As 2015 draws to a close, SimplyBhangra.com’s Jovan and Jusi reflect on yet another successful year for Bhangra artists, record labels and for Bhangra fans.
2015 will be best remembered for the emergence of fresh talent coming from India, new material from Bhangra legends Gurdas Maan and Harbhajan Mann, a number of huge singles from various artists across the globe and the dominance of the Biggest Bhangra star of this generation: Diljit Dosanjh.
We reflect on yet another successful year for Bhangra music by asking a few of the biggest Bhangra stars of this year how they felt 2015 was for them and what Bhangra fans can look forward to from them in the upcoming year.
Diljit Dosanjh – Arguably his biggest year yet! Music star Diljit started off 2015 quickly with the release of the single “Ishq Haazir Hai” co-produced by Urban Punjabi sensation Mickey Singh. The single was the title song of the short film of the same name, which was later released on YouTube.
This was followed up by the releases of singles “Jatt Fire Karda”, “Ki Banu Duniya Da” and “AK47” as well as the cinematic releases of “Sardaar Ji” and the long awaited “Mukhtiar Chadha”, which were all very successful. Diljit also took the time to confirm the cinematic releases of “Udta Punjab”, “Ambarsariya” and “The Return of Sardaar Ji” for 2016.
With already a number of big dancefloor tracks under his belt, Diljit Dosanjh ended the year with the release of “5 Taara”, featuring popular model and actress Tris Dhaliwal. The track was huge and instantly became a huge hit with bhangra fans worldwide.
Diljit was more than happy with the success he had this year.
“Yes, 2015 was a good year for me with the success of SardaarJi movie, Veer Vaar n 5 Taara tracks. Everyone have so much love with the God's Grace 2015 was a great year.
In 2016, you guys will see Ambarsariya, Udta Punjab, SardaarJi 2. Music : religious track n some Bhangra tracks will be releasing”
Benny Dhaliwal – The Bad of Bhangra had a relatively quiet year in terms of music releases, but had a successful year nonetheless. Benny Dhaliwal released the one single this year in the form of “Range Rover” with music produced by Vancouver’s Harj Nagra.
The single was huge for the duo and prompted them to confirm a second collaboration in the form of “Desi Yaar”, which is all set to release in the New Year.
Benny added: “2015 was a great year not just in the UK but worldwide. 2016 will start with a bang and will be the busiest year by far with collaborations with many producers and artists. You will see BD at his best”.
DJ Harpz – UK based music producer DJ Harpz again had a relatively quiet year in terms of music releases. His only release in 2015 was in the form of “Poison (Zair)” with vocals provided by UK based rapper Raxstar. The track was entirely different to every DJ Harpz product that we have already heard and showcased the new and improved DJ Harpz sound.
Although 2015 was a quiet year for DJ Harpz, he had his own personal reasons.
“2015 for me was productive, reintroduced myself back into the industry with the single Poison which I produced for Raxstar, showcasing the new sound and format I’m going for. On the back of that 2015 was mostly taking a break from music, working behind the scene and completing projects, which are for the New Year.
2016 I will have loads of brand new music. My own singles, Collabo albums/Singles with most of your fav artists and much more. One of things I've said I wanna try as much as possible to do songs without using a dhol/Tumbi or any type of Indian instruments, I wanna showcase the music I want to make. I think Bhangra is whatever you make it, I love Bhangra but I wanna do my version on it and you will all be hearing a whole new Dj Harpz”.
Panjabi Hit Squad – Dee and Rav from the “World Famous” Panjabi Hit Squad have been incredibly quiet for music releases with their last major release being the album: “World Famous” which released in 2012.
However, they have always been constantly active in the Bhangra industry with their weekly radio programme on the BBC Asian Network. Dee and Rav have also been very popular DJ’s at club events across the UK and have therefore been busy with DJ’ing as well. However, the duo have promised that they aim to release more original material and remixes in 2016.
“For 2015 we made the choice of concentrating on our live shows and touring. It gave us some time to hear new sounds from around the world and start to test some of the new material that will be coming out in the future. It was an important year as it developed the sound we will be coming with in 2016.
