Jovan Heer recently had the opportunity to interview one of the best Punjabi musicians in the world, Ranjit Mani.
He is well respected in the industry and has worked with the likes of Chamkila and Kuldeep Manak. We can expect to see some huge things from him in the near future as he has teamed up with UK's own Ravi Bal and the Takhar brothers from Vancouver.
How did you get into the Punjabi music industry?
I always had the dream and passion as a young child to get into the Punjabi music industry field as a folk singer/artist as the Punjabi language is enriched with ancient folklores. This dream and passion of mine came true in 1988.
What inspired you to get you to where you are at now?
Although my parents were very hard working, I am from a poor family background. I’ve always had the dream as a youngster to become a well respected individual. Basically had the dream of being a big rich man, which this still continues today…
What have you learned about Punjabi music since you first started making music?
I have been very lucky and fortunate to be taught under my well respected Ustaads. I had the fortunate drive to be taken under the wings of the best folk artists Punjabi will ever give. My first Ustaad is: Late Amar Singh Chamkila. He pushed me to sing folk and to not mind the caste barriers in the music industry which still exists today. I was under his wing until his unfortunate death.
Upon Ustaad Late Amar Singh Chamkila’s death, I was devastated and then turned to my second Ustaad, Late Kuldeep Singh Manak I have been under his wing and teachings for quite some time until his death recently. He taught me to push the boundaries further and I have not looked back since.
I am very fortunate, and God blessed to have been taught under the most influential Punjabi legends, Ustaad Late Amar Singh Chamkila and Ustaad Late Kuldeep Singh Manak. I have learned many lifetimes worth, and the teachings still continue on a daily basis as Punjabi music cannot be taught in a certain time period as it is a lifelong achievement and blessings.
Back in the days, everything was live percussion, and nowadays everything is computerized. There are advantages and disadvantages to both of course, but it was much harder to be an artist back in the day without the likes of social media, and there was not this much money involved like it is nowadays.
What do you think about the state of Punjabi music right now?
In my opinion, the state of the Punjabi music right now is at its worst that it’s ever been. Nowadays, it’s not if you have the talent, it is if you have the money to spend. Too many besureh artists worldwide and with the simple task of having excess money to spend, majority of the artists are one hit wonders or do not last very long.
These newcomer artists do not have any Ustaads and do not practice at all, thinking they know it all. I have always said this and will stick by it… Money can buy you superstardom for a while, but a few years down the road, no one will remember your name.
The lyricists, singers and especially the record labels are to blame for this, as this a mutual effort to disgrace the Punjabi music industry. I am not saying I have always been right, but I have been through thick and thin through the difficult struggles I have faced and still face in life.
It is very heart breaking to see artists nowadays throw money around like they do not respect it. Life’s biggest lesson is to get respect back, you will need to show respect first.
Show respect to Punjabi Maa boli, and Punjabi Maa boli will give you 100x back. Case in point are my Ustaads, Late Amark Singh Chamkila and Kuldeep Manak and others.
Also, nowadays, majority of the singers are auto tuned, thus pitched higher than what they really are capable of singing. This is cheating and longevity is not there with artists and music these days, If you practice your art daily, you will reap the rewards.
There are no shortcuts in life, and the same is true for the Punjabi music industry.
If their was one artist you would like to work with who would it be?
As I have stated above, I am God blessed to have been on the same stage as my Ustaads, Late Amar Singh Chamkila and Late Kuldeep Singh Manak. Besides those two Punjabi legends, I am not a picky artist at all.
I welcome to work with any elder established singers, especially any newcomer artists that are hard working. Punjabi singing is a God gift, it cannot be learned overnight, and I would be glad and happy to carry on what I have been taught to other artists.
What can we expect from you in the coming future? Album? Singles?
In regards to any future projects, I am working exclusively with Danny Takhar from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on my singles and solo album. We have completed the song selections, compositions and the recordings of all of the vocals in the studio now.
The music production will be composed and arranged by Ravi Bal of Ravi Bal Productions/Bat Cave Studios from the United Kingdom. Ravi Bal has been a pioneer in the music industry for a long time, and his innovative sound is why we are exclusively working with him. The singles and the album will have a full on folk with westernized touch and will be totally different than my previous projects I have ever done.
This project is a dream come true, as I am blessed to have Danny Takhar to exploit my musical talents worldwide and have one of the pioneers in music production, Ravi Bal (U.K.) on the team.
Within the next few weeks, expect to hear big things with release dates etc. from our team, including myself, Ranjit Mani alongside Danny Takhar and of course, Ravi Bal (U.K.)
Thanks to SimplyBhangra.com for always supporting me and pushing Bhangra to a global audiences and Love you all my respected fans.
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