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Exclusive Interview with Prit DV8

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UK born vocalist Prit DV8 (aka Pritpal Rayat) speaks to SimplyBhangra about his latest single 'Nikki Gal' featuring Sazia Judge, music produced by the exceptionally talented Gupsy Aujla, what he is working on and more!

Welcome to SimplyBhangra.com! Tell us about yourself and what you do?

I am a UK born bhangra vocalist from Leeds (West Yorkshire) known as Prit DV8 (full name is Pritpal Singh Rayat), and am one of the original founding members of the northern based group DV8. I have had an interest in singing, and particularly folk bhangra music since a young age. This interest developed further by listening to established bands such as Achanak, Malkit Singh, Pardesi, DCS and Safri Boys on the live circuit during the 1990s, at a time when the UK bhangra music scene was, without doubt the most prosperous.

There are many artists that inspire me, from old school legends such as Sardool Sikander ji and Late Surjit Bindrakhia ji to the likes of other well established bhangra vocalists like Jazzy B and Shin DCS. In recent years, the UK Bhangra scene has grown positively through the emergence of high calibre singers such as Jaz Dhami, JK, Saini Surinder to name but a few, which is great and encouraging for the industry going forward.

You started your musical journey with the group DV8 – How was this an experience for you?

The experience of starting out with DV8 will always be special to me, and I’m still very much an integral part of DV8. The musical journey started back in 2000 when I was introduced to Suki Kaila (Shera Productions and ex keyboard lead for the band Sahara) through a mutual friend. At the time, I was looking for a music producer and Suki was looking to branch out his production expertise to work with new artists. This led to the formation of DV8 and our debut song Tera Khera was released on the compilation album ‘Purely Nachural 7’ via Nachural Records. This song was well received, and we then went on to feature on further Nachural Records compilation albums, including ‘ The Unsigned’ ‘and ‘Purely Nachural 8‘. After featuring on these compilation albums, we recorded and released the DV8 debut album ‘Basic Instinct’ via Nachural Records, all the way back in 2005!

After the release of the last album by DV8 –  What made you return to Bhangra – in this new age iTunes era?

I have always maintained a keen interest in Bhangra music and the industry, but took a break from recording new material due to work and family commitments.

In the past 5 years, the industry has evolved so much, particularly through the influx of an new artists, both in terms of vocalists and producers which has resulted in the focus shifting towards bhangra singles being released rather than full albums. Record labels simply don’t have the budgets in place anymore to fund full albums for the majority of artists, so releasing singles, in this modern digital era, appears to be the most financially feasible and practical way forward.

Furthermore, the emergence of duet traditional folk based singles in recent years has brought a fresh new impetus to the UK Bhangra Industry, which in part influenced my decision to make a return with my new single Nikki Gal – a collaboration featuring the versatile Punjabi folk female vocalist Sazia Judge (from Saa Charju fame by PBN) and well renowned music producer Gupsy Aujla.

How do you feel about the relative death of albums and the single nature of the industry today?

It’s really the sign of the times, but is very unfortunate. I have grown up listening to and buying bhangra albums (I can still recall the days when albums were available on cassette for £2.50), but unfortunately, in my opinion, illegal downloading and piracy have, and continue to really impact the bhangra industry in a very detrimental way. This has resulted in the relative death of albums and the move towards the release of singles. Despite this, single releases do offer the more financially viable option for new artists, and allow them the opportunity to develop their own portfolio and identity over a period of time. In my opinion, quality control is essential for any artist that wants to maintain longevity in the bhangra industry these days.

Moving onto your new single ‘ Nikki Gal’ – You decided to return with Sazia Judge in a duet. How did the concept of this song come about it?

When I approached the renowned writer Gurmeet Billichao about Nikki Gal, I asked him to write a song that would conceptually appeal to all ages. As such, the lyrics to Nikki Gal are simple and catchy and most importantly can relate to all generations, both young and old.  When Gupsy and I were working through the composition for the song, we wanted to bring in a versatile folk Punjabi vocalist based in the UK, so decided to approach Sazia Judge who is renowned for the Saa Charju song with PBN.

You have Gupsy Aujla providing the production on the single – What made you chose him over the many other producers in the industry?

I have known Gupsy since he released his first album Out of Nowhere back in 2005, and I have always been a big fan of his music, and this was the main factor why I chose him over other producers in the industry. Also, given that we are both live in West Yorkshire (I’m from Leeds and Gupsy’s  from Huddersfield), we always spoke about working together on a potential collaboration. That opportunity presented itself with Nikki Gal, and he has delivered a fantastic desi traditional sound to the single.

You’ve had classical training from Ustaad Harbhajan Singh Ji – How vital was this for you & what did it teach you as a singer?

I am still under the guidance of Ustaad ji, and the classical indian vocal training is an ongoing and continuous process which I thoroughly enjoy. In my opinion, vocal training is very important for any vocalist as it teaches you discipline and through regular riaz (practice) it improves your vocal range and enables you to become a more versatile singer.

The video for ‘Nikki Nikki Gal’ has been done by Sunny Dhinsey & the Filmlore team – Who have been behind some of the best videos of recent years. Would you consider visuals as important as the music itself in todays market?

Yes, Sunny Dhinsey and the Filmlore team have done an excellent job with the Nikki Gal video, which is very concept driven, and reflects a retro/vintage theme. It was a real fun experience working with Sunny and the Filmlore team on the Nikki Gal video, and I would just like to personally take this opportunity to thank them for all their creativity and hard work in producing a very high quality video for Nikki Gal.

Also, as you say, Sunny and the Filmlore team have been responsible for a number of high quality videos in recent years such as Gabhru Rangeeleh by Gupsy Aujla and Saini Surinder and most recently Saahan by Aman Sarang and Dr Zeus.

A top quality video is just as important as the music in the bhangra market now, as without the visual the awareness of the single will not reach the wider public audiences.

Have you got any more music in the pipeline after Nikki Gal?

Yes, there is indeed more singles in the pipeline from me after Nikki Gal, but these will all be as a solo artist rather than as duets, and are set for release throughout 2014. I’m working on new material with production from DV8’s very own Suki Kaila and the legendary Kam Frantic, as well as another desi collaboration with Gupsy Aujla.

Any final words for the worldwide readers of SimplyBhangra.com

Firstly, I’d just like to thank all at Simply Bhangra.com for this interview, and also to all the readers who have taken time out to read this interview. Also, massive thanks to all my family and friends for their on-going love, support and encouragement in terms of my music.

I’d also like to finally thank all those directly involved in the Nikki Gal project, namely Gupsy Aujla, Jarnail Singh, Sazia Judge, the lyricists Gurmeet Billichao and Deepa Bhojowalia, Sunny Dhinsey and the Filmlore team, and all at E3UK Records – big respect to you all.

The new single Nikki Gal by Prit DV8 featuring Sazia Judge and Gupsy Aujla is available now via E3UK Records worldwide on all leading digital outlets ((iTunes, GooglePlay and Amazon).

 

 

 

 

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