This month we looked at the top UK Bhangra producers in the industry, we end off the month with Manni Sandhu the man behind tracks such as Gani, Sona, Husna Di Sakar and many more.
Manni Sandhu has already announced that he will be releasing the 3rd album of his career very soon. Back in 2012 he released the album 'My Time' which featured great hits like 'Door Ni Kulne', 'Sona' and 'Giddhiyan Di Rani' just to name a few. Most recently he dropped the album 'Welcome To The Future' last year and that album once again blew up with songs such as 'Gani' with Akhil, and 'Sardaar Bandey' with Jordan Sandhu.
Manni has done a great job the past 5 years and has become one of the most popular Punjabi music producers in the world with his style of music. Jovan had the opportunity to catch up with Manni and talk about his life and the future:
How do you balance life between being a music producer and your family life?
Long nights! I spend pretty much every day working on music so I don’t get to live the life of a normal person. If I sit down to watch some TV, in the back of my mind all I’m thinking is ‘ok after this I need to get in the studio and finish off some tracks’. If I’m away for a weekend, the main focus when I’m back is to get back in the studio and get working on my music.
I stay up until about 2-3am every night either working on tracks or experimenting with new sounds. As much as I work I understand how important it is to spend time with my family, so I always take days to chill with them and a few hours in the evening.
It’s funny because when I’m not doing music I don’t want to have any type of conversation about music - but when I do chill with my fam all they seem to ask me about is music!!
Over the years how do you think Bhangra music has changed? Has it got better or worse and why?
Back when I got into music it was all about the production and how good the music was. A track could have had the most basic lyrics and singer, but if the music was good it would work. These days there's a huge focus on lyrics. A track can have basic music and vocals, but if the lyrics are strong it can be a hit.
There’s no doubt that the audience of the Punjabi music scene has grown. You’ve got people in parts of India like Dehli and Mumbai who would normally listen to Bollywood music that are turning over and following Punjabi music. It’s a real good look and I genuinely think Punjabi music has the power to become the mainstream music of India.
I think however there’s space for it to improve with people thinking outside of the box and being more innovative.
How would you say to have changed as a music producer over the years?
As a music producer I've learnt that the days of spending months or years on one project are long gone. The lifespan of a song is dramatically shorter than it was 5-7 years ago. The key is to make sure you’re constantly releasing music to keep your name out there – it’s no good having tons of music just sitting on my PC.
It’s time to accept the industry has moved on from the traditional way of making and releasing music – I don’t want to be the kind of person that sits on the internet and moans about how we need to go back to the old days.
With that being said I still love and respect music. I would never flood the market with music that wasn’t true to me. It’s all about having the right balance between being consistent and maintaining quality control.
What have you learnt as an artist throughout your career? What are some of the things you did right and what mistakes did you make along the way?
One of the best things we’ve chosen to do is remain independent. If you see us collaborate with a label, the music is owned by my company and that was the smartest move we ever made. I’ve learnt the importance of building your catalogue and brand.
Something that I’ve done from the start and will continue to do is making sure whatever I do is out of the box and innovative. I’ve never been a fan of following a crowd – whether that be for music, videos, or marketing. My aim is to constantly bring something fresh to the table.
The reason you don’t hear as much music as you could from me is because I limit who I work with. I’m not the kind of person that can get a name and start working with anyone that comes with a big pay cheque. I need to be a fan of the vocalist before I work with them.
My worst mistaken has had to be doubting myself. When I make music I always find myself at a point where I begin to question my music and get overly stressed and crazy in the process. I almost turn into a zombie trying to make every little thing perfect. I’m working on having more faith in myself and rolling with what my heart feels I should do.
There's been so much talk about Ghost Production in the past, what are your views on it and is it making a the negative impact on the industry now?
I don’t think it’s a topic that’s relevant in 2017. There isn’t as much of it around anymore.
Ghost production wasn’t the problem, the root of the problem was that people weren’t prepared to invest their own time in learning a craft and perfecting it but instead they wanted a route to get famous quick so would pay producers to make songs and then take credit for them.
The main thing to take away from that whole ghost production era is that people should pick something that they want to do and study and learn their craft, be that singing, writing, or music production.
What will we be seeing from you in the future? Can we expect an album or will you be releasing singles? Any collaborations planned?
A few singles to start with but my next album is also almost ready. I think releasing albums is important, I don’t want to be an artist who releases 20 singles and no album. I think it takes a real artist to release an album, a body of work - something that people can listen to from start to end and can feel the soul and passion that you’ve poured into it. That’s how I grew up listening to music and that’s how I intend on showcasing my music.
I know I’ve made people wait a bit since my last release but I’ve been working on hard on quite a few songs and once the first one drops, there will be no more gaps from me.
You can watch the music video for Manni Sandhu's Gani track which featured vocals of Akhil below!
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