my journey. Big shout out to all of those folks who have shown their love for the teaser for “Taareyan Naal,” you can check it out below. I did not think in my wildest dreams that we would get this much love and support.
Keep it locked on Simplybhangra.com for the exclusive video drop on May 19th and the worldwide release on May 20th. Please support not only my music, but any artist you may enjoy by legally downloading their songs.
Thank you to Jovan Heer and all of the Simply Bhangra team for giving me the opportunity to share my views and opinions. Keep up the great work!
You can watch the trailer for Taareyan Naal below
You can also check out my exclusive interview with producer Patwant Singh
You can follow me at Follow @JovanHeer