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Punjabi Music Industry Part 3


Guess whos back? Jovan brings you part 3 of the Punjabi Music Industry blog.  Lately there has been much talk about artists buying their own music to move up the music charts and rankings! I found out for you what these artists think of that!

The support continues to grow, the relationships that I have been building with artists have been growing and cant wait to keep bringing you guys bigger and better with each blog I bring to you!

For this edition I have brought to you; Jaz Dhami, Bups Saggu, Panjabi Hit Squad, Geeta Zaildar, Serena Kern, Harsimran Singh & PropheC!

How did you get to where you are right now in the Punjabi music industry, what made you so successful?

Obviously music has changed a lot over the years, what are your thoughts on what it once was and what it is now?

There are now too many artists now who buy their own music to boost their ratings and get themselves up the music charts/rankings ... What do you think of the current situation in our industry?

What can we expect from you in the future? Can we expect some single or an album in the near future?


JAZ DHAMI – “Breaking it down into a few sentences is a little difficult because there’s been a long process of learning, dedication and sacrifice. You have to understand I’ve been on this journey since I was 9 years old – do you remember what being 9 was like? Most kids spend it playing out with their friends or on their computer games, my dad had me sitting in front of a harmonium learning. I have to admit back then I just wanted to play out, and felt jealous of the other kids. But looking back now if my dad hadn’t instilled that discipline in me I wouldn’t have been able to carve my musical path in the same way. So I’d say my commitment to learning from a young age played a big part in the rewards I’m able to reap now – if I hadn’t gone through the rigorous training that I have, then I’d never be able to confidently perform alongside some of the countries greatest orchestras.

I was lucky enough to acquire the skills that I have, that in turn gave me the confidence to experiment with the songs I’ve produced and that has had a big part to play in any success that I have achieved.
Music and the way it’s released has changed massively. I think the lyrical content and musicality overall was stronger in the 80 / 90’s, it’s become so easy for people to put music out and consume music – which in my eyes has made it disposable and the quality overall is lacking.
I feel like people are chasing the fame rather than having genuine passion for the art of singing or making music, being recognised in their local supermarket has now become more important than making something credible.
I think there’s a lot of self ego boosting going on but who are we kidding? At the end of the day you know what’s genuine and what’s not. A hit record doesn’t need to have that spot in the chart, A hit just stands out and does its job around the world.
Being number 1 doesn’t necessarily mean a song is successful in the Asian industry. We see songs that are number 1 one week, jumping straight out of the chart the following week. I think those artists buying their own track should maybe invest that money either into their product or to improving their skill base.
We don’t see massive punjabi artists like Gurdas Maan and Satinder Sartaj topping the charts but yet they’re still the biggest touring punjabi artists across the globe – that’s a real measure of success. Hitting number 1 with any track is always nice but it’s not the be all and end all, I don’t believe that it should be the focus when producing and releasing a song.
I’m working on so many new songs with some great producers. I’m excited about the Bollywood projects I’m working on but there’s also some real Bhangra bangers in the pipeline. I’ve got a couple of tracks with Tigerstyle who’s work ethic I really admire. I’ve also got a really cool dance floor song with punjabi producer Jatinder Shah (meh punjabi boli ah). I’m going to be releasing singles for the foreseeable future, that’ll hopefully lead to an album.”
Panjabi Hit Squad – "For Panjabi Hit Squad it's always been about hard work and understanding our audience. We have always prided ourselves on taking Panjabi music to the masses, whether it's through our weekly radio show on BBC Asian Network/BBC 1Xtra, performing at festivals like Glastonbury/Liverpool international music festival or working with Nike and Apple. The more exposure we give the music and culture the bigger it grows.

