(Jassi) In India it was released under my name. Ok…..here’s the situation with ‘Aashiqui’. What happened was, after my first solo album the record labels in India wanted my back catalogue. To them I was a brand new artist. They didn’t really know of my previous stuff. So we were in the process of giving them the old albums and I heard them and thought it’s really bad selling old songs to them. Also ‘By Public Demand’ was so heavily pirated in India. People’s arguments were that your not going to make the same song work again. But the pirates were making money from it. As soon as ‘Reality Check’ came out, there was a compilation out in India featuring the tracks. So I re-did 3 of the songs, not the whole album because I didn’t have the time to do them all. In India it was released as ‘Aashiqui’ under my name. It did very well there. I won another Panjabi Music Award for it so you can’t say it didn’t do anything in India. It was a huge hit. In England the situation was….you have to give credit where credit is due. That’s a B21 track, it’s not a Jassi Sidhu track. That is why we released it under the title ‘B21 Greatest hits’. Anything Jassi Sidhu does now is Jassi Sidhu. But ‘Chandigarh’ is always going to be a B21 track. So It’s only fair their name went on it too.
(Kam) Your video for Aashiqui was great. Videos play a major part in today’s Bhangra than in days gone by. Would you agree with that?
(Jassi) Videos are very important. When I started out in the industry they were not as fundamental as they are today. Especially in India. An album is brought by your eyes in India. If your not on T.V, your no where. We had a few problems with record labels in India so ‘Aashiqui’ was a bit of a rush job to be honest. But that video cost 14 lakhs. Sumeet Dutt is one of the hottest producers in Mumbai, not the Panjab but Mumbai. It was shot on a roof top of an American bank. It was crazy! It worked very well. But if your going to do something there is no point in doing it half heartedly, you might as well go all out on it. The concept for the new videos which have been playing for a while now on the Asian music channels is so crazy. I could easily have done a song with me on a tractor but I wanted to go all out on these videos to give people something different. Today it is no use having a great album supported by a #1500 video. If you believe in your product put your money behind it.
(Kam) You seem very happy. Professionally are you happy with how your career is panning out?
(Jassi) I’m never going to be completely happy professionally. But I’m in a good place right now with my life. You are always fighting your demons and trying to get through things. A lot of people think being in the music industry is easy, it’s not. For everyone that might be sitting at home saying “What’s his problem? He sings, travels the world, makes money”. Yeah that’s great but it always looks easier on the outside. It is very hard to do what we do, it takes a lot out of you physically and mentally. Right now I’m in a really good place. I can see good things in the future for myself. Let’s face it, I’ve never been too unhappy. Apart from the last few years in the band and I was unhappy and went through my whole big fat alcoholic stage! Ha-ha! Nah, seriously, I might moan about it and bit*h about it but a lot of it is because I try to get things perfectly right. A happy artist always makes good music. That’s the theory anyway!
(Kam) Your second album is out. The other B21 members haven’t released anything since you were altogether. What are your views on that?
(Jassi) I’m so much older and wiser now than I was back then. Instead of sitting here and bit*hing about anybody I’m actually looking forward to their album. They are great producers regardless of what anyone says. Whatever they do on stage now is fine. We all have to pay our bills. We all do this for a reason, we have bills to pay. They have a brand name, why not use it? Anybody else in the same situation would. I know hand on heart they are great producers and they are going to come back with a bang. I think people are getting a bit impatient but as they always say, good things come to those who wait. And I’m sure it will be worth the wait.
(Kam) One thing that confused a few people was the whole ‘Dil Mangdi’ track that was featured on Simon Nandhra’s album..
(Jassi) Why is everything so complicated??!
(Kam) It just gave some people the impression that your version was going to be on the album!
(Jassi) Right….Simon did the track. I heard it and said it’s a great track. I asked him if I could re vocal it so that I could do it on stage. I thought maybe it would create a bit of buzz for it and it did. People knew of the song before his album came out. But it’s not like people missed me on it because Surj did a great job on it. That’s all it was. A stage song.
(Kam) You have never done a duet type of song with a woman. That could be interesting.
(Jassi) There’s a track that I’ve got in mind that I’ve always wanted to do. I was going to do it on ‘No Strings Attached’. But lets be honest. I do P.A’s at the moment. If I perform the song with no woman there….it’s going to look kind of stupid! Just for that reason alone I’m not touching on it yet. This year I want to try and move away from doing P.A’s. I want to do the live band thing. So that will be happening this year.
(Kam) I think a lot of people would like to see that.
(Jassi) The live band is set up. So to all the people who say I mime or I’m not singing live or whatever, you know what? Make the promoter book me live. I’ll do it. P.A’s, on average, are half the price of a live band. But P.A’s do work. It’s still a performance because I’m there in the flesh. I interact with the crowd. I’m not a dancer, that’s why I have people dancing around me. There’s a good way of doing a P.A and a bad way. The problem is the people that do a bad P’A performance are giving us all a bad name.
(Kam) A while back I did an interview with an artist who had a few choice words to say about your Panjabi. Would you like to respond?
(Jassi) Criticism is never a bad thing. The kid who said it…yeah, he is probably right. My panjabi is pants in places. However, with any criticisms you always consider the source first. If that came from Sukhsinder Shinda or Shin or Jazzy I’d understand. But the guy is totally right in what he said. So I’d like to say thanks a lot mate. Taken on board. There are 4 mistakes on my album. Please point them out to me.”
(Kam) Lastly any words for your fans?
(Jassi) Lets get one thing straight. I don’t have fans! They are not MY fans! They are music fans. Music fans who buy my music. I’ve never understood Artists who say “I want to thank my fans etc etc”. There are people out there who buy good music and support what we do. So I just want to say thanks to everyone who buys good music and supports our industry.
Interview By Kam Gill