Exclusive interview with singer & songwriter Nesdi Jones.
Nesdi Jones. Who? You may say. And hailing from Criccieth in North Wales, it’s not the sort of place you would expect someone making their name singing in Punjabi & Hindi to hail from. So the fact that Nesdi, who is not even Asian (Her surname does kinda give the Non Asian thing away) is a bit puzzling.
Interested? Confused? Curious? Well Nash from Punjab2000 gets the low down for you all, after being invited to visit the Jones family home by Nesdi.
Nesdi Jones, who was voted the best newcomer at the 2014 UK Bhangra Awards, and has been given the nickname “Desi Gori” has continued her success in the Punjabi Music World, following her debut single ‘London’ with Money Aujla & Yo Yo Honey Singh.
Nesdi, can you tell us about your background and are there any musical influences in your family?
Hi Nash, Well I am 22 years old. Born and bred here in North Wales, I am the the youngest of three sisters and one brother. I have been singing since the age of four, starting in my local church choir. I have Musical influences coming from both sides of my family, as my mother played in a girl band and my grandfather was also in a Church choir. I can now sing in four languages;Welsh, English, Punjabi and Hindi. My proud parents are very supportive of my career. I still live here with my mother and father, and the rest of my siblings have all flown the family nest. I too want to move to Birmingham, as you can see we are in a remote village in North Wales, and there are not a lot of Punjabi people or even Asian here.
Too right! Coming from a quiet town in Wales, how did you get introduced to Bhangra?
My first taste of Indian music came when I was 17 and traveled to India as part of a charity project which involved teaching Maths, English and sports in a School there. The people I lived with would play their Music at night. That is when I first heard Bollywood and Punjabi music, which I found very catchy & started liking straight away. I began to do covers of Bollywood tracks and put the videos up on my YouTube channel. I have stayed in Delhi and also visited Chandigarh, which I really liked.
How did your debut track ‘London’ with Honey Singh come about?
It happened when I covered Honey Singh’s ‘Brown Rang’ song on my YouTube channel and somebody subsequently posted the link to Honey Singh’s social media site. Following this he contacted me and asked if I would like to collaborate on a track together.
He sent me the beats and I wrote my lyrics in twenty minutes. The track was put together with the male vocals of Money Aujla (Manpreet), who is from Ludhiana, Punjab. The track was written about a Jatt (farmer) and a girl from London visiting the Punjab for the first time, although in the video the Jatt was replaced by a taxi driver. After many delays it was released by Speed Records in January 2014 and went on to become a massive hit.
After the success of ‘London’, did you continue to collaborate with Honey Singh?
No Nash! People seem to think that we are best buddies, but in reality I think we only ever met once, and have not really been in touch with each other ever since. We’re both busy with our own careers. I then featured on a Northern Lights single ‘Akhiyan Udeek Diyan (originally a Qawwali by the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) ft another new female vocalist called Avneet, but my next major single was “Tera Naal”, which reached the top ten in the charts.
What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
My next single will be “Mera Dil Vanjara”, which is being produced by Northern Lights, and I will first release an acoustic version of this track. I am then planning a more upbeat track in collaboration with Preet Singh and also working on a solo album. I am currently doing a cover to a Rihanna track, and that will be out as a free download for my wonderful fans who have given me so much support. I was shocked to see how many people came along to see me perform at the Birmingham Mela! I was very nervous at first, seeing the massive crowds, but once I was on the stage and began singing I was fine and really enjoyed the experience.
As well as singing you also do modeling work?
Yes, I have been selected as a finalist for Miss Wales 2015. I am not really sure how that came about, but I have done some modeling work, mainly location shoots, but this will have to take a back seat as I concentrate on writing new songs. Although I find it is easier, and more natural to do rapping, I want to concentrate on my singing and want to be on the same level as the likes of Kanika Kapoor. I also want to work with Dr Zeus as he seems to have the magical touch at the moment, and he’s done some great work for other singers.
Any other hobbies or interests?
My interests are food & hospitality, and I dream of opening my own restaurant one day. My favourite Indian dish is butter chicken with parontas, but while I was in Old Delhi, it was goat curry. Also I want to give back to the community and help raise money for charity, especially one charity in particular, which is an anti-bullying charity, set up by Rajveer Singh Gill. I can associate with this because I was bullied badly at school when I was young and know first hand what it was like. I went through hell and there was no help available. I plan to hold events to raise money and awareness later this summer. Also I want to do something for Khalsa Aid, as they are doing a great job around the world .
BBC RADIO WALES ARE HERE TODAY ,WHAT ARE THEY WORKING ON?
That is right, they are working on a documentary about me. They plan to do one in English and one in Welsh, which they want to air on the BBC Asian Network, and also get on MTV India. Another project we are working on is to get a whole local choir to perform a Bollywood Hindi song, which is going to take some doing.
We look forward to seeing the documentary and the Hindi choir song! Thank you for having us and best wishes for the year ahead.
You’re welcome, anytime! Living in North Wales it is difficult to keep up-to-date with the Bhangra scene, and I regularly visit the Punjab2000 website & Facebook page to keep me updated with the latest Bhangra & Bollywood news. I also listen to the BBC Asian Network, Ambur radio & others. My fan base is increasing daily, having over two million hits on my YouTube video and reaching nearly 50K followers on Facebook & Twitter combined. This is the type of support which is keeping me motivated and making me the person I am today, which I am very grateful for.
“I think its safe to say that this Welsh model, singer, rapper and song writer will continue to consolidate her career, and continue to make big strides in the Bhangra scene this year, and eventually find herself breaking into Bollywood”! – Nash Aujla. Punjab2000 & Ambur Radio Presenter.