Current bhangra music is for the generation now. People make comparisons but it's unfair. In the 90's you had one of the 'golden era's' of our music. Clubbers were packing 3000+ to see Malkit singh, Alaap, Heera, B21 ect now the younger generation have so much more they can listen to. With social media,Youtube & Spotify it means that music is on demand and tastes are constantly changing. Panjabi artists need to start competing with urban music stars in order to keep music lovers interested. Two examples of how this can be done are Diljit Dosanjh and Imran Khan. They both know their audience and are making songs that sound incredible

If you're only basing yourself on a music chart you won't be here for long. Buying your own songs to get a number 1 is wrong and affects the scene in a big way.  Mr Blobby went to number 1 in the UK charts but it didn't make him or his song any more credible. It still gets laughed at as the public knows what's good and what's not.

How does any Asian artist think that by making themselves look popular (on 1 chart) will mean they are popular in real life? We see it week in week out where different songs go into the top 10 and the next week they don't even exist in the top 40, How can that make any artist or his/her fan feel good?

Future is looking good. We have just got back in the studio to work on a new album and start to produce for some amazing artists, expect to hear more from us over the next couple of months. Our radioshow on BBC Asian Network is constantly growing so we are focused on making sure the people get to hear the best music every week and connect with other fans"


 Bups Saggu – "Working hard and not stopping! I started off as a bhangra dancer...then became a musician.. joined the top Bhangra bands and djs playing dhol at the same time becomming a DJ and learning that art. After my degree in accounting, I studied music and production and once qualified, i joined a collective called the Rhythm Shakers. Soon after the release of our only album, I did my solo project Redefined which became a hit album...the rest you know. Its been a long journey and now I can say Bups Saggu and his music is cemented in the Punjabi music scene!

Music is fashion and it will forever evolve and change. I personally embrace change and accept the world and music for what it is so to me, its crucial to move with the times but always praise, be greatful and commemorate where Punjabi music started and our roots.

I think its pathetic ... desperate attempt for attention and quite simply low. Music should always do the talking and one thing you cannot buy is genuine fan hype ... theres one thing that some artists fail to understand. Its like cheating in a mock exam for example .... There is no point as when it comes to the crunch on your finals...you are all alone and eventually will be caught out. I dont condone it as its not fair for artists that graft to create their music, this situation should be taken seriously and hopefully in time it will.

One thing for sure .... Music will always win the battle, money wont!

You can expect a lot! Currently including my collaborations I am in double figures of songs that are set to release in 2015 and 2016 so very very exciting! I may do an album...or release singles, see how I feel really. Some collaborations which I am allowed to mention include Jassi Sidhu, Jasmine Akhtar, Mafia Mundeer and a few new artists that i'll keep hush hush at the minute ;) Its an exciting year so much looking forward to it! keep your eyes and ears peeled people :)"

Dont forget to check out Bups newest track Miss Kaur with Master Saleem, personally one of my favourite tracks at the moment and should be played at every party or function!


Geeta Zaildar – "Hard work, spending every minute concentrating on my work and believing in what I do. You can't expect to succeed in any career if you don't believe in yourself. I have made every effort to remain the same as I was before any success. I have a very small circle of friends and some of which I went to school with, they always keep me grounded! Most of all my success in the music industry is because of Waheguru.

Musicis very much a fashion, it changes so often. Over recent years western music has had a big influence on Bhangra, artists and music producers have adapted to this very well. Old classic Bhangra is still very enjoyable to listen to and a lot of covers have been produced with more modern music. It's great that Bhangra is so diverse.

Unfortunately this is all down to piracy being so rife in the music industry. People aren't buying original music or are downloading from illegal sites. It's a shame that artists are having to do this to further their careers. I have trust in my fans and know that they are the true judges of my music and not necessarily the charts. I am fortunate to have such a loyal and honest fan following.

My album '302' was released earlier this year and my more recently a single titled LA, both have had an excellent response. As for the future, I have so much planned for the next few months..new singles, new videos and new music.. watch this space!!"

Make sure to check out Geeta's brand new track LA!


Serena Kern – "My background (I was born and raised in India) has had a big influence on my music . I love experimenting with ideas and had, some time ago, produced a few tracks which combined elements of Indian music. My first real fusion song was "Lullaby". The track was inspired by a lullaby my mother used to sing to me and the song was very well received. I had also collaborated with tabla player Fazal Qureshi on another one of my early tracks and again the feedback was really good.

