While working as an A&E Doctor full time and being a well-known ex-professional Cage Fighter, Subaig Singh has changed his life, dropping hit after hit, releasing multiple videos we caught up with him to talk about his new single and how he sees the music industry!
He has worked with platinum music producers such as Popsy The Music Machine and awards-winning film producers like Rimpy Prince which has gained him national exposure and success.
How do you view the infrastructure of Asian music here in the UK?
The infrastructure in the UK is pretty good. We have lots of good music producers, lyricists, musicians and singers. We have a few big record labels, our own TV channels and radio stations as well. There are plenty of opportunities to make music, videos and there are lots of outlets through which music can be promoted. There are also plenty of opportunities to perform as well. We have a night club scene, a mela scene, a wedding scene, a dinner and dance scene and a concert type of scene as well.
It’s definitely alive and kicking here in the UK. Quite often, I still find myself having to go to India to make music videos purely because my material is Punjabi Folk based so a traditional Punjabi backdrop suits better than what you can find in the UK.
Outside of India, the UK is probably the best scene to be part of as an artist involved in Punjabi music or as consumer or fan of that genre. Being brought up in the UK and being bilingual also puts me in a unique position to be able to appraise music coming out of India as well as western mainstream music and allows me to straddle both lanes.
If you had to choose between recording a folk track or a modern bhangra track which one would you lean towards and why?
My first love is folk. It is real grassroots music that is very soulful and touches the heart. I love the live instruments, organic sounds and the intricate music pieces.
I don’t mind modern bhangra at all. I like to have a good dance same as any other Punjabi. I have made a few modern tracks and will continue to make them. This is the entertainment industry after all. As well as pleasing ourselves and enjoying our creative work, we also have to please the fans and cater to their requirements.
The number of people who appreciate folk music are in the minority compared to those who like modern bhangra and urban styles fused with Punjabi music. That looks to be the case both in the UK and in India so it would be foolish to disregard this.
You clearly show great creativity in your music and videos; however, do you sometimes feel being creative might not get you that wedding or club night booking and you just want to join the bandwagon?
Music is a very personal and individual thing. First and foremost, it is art. It would be a shame if everyone just did the same thing and copied each other. That takes the enjoyment out of the process for me. I think we should encourage diversity and applaud artists who try and stand distinct from the crowd.
The most important thing for me is to create a song and video of high quality that I can be proud of. I think like with anything it takes time to establish yourself but there is space for all musical tastes.
How are the concepts for the tracks created? Do you just sit in the recording studio and brainstorm ideas?
Good question. There is no formal process. You never know where inspiration or a concept may come from. It could come up in conversation between my Mum and I, or between me and a music producer. It could come up in a conversation with a song writer.
Sometimes it comes up as a strategic choice, i.e. going back and looking at my catalogue of songs that I have already done and trying to identify what I have not yet done. Everything starts from the lyrics, they are the most important step in the process.
The music and the video are all built around the lyrics and the lyrics dictate which direction we go in for a particular project.
Can you tell us more about the new single?
I would describe it as a modern mellow bhangra track. Desi Routz have directed the music for this one in their characteristic style. It carries a lot of their musical hallmarks in the production. Laddi Gobindpuri, the writer that I work closest with, suggested the idea that we do a rain song.
The song depicts a beautiful girl dancing in the rain with her friends during Saun Da Maheena or Sawan, and her lover is admiring her beauty as she dances. It’s a very filmi and Bollywood style concept and that’s what we have tried to convey in the video. I would describe it as a romantic beat song and I am hoping that girls in particular, will like this track.
The release coincides with the first day of the month of Sawan as well. The main actress dancing and performing in the track is Kamal Khangura, who is very famous in India and has a massive fan following. Incidentally she is also the sister of Hardeep Khangura from Desi Routz.
I love the video and feel that it is another RimpyPrince masterpiece. I hope that the fans appreciate and enjoy it as much as I do.
Recently, Punjabi music has taken on a new trend to focus on a more gangster vibe. What are your views on this new trend?
I have a few concerns about this. Music plays a big part in leading popular culture and my fear is that we will go the same way as the ghettos of the USA and council estates of the UK by glorifying the gangster lifestyle.
I can understand why there is an attraction to it being brought up in the West but why it has been embraced in an alien culture such as Punjab and Punjabi youngsters living over there is very strange to me.
To me, being a Punjabi is about being hardworking, family orientated, religious, honest and decent. Regarding the martial side of things, it’s about living with honour, being courageous and defending the weak.
The whole gangster vibe just seems to be completely at odds with Punjabi culture to me.
Still the audience have decided that they wish to embrace this sort of thing so is it fair to blame singers for catering to the needs and requirements of their audience? It definitely takes a strong and principled artist with an iron will that will not allow themselves to be carried away by the tide to make a stand against this.
How impressed are you with the current level of Punjabi cinema – Is it an exciting time to be involved with it right now?
Punjabi cinema has definitely improved a lot in recent years and lots of good films are coming out. It is nice to see the industry doing well. It’s definitely something that I would like to get involved with in the future.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
I really enjoy working with Popsy. We have a great relationship and work well as a team. I will be experimenting with different music styles, genres and music producers. You will see lots of new and funky styles coming from my camp very soon. I don’t want to say too much. But all will be revealed soon enough.
A lot of people nowadays are doing Dharmik albums, would you ever consider working on one?
Yes definitely. Would be great to work on something soulful and spiritual. It is something I would love to do in the future. At the moment, I am working on a whole range of different styles so it’s just a matter of time before I do a dharmik track.
One thing you dislike about the Asian music industry in the UK and how it could be improved?
The Asian music industry is divided up into lots of camps that are hostile to each other and this results in favouritism and selective promotion of both artists and music. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that can be done about this as most of the platforms, be they TV channels, record labels, or Award Ceremonies are privately owned enterprises where it is down to their individual discretion as to who they will support and why.
The only answer to this is to keep working hard and not to give up. ‘Work with the willing!’ as my Mum always says!
Thank you for your time, any messages to your music listeners?
Thank you very much for all your support and kind messages. I hope you all like my new song, She Dances. Please share support and download. I would also like to say a big thank you to SimplyBhangra.com for supporting me with all my songs from my very first release. They have seen me grow and mature during my journey over the last two years and I am very grateful for everything.
To sum it all up, Subaig Singh will be knocking down all the doors in the industry very soon.