There's loads of music coming out soon. We have a couple of mixes coming out at the start of the year and then from feb we have new material releasing of our own. It's a fresh sound and something we have been working on for the last year.
We are looking forward to working with artists from India, UK and some from America as the music scene has grown massively over the last couple of years.
We still have another Rahat Fateh Ali Khan song which (If we ever get the clearance for it) will be amazing. We have been working with the next generation of Qawwali singers giving that Urban Qawwali sound”.
Saini Surinder – Since bursting onto the scene with his debut release entitled: “Desi Peeni” in 2011, Saini Surinder has become one of the most loved and appreciated Bhangra artists across the globe with Bhangra fans appreciating his unique talent. Saini Surinder’s huge success in the music industry allowed his popularity to grow with a huge number of bookings across the world.
His popularity in the Bhangra industry prompted him to sign with Moviebox Records in 2014. 2015 was again a very quiet year for Saini Surinder with only two releases, which came in the form of “Kehra Roakda”, the title track of DJ Vix’s Chapter V album and "Gabru Number 1", the second single produced by UK's DJ Sukh. 2015 also allowed Saini Surinder to perform in countries worldwide as well work on his debut album.
Saini Surinder told us about his newest project.
“I think that 2015 was a good year for me, very successful as I have manager to perform at many shows and made my fans happy. Alongside shows, I have been working hard on my songs and getting my debut solo album ready for 2016.
In 2016 you can expect a new track in January. This is a gift to my fans for being patient with me in the last year as I know I haven’t released many songs, butit’sall in preparation for 2016. It is calledAslaTeYaar, which releases on January 7th. Music is produced by my big brother Popsy the Music Machine and will be releasing with my record label Moviebox.
Hopefully my debut solo album will be released this year. I also have many videos and songs ready and also working on many more with different people and in different countries around the world. I have been working so hard for my fans that I do have ahashtagset up for myself called #Mission2016 .So if anyone likes my songs please use thehashtag #Mission2016“
Epic Bhangra – New York based music producer Epic Bhangra has been a popular music producer since entering the bhangra market several years ago. His tracks alongside Amar Sandhu (Morni 2012, Daru, Gal Sun), Bakshi Billa (Aaja Dovey Nachiye), Labh Janjua (Tere Naah Teh Whiskey Challeh) alongside many more have all been big hits for the producer.
However, this year we were only treated to one Epic Bhangra single this year in the form of “Buk Len De”, Epic Bhangra’s second collaboration with vocalist Kay V Singh after the duo reached success with “Bullet” in 2014.
However, Epic Bhangra had his reasons and had exclusive news to share with the readers of SimplyBhangra.com.
“If I’m honest it was a bit of a mixed bag. It started off really well with the release of "Buk len de" in Jan but ended up a flat year for me overall in the bhangra scene. On the flipside, i got to work on new music for another genre, which is an exciting switch.
I'll be dropping both bhangra and another genre of music. so im definitely looking fwd to the new year, hopefully the fans will be too”.
Dav Juss – UK music producer Dav Juss has been a very popular and successful music producer in 2015 with a number of original projects. His most recognised music project was featuring on DJ Raj’s debut album entitled “The Album”. Dav was credited for the music production of tracks “Mittran De” and “Jatti Heer” featuring the vocal talents of Nirmal Sidhu and Sarika Gill respectively.
He then proceeded to work on other projects producing music for newcomers Inder Batth (The Prelude), Amar Hayer (Dil Wich) and Jay D (Nach Ke) as well as producing music for Nav Sidhu for the single “Jatt In Love”.
Dav Juss had a relatively busy year in 2015 and informed readers of SimplyBhangra.com about his upcoming projects.
“2015 was an ok year for me. Ghost projects & producing music for various artists has kept me busy. Can't complain. In terms of my own music projects, I have no intention in releasing any time soon.
However in 2016, I'll be featured on a vast amount of tracks with established artists & new singers. Let's hope there are a few ghost projects too. The first track I'll be featured on in 2016 is the long-awaited "Rarke 2" with Nirmal Sidhu - make sure you keep a look out for it!”
