SUBAIG SINGH EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
- The journey until now in the industry, has it been difficult?
It has been very enjoyable and rewarding but it has also been tough. The music industry is a tough nut to crack and there has been no shortage of challenges along the way. You have to learn to take the rough with the smooth and learn to be thick skinned to deal with the critics.
- Can you sum up your experience?
It has been a steep learning curve. My mother and I set up our own record label Mahaveer Records and threw ourselves at the deep end by releasing and promoting our music by ourselves. Since we had no prior experience, we have learnt as we have gone along and feel we understand the industry fairly well and how it all works. I would say that we have made errors but there’s nothing like experiential learning! Our philosophy has been to enjoy the process. It is a steady growth that is satisfying to experience.
- What was that particular inspiration that led you to become a singer?
Whilst I was at university, I did a lot of soul searching and fell in love with traditional Punjabi folk music. It was my passion for the music itself that inspired me to sing. I was a natural performer from a young age and loved any opportunity to be in the limelight. So the transition from singing as a hobby to singing as a career was an easy one for me in that sense.
- How did your collaboration with Popsy the Music Machine come about?
I used to sing folk songs, record them on my phone and upload them onto Facebook. I had a large following from my MMA fighting days so the videos took off and became popular. I was shocked when world famous producer Popsy got in touch and asked me if I wanted to do a track with him. We clicked from the very beginning and the rest is history. After recording six or seven tracks together our partnership has grown stronger by the day and Popsy’s wealth of experience has been instrumental in my success. We have a good working relationship and an understanding of each other which makes for a good team.
- What was it like working with The Godfathers of the Punjabi music video makers Rimpy & Prince?
It was daunting at first. However, straight away, I was very impressed by the professionalism that they brought to the table. They had a keen eye for costumes, colours, sets and they plan everything to the very last detail. They made us feel very welcome and supported us along the way. We were taken aback by their scale of operation and access to resources as well as knowledge. They in turn have faith in me as a performer and they very much want me to succeed. This makes for a good working partnership.
- What was your 1st impression when you saw how they worked?
Rimpy and Prince are a duo. Two brothers. Both very passionate and talented individuals who bring different qualities into the mix. It made for entertaining viewing watching these creative, talented guys being very passionate about different aspects of the project. Although, they will both argue their point, they very much respect each other’s views because they know that both want to make the best product possible as it is their name on the video and hence their reputation. They really ensure that the artist and the producer are happy with the project at every stage of the process. This gave us confidence in them for us to be able to take their advice even at times when we did not agree with them.
- The 137 Di Speed video is very well made, did you as an artist have an input into the storyline of the video?
Yes. Rimpy and Prince proposed a couple of different concepts that could work around the lyrics. Mum and I had a few requirements for this track. Our previous work had been very folk orientated but we wanted this track to be modern and depict a younger and more urban look. Once we had agreed a broad concept with Rimpy and Prince, we left them to conjure up the magic. They kept us informed of all their ideas and we were very happy with what they were suggesting.
- After reading your profile we can see you are very talented from singing, acting and boxing and not forgetting your day time job as a Doctor, how do you fit everything into your daily routine?
Haha, it can be tough at times. I work as a Locum in Accident & Emergency which allows me to choose my own hours. This also gives me flexibility and a bit more time to focus on training and singing. I have been involved in a variety of things from a young age and therefore, I am used to multitasking! I also get a lot of support from my family for which I’m very grateful.
- From your 1st release we have seen you progress from strength to strength, how do you discipline yourself?
My discipline comes from a desire to succeed in any thing that I do and to keep working hard until I make it…doing whatever it takes. It was how I was brought up and it’s within my DNA!
- How would you say the Asian music industry differs from the main stream industry?
I haven’t yet worked in the mainstream field so I can’t comment on it in the way that I can about the Punjabi scene. The most obvious difference is the scale of operation and the difference in size between the respective markets.
- Which mainstream music director would you like to work with?
Good question. Can I get back to you on that one?
- Who would you like to do a collaboration with from both Asian and mainstream – Male & Female?
Besides Popsy, I would be interested in working with Surinder Rattan, Deep Jandu and Dr Zeus to name a few. I’d like to do a duet with Jasmine Sandlas some day and work with my idol, Surinder Shinda. In the mainstream world, I’d love to do a project with Tom Jones and/or Shaggy.
- What advice would you have for someone who wants to take steps to a career in the music industry?
I’m still trying to work it all out for myself so probably not in the best position to advise at this stage. I am still a newcomer that is chasing the dream. Maybe once I have achieved it I can help to advise others. One thing is for certain, anything that I have achieved thus far has been achieved with the blessings of my family and especially my mother, Kulbir. So I would say that you definitely need your family’s support. You’ve also go to be passionate about what you do and enjoy it. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
- Why do you think it is difficult for Asian artists to make their mark in the mainstream music industry?
I don’t see why it should be difficult. The music industry is all about making money so if there is talent it would most likely be appreciated and snapped up very quickly regardless of race or racial origin. The only reason I can think that it would be difficult is because of the intense competition involved.
- Which Bollywood star would you like to do a track for?
Sunny Deol. I have been told by lots of people that I look a bit like him so it would be fun to do a track for him for that reason alone.
- What is the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of the career so far is definitely working with RimpyPrince. I have learnt a great deal from them as well as Popsy. I can say that I have enjoyed making all of my tracks and have much enjoyed the live performances that I have done to date.
- What is the biggest lesson you have learnt throughout your career in music?
The biggest lesson I have learnt is that it is important to remain focused and do what you enjoy regardless of what everyone else is doing. I’ve also learnt that you will get your haters as well as your fans but don’t let the haters get the best of you. It’s a very small industry and it’s important to be respectful of everyone’s art.
- You are one of the most stylish artists in the industry, from your jackets to your shoes and your turban, all is very well coordinated. Do you style yourself?
Flamboyant colours and tastes have been part of my look from a young age. I have always enjoyed being distinct and standing out from the crowd.
- How do you come up with the styles and the coordination?
My mum is my costume and wardrobe designer, so she has the final say on my look and the clothes I wear. It is important to diversify and change your look over time as well so I am constantly looking around for new ideas.
- 137 Di Speed releases worldwide on the 22nd February 2018, when can we expect a live performance from you for your UK fans ?
I’m still concentrating on producing new tracks with at least three more ready to be released which obviously takes up a lot of my time and requires me to be abroad for filming. Once I have a reasonable amount of my own material, I will be more free for live gigs. Some dates are already penciled in for 2018. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to find out the details. I’d like to thank all members of my team, my mother, Popsy, Laddi Gobindpuri, RimpyPrince, UK Premier and Marketing and finally all my fans for all their love and support. 2018 is going to be an action packed year and I have lots of new exciting material to share with you.