Catching Up with Sonia Panesar

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Sonia Panesar speaks to SimplyBhangra about her latest single 'Charkha Mera Rangla', what she is working on and more!

Hi Sonia. Tell us about your new single “Charkha Mera Rangla”

“Charkha Mera Rangla” is a cover track originally sung by Chitra Singh, wife of Late Jagjit Singh Ji.   Chitra & Jagjit were both well known for their performance of this track in 1982 at Royal Albert Hall and the song is classed a Punjabi Classic.

I grew up listening to this track, as it was a song loved by both Mum and Dad.  Ive watched my mum sing this song at Ladies Sangeet nights and as I grew up I sang this song with her.

I was always requested to sing this song amongst family after which I decided that one day I would love to cover the track! And here I am!

Charkha Mera Rangla - Single - Sonia Panesar

Why is this song in particular dedicated to Late Jagjit Singh Ji?

This song has been a part of me since I can remember and the names of both Chitra & Jagjit, as a duo, remain an integral part of my upbringing as they gave so much to the world through their music.

It is because of their music and performance of this song that made this an unforgettable classic and I will never take that away from them.

I feel that without his blessing it would not have been possible to achieve my lifelong dream to cover this track hence have dedicated to Late Jagjit Singh Ji.

I am honored and privileged to be the first to cover this track since it was performed back in 1982.

Do you know if Jagjit Singh Ji heard the song before his passing?

Yes – he heard a sample of the finished track shortly before he passed away.

Tell us about your producer Phat Kat and what is Flavashop?

Phat Kat is a fantastic producer, very versatile and I’ve been working very closely with him for a little while now. He is the producer of ‘Charkha Mera Rangla”. Phat Kat worked very hard on this track, working closely with the musicians to get a fresh outlook on the music and revamping the track in order get that true ‘India’ feel.

Phat Kat produced my previous single Nachungi and Boliyan, which became very popular late 2011.  Phat Kat been prowling around the Music industry behind the scenes for a while now and has been working closely with Taz of Stereo Nation and also produced a great single last year Down 2Nite featuring Navin Kundra, Hard Kaur and introducing Pritraj.

As for Flavashop, it’s pretty much my second home! Flavashop is a fairly new Independent Record Label, Recording Studio, Production and Publishing company all in one, based in West London.  Im very proud to be managed by the team at Flavashop.  It’s the best move I made as part of my singing career!

Do you think there is a lack of female talent in the Asian music industry? If so, what can we, as an industry, do to expose new female talent?

I’m not entirely sure that there is a LACK of female talent.  It all depends what genre you’re interested in and whether there is a female artist representing that genre or not.  I do feel however, that there is a lack of opportunities for us female artists and feel sometimes its harder to compete with the rest of the so-called male dominated industry.  I guess we need the media to create opportunities and the hype for us and create a fine balance between both male and female artists.

I’m actually glad that there are a few of us rising to the surface as of recent…

Good luck to you all ladies!

Do you come from a musical family, and are they supportive of what you do?

Music is definitely in the blood on my mum’s side of the family and all are very supportive of my ambitions.

My Naniji and her sisters (one of them is Mohinder K. Bhamra), my Massiyaan, my Mamaji, their children and my Mum all possess some kind of creative arts quality whether its singing, playing an instrument, arts, craft etc.

My mum introduced me to music through Shabad Kirtan at a very young age, which lead to classical training through my childhood. My first performance on stage was at Havelock Road Gurudwara in Southall at age 4yrs.

My first recording session was at the age of 7 where I was a backing chorus vocalist for an album that my Mama (mum’s first cousin), MBE Kuljit Bhamra, was working on at that time. I am grateful to Kuljit for that first opportunity because I was involved in many more recording sessions for many years after that for him a well as other well known artists across the UK such Heera, Premi, Alaap, Sukhshinder Shinda, Jazzy B and many more.

I am also very lucky to have Music in my immediate family - My brother, Bobby Panesar, world-renowned Indian percussionist and my Bhabi, Veronica, of the Rishi Rich project.

So apart from commercial Asian music, what else are you doing?

Where do I start? Apart from being a full time mum and vocal coach, I have been writing and composing a lot of songs for myself and other artists as of recent.  The first one is one that I’m quite proud of and now has been released is “Dil Ki Baatein” produced by The 515 Crew featuring Chirag Rao.

I have a strong passion for World/Fusion Music and absolutely love performing at major festivals with my band members, The 515 Crew, who really re-create the magic on stage with my compositions.

Also, as of recent, I have become an Indian Vocal workshop leader and am preparing to host my first Indian Meditation workshop as well as perform with The 515 Crew at Earls Court, Olympia on 4th June 2012.

What can we expect from Sonia Panesar in the next few years?

Lots more music! I have a fantastic world fusion single lined up and is soon to be released so watch out for that.

Otherwise, an album, a few more singles and a ton of performances!

And, I’d like to compose or sing for a film one day (Hint Hint!) Lets see what happens…

In closing, would you like to say anything to the readers?

Firstly, Thanks to the Simply Bhangra Team for always supporting Flavashop and its artists.

Thanks to all Simply readers/followers for supporting me in my journey through my music.

Follow me on @SoniaPanesarUK or join me on

Also Follow @PhatKatUK or join him on

Don’t forget - Keep supporting Simply Bhangra!

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