My recent collaboration with Rishi Rich has added to my repertoire of fusion songs. I flew out to Atlanta, where we worked on 4 tracks together. Rishi is obviously very well established in the music industry and when it comes to fusion music, he is the best there is to work with.

The tracks we produced were very well received, with "Dream" featuring on the BBC Asia Official Download Chart. I think the success of the EP was due to a combination of factors. Rishi really understood where I was coming from and I think we had a great artist/producer connection. The result was that the tracks are very much representative of who I am but also strongly bear Rishi's mark.

Neither of us had any preconceived ideas of what we wanted the tracks to sound like. We literally started from scratch and worked with whatever ideas came to us and the result is that the EP flows well, but at the same time, each track is different and unique.

Music has indeed evolved and is constantly changing. I think this is really important as it ensures that we are constantly able to experience (and as an artist, able to make) new sounds. As a musician, one has the capacity to connect with an audience and to invoke emotion and feeling. As music evolves and new styles are created, as a musician you have more and more choice to play around with.

I think that at the end of the day, the focus of the industry should always be on producing good quality music.

It is of course important to appreciate and recognise artists and the charts are one way of doing this. It is important however to always bear in mind that, while chart success can be a means to an end, it should never be an end in itself.

I have been working on another 4 track EP which is due to release towards the end of this year. In addition, there are several other projects I am working on so all I will say for now is watch this space"

Checkout Serena's newest track with Rishi Rich and Kiran Dhanoa- Run Away!


Harsimran Singh – "First of all I would say I am very blessed, Waheguru for sure then with family and friends support I am here,I think I am working really hard too. I did M.A.Music so yeah I think I have little bit of idea that what I should deliver and when so you must know about listener's choice.

Music is Music. It really does not matter as long as people enjoy it's all good. Everyone has a different choice so we should just leave people alone and let them enjoy what they like.

Well about getting paid views and all I can't say much I never do that and I never will. I take it in this way that when you walk in the market or somewhere if people don't come to you to take photos and autographs then doesn't matter how many views you have on YouTube or any other site.  People know you, they are everything they are your publicity and they are who make you star not fake and dodgy things. Many people do that but hey then again leave them alone and let them waste their time and money. I believe in hard work so that's why I think it has been good for me so far.

I will be releasing my songs single by single.there are few artists who have launched their albums recently but I guess didn't work well.plus when you release a single song you can concentrate more and promote more in a good way so I am planning just go with the flow.Dheeth yaar is upcoming song releasing July first week."

Check out Harsimran's newest track Lamborghini


ThePropheC – "I don't know what defines success in this industry, but my view of success is making a living doing what you love and constantly finding opportunities to grow as an individual and artist. I got where I am right now, in the Punjabi music industry, by doing my best to innovate and make music that appeals to me while staying true to my brand, my fans and my sound. I feel a lot of Punjabi artists look outwards to the world for inspiration whereas mine always comes from within.

I think these days it's easier for someone to become an artist and achieve short term success. With the current technology and social media, you don't need a lot of money to make a good song and get recognition. However, people still confuse making a good song with spending money on marketing and creating a package. Before a song is even done, people are planning the video, paying for promotion promotion and hyping themselves up.

These days, most artists place less emphasis on the music. For them, its all about the package. While I agree it's important to have a package, I'm pretty sure Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan wasn't thinking about his image, videos or "package' when he was making some of the greatest songs of all time. Regardless of what it was or what it is now, good music stands the test of time.

I think it is unfair to artists who don't do that stuff. But at the same time – charts, views, ratings etc. are only short term. These things last for a few weeks then someone else will come in. The true test of a song is long term. The performances, publishing, licensing and public appreciation mean a lot more to me than staying in the charts for a few weeks. The artists who buy their own music or buy their own views need to look at the bigger picture.

I'm working on a few singles that will lead up to my next album as well as a few collaboration tracks later this year!"

Check out Prophec's track Chal Mera Naal featuring Fateh!

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