Originality is to think creatively and independently. However, increasingly there seems to be a lack of it in the Bhangra/Asian music industry.
Do you ever hear a track on radio or television and say "oh this sounds like something I have heard before"? Over the past few years we have seen a number of "artists" produce covers of old tracks.
We all know legends like Kuldip Manak, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Noor Jahan and Chamkila almost always produced something which was just mind blowing. They had talent. Chamkila worked hard, he used to be awake late at night writing the lyrics loved by millions today.
Do you think it is acceptable for people to take ideas from these legends and make a cover?
For these people it inevitably guaranteed success. The surprising thing is the younger generation isn't mostly aware that these are cover tracks because the original songs were out before they were even born so it is a bit deceiving. Effectively, the so called "artist" tends to get the credit. It just simply isn't fair. Some might claim they are paying a tribute to a legend but is it really a tribute or just simply for their own benefit? I guess it would be acceptable when a young music producer who is learning and makes a cover and posts it on SoundCloud or YouTube to get noticed.
However, can a group or individual established person release cover song or even album to make money?
This could be done by anyone, are these people really artists? I guess taking a copy of Mona Lisa Portrait by Leonardo da Vinci and adding your own background or colour to it does not really make you an artist. The same applies to the music industry, mixing an old hit with modern beats should not make you an artist. This could be done anyone; even a teenager from his or her bedroom could do this. This is due to increased availability of music production software which I am sure even me and you could use after a bit of practice.
There is also a legal issue to be taken into account. In other art forms such as books and movies it is not possible to use or copy something without permission from the publisher, why does this not apply to music?
Do you think artists or their families (for those artists who are not with us anymore) should be given a legal right to prevent someone else releasing a cover of their original?
In a recent interview of the widowed wife of Chamkila, she complained how many people are still selling and using his music yet she does not get any financial support from them. Is that really fair on the family?
There are a huge number of song writers and music producers around of all ages with so many great ideas. In addition, there are some wonderful vocalists around too. Can these people not create tracks with new lyrics and melodies? There a number of talented youngsters complaining they just simply get turned down by record labels. Don't you think more people should be given chance and bring something new?