DNA – UK based DJ’s Nin and Dee Bola, known to the Bhangra industry as “DNA Roadshow”, burst onto the bhangra market in 2012 with the single “Club Wich” featuring the vocal talents of Kamal Heer. Dee and Nin were quick to enter the wedding circuit and expand the DNA Roadshow brand by releasing “Sardaari” one year later in 2013 featuring the vocal talents of Nachattar Gill, a track which was hugely popular and did incredibly well for them. Their third and latest single was finally released in late 2014 and was in the form of “Das Ja 2”, the follow up to the anthem Das Ja, featuring Lehmber Hussainpuri .
Since the release of those three tracks, Dee and Nin have been hugely busy with events all across the country and did not release any new music in 2015.
However, Nin Bola from DNA Roadshow was able to confirm the news that we we’ve all been waiting to hear.
“2015 was a great year. We released our latest single Dasja 2 in 2014.. response was awesome.. we been that busy with shows and gigs so we’ve had to delay further releases. New music... The long awaited DNA ALBUM is finally releasing in 2016”.
GS Hundal – Vancouver’s GS Hundal truly made his mark in 2015 with the release of his debut EP entitled “GQ Lifestyle Vol.1” with music produced by DJ Intense. The EP featured five tracks, with each track very much different from the other.
The EP was heavily based around modern day R&B music, fusing the genre of R&B and Bhangra together in a very unique way. The EP showcased GS Hundal and DJ Intense’ distinct musical identity and is incredibly different to anything we’ve heard before. GS Hundal and DJ Intense’s hard work, determination and talent paid off and GS Hundal was more than happy with the response he got from the album, which included the huge dancefloor hit “Diamond Koka”.
GS Hundal was more than happy with the response he got from his debut EP and was able to exclusively confirm his projects for the upcoming year, including DJ Intense’s newest album entitled “Welcome to Surrey”.
“2015, was most definitely a successful year for myself. The response for my debut EP “GQ Lifestyle Volume 1, has been amazing. “Diamond Koka” spent a number of weeks #1 on the official Itunes download charts! The response over social media including Snapchat and Instagram has been unbelievable with getting messages and videos from fans every day.
I have a lot of projects in the works for 2016. I will be featuring on Dj Intense’s solo cd slated for release spring 2016. I am also in the process of working towards putting the final touches on my first solo album with planning for singles and video shoots underway”.
Beat Minister - was involved in some very successful projects this year working with various artists. He collaborated with Garry Sandhu on a track entitled “Ego” to end off 2014 but the success of that track carried forward into 2015.
Beat Minister was the composer of the super hit track “Yaari Chandigarh Waliye” vocalled by Ranjit Bawa, a track which is hugely popular across the globe. It was a track that was the stepping-stone for Ranjit Bawa to have a successful year in 2015.
Beat Minister was able to confirm his upcoming projects for 2016, collaborating with a lot of big names in the music industry.
“In terms of my own music releases, yes for me 2015 was a successful year. My music compositions of songs like Ego, Banda Banja, Mitti Da Bawa, Yaari Chandigarh Waliye, etc. have been a great success. These are very emotional and meaningful songs. Many folks have loved it. I have given my best to do something unique. But I'll make sure to give my bestest and put in more efforts in the years ahead.
I have observed a lot and then have composed the music according seeking the situations happening around. For me music is my life. I eat, sleep and breathe music. Without music my life would be a blur. I feel blessed and humbled that people have loved my music. Nothing would have been possible without their acceptance.
For 2016, I have already fixed up to work with renowned singers like Garry Sandhu, Ranjit Bawa, Diljit Dosanjh, Satinder Sartaaj, Veet Baljit, etc.
I would love to compose some music that will help folks focus, reduce distractions and retain information when working, studying, reading and writing as well. I mean to say some soothing music for my each one on this planet as Music is a key to good health.
Music is a something magical. It's one of the triumphs of human creativity. Also, I'll be working on few bollywood projects, would love to compose more music that recalls memories because memories are forever. I am born for music. It's my life.
Working with great singers will help me in improving myself more and more at every stage. It's always awesome to spread smiles. Let's spread it like confetti but why not with music!! Well that's my job and I will give my hundred percent for it.
All I need is love and blessings from everyone. That's what really counts and matters for me”.
Navraj Hans – For those who are unaware, Navraj Hans is the son of the Punjabi music legend Hans Raj Hans. Not only is Navraj a singer, he is also an actor and has been featured in many Punjabi movies.
He recently appeared in the movie “Punjabian Da King” portraying Veer in the film and also added to the film by featuring as the main vocalist for its soundtrack.
He also lists Daler Mehndi as one of his major musical influences, who is also his father in law after he married his daughter Ajit a few years ago.
He didn’t reveal too much about his upcoming projects but had this to say:
“2015 was excellent for me and for 2016 I have 5 new tracks on the way. Right now I’m working on a sad song called Yaad”.
Ammy Virk – is one of the biggest upcoming artists in the Punjabi music industry. At the age of 23, his popularity is growing enormously track after track. His latest release “Zindabaad Yaariyan” has the entire industry buzzing, and the music video and track itself showcases the true meaning of friendship.
He also released “Yaar Jundi Di” and “Taara” this year which were also very good songs. Ammy Virk also appeared in the movie “Angrej” along with Amrinder Gill as Hakaam in which he did a very good job portraying a character in the film and is being praised as one of the best punjabi movies of the year.
Ammy Virk was able to inform readers of SimplyBhangra.com of the style he aims to incorporate into his music in 2016.
“Yeah 2015 was good year, 2016 chhiphop try karunga n bilkul folk”.
Harbhajan Mann – had yet another successful year, not only a singer but also as an actor. He is one of the most recognized actors in the Punjabi film industry and his movie soundtracks have been outstanding in recent years.
The latest film he took part in was “Gaddar” which released this year and received positive reviews from various media outlets. He then collaborated alongside music producers Tigerstyle to create “Husn The Kali”, which was a very successful single for everyone involved in the project.
Harbhajan informed the SimplyBhangra.com team that he is working on various singles in 2016 and will have a devotional album releasing in early 2016 along with “Satrangi Peengh 3” later in the year.
“I have always been content with each year and 2015 was another brilliant year with Saun releasing early year which became a regional success with meaningful lyrics. HusnThe Kali the Tigerstyle collaboration proved to be a worldwide hit. Music from my movie Gaddar did really well too. I have ended the year with Ikk Ikk Saah a national success in India with broadcasting of the video on national channels
I have 3 singles been worked on with top notch producers from which one will be released end of January/early February. I also have a devotional album out in April and Satrangi Peengh 3 the album will be out later in the year too. Watch out for the amazing collaborations in 2016”.
Manak-E a household name and no stranger to the Bhangra industry, is a vocalist that has a number of huge hits under his belt. Since the release of “Paranda” in late 2014, Manak E has been working hard on his upcoming album and this allowed Manak E to feature on two singles releasing exclusively with Speed Records.
His first release of 2015 was in the form of “Mehfila” featuring Vancouver based DJ’s Aftershock Roadshow. His second single was “One Day” collaborating with Killa K from Leicester, UK and was exceptionally well produced especially for his debut single.
Manak E was content with the fact that he is releasing more newer music and revealed his plans for the upcoming year.
“I feel that in terms of my own music releases, 2015 has been a good year having released singles more regularly, but 2015 has also been good for me to learn in terms of music releases what has worked / what has not and hopefully in 2016 release a lot more and change the style of songs that will be released etc.
My next single will be out Mid January/ Early February and from there on many more singles, songs in films, and possibly a new album”
With 2015 already being an incredibly successful year for the Bhangra industry, we can only hope 2016 is just as bigger and better as 2015. Watch out for Part 2 of Artist Appreciation, coming soon in 2016.
Article written by Jusi Sahota & Jovan Heer
Twitter: @JusiSahota & @JovanHeer