This guy is unstoppable!
As if the debut album and a few singles weren’t enough, Gurj Sidhu is back to round off 2017 with a very different track, titled ‘Yaad Kar’. Teaming up again with Leicester based production duo, Kaos Productions, together they have made a track that can resonate with a lot of people, both young and old.
It’s safe to say that the listening public now associate Gurj’s songs being either hard hitting desi tracks or hard hitting bass driven tracks. The common theme between both types of tracks is that they are quite in your face. That doesn’t go to say that he isn’t capable of delivering other types of songs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. ‘Yaad Kar’ is a track that delivers on two key areas – a statement to showcase Gurj’s versatility, but also a track with a message that is very relevant to today’s youth, all around the world.
Bhangra Tape Deck caught up with Gurj Sidhu to discuss the rollercoaster of a year he’s had, the new release and much more.
It’s been a great year or so for you, with the various singles and release of your debut album, and here we are at the end of 2017. How do you feel the year has gone for you?
The year itself has been a very busy one indeed. If we look at the whole year, it all started with ‘Patta Lagg Ju’, back in September 2016. From there, ‘Deep Obsession’ in January this year. The turning point for me was definitely the release of ‘Backyard’. That one really went viral and drastically increased my following in Panjab. It is my biggest track to date. The album then dropped in February. ‘Sentimental Value’ has sold the most units compared to the rest of the albums that have released this year. It also reached #37 in the iTunes UK Mainstream Charts, which was an incredible achievement for us, because we aren’t no A-Listers. All we have is that passion to put out good quality music. Following the album, we released ‘365’ in April, which also had a massive response, and finally ‘Bottle’ in August. ‘Bottle’ was an independent release and an experiment for me. I wanted to see how the whole releasing music business worked. It’s been a mad journey. I’ve had to do a lot of travelling in between the releases, whether it’s shooting music videos or performing at gigs up and down the country. I feel that this year in particular, people have started to appreciate me more as an artist – with my music, my voice, style and what I’m about. I’m not the type of guy that’s going to be dropping the same type of stuff with every release – that’s not who I want to be. I want to be someone who’s unique. God has given me this voice, and it’s up to me to maintain that with practice. It’s a vocal at the end of the day, and you should be able to try different things with it, and not just stick to the same style. There’s lots of new stuff to come.
Tell us a bit about the new track. What’s the vibe on this one?
With ‘Yaad Kar’, I started to make a beat in the studio. I was just messing around and I was on the phone to my cousin in India, Ginder Sidhu. He an up and coming lyricist. I got him into writing songs. He had that passion. I said to him, “I’ve made this music piece and it needs this type of song on there on this type of composition. I composed the melody on this track, which the hookline especially is very similar to a Manak track titled ‘Tenu Thakna Vi Nai’. Yaad Kar is a bit different to my normal stuff, because I like to sing in the raag ‘Pehrvee’, whereas this one is different.
The track is essentially about memories. It’s about a guy telling a girl about how he met her, how he used to sneak upstairs in the pind to meet her, finding an excuse just so he could meet up with her. It’s the truth – it’s reality. With that track, I spoke to Amo, as I had performed it at a gig in Leicester. I got a wicked response from it. People liked it. So I decided that I was going to do a video for it. The video was shot in Thailand. A big thank you to Mr Filmlore, Duvie (the actress in the music video). Everyone played a great part. We tried to make the video as real as we could. This video is a story. I’m playing a character, actually acting. It’s not just a performance video. It was a challenge. It was something new for me.
With the production, I had already made the track, and when I spoke to Amo about it, he really liked the vibe of the track. It was at that point I decided that this could be our first ever joint venture project. I made sure there was going to be a phat video for it. It’s been great working with Amo on the track. He’s added the Kaos vibe to it. We worked on it together and made this piece of music that I think is very unique and very different to what I normally do. The track is not going to be for everyone. The whole video concept and story is quite deep. It’s about castes and people. It’s about how people can fall in love with the wrong caste and because of their parents and families, it’s not going to happen, so they have to settle for second best. It’s a deep storyline. Love conquers all, and that’s what the message we’ve tried to capture in the video. We’ve has a great response to the promo. I think across all of the various social media platforms, we’ve had over 100k views in a few days! That is the biggest response for any of my promos. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s reactions to the full video.
Sunny Dhinsey (@Filmlore)
“The shoot for the ‘Yaad Kar’ video took place in Thailand and was great fun and a challenge at the same time!
This video and song treads a new path for Gurj’s career as it’s quite different from the kind of songs we associate him with as an artist. And so visually too we went for a more story driven concept compared to the performance based videos of ‘Backyard’ and ‘365’.
You will see Gurj in a more acting based role, and both the song and video shows the versatility of Gurj as an artist. It’s one of my personal favourite Gurj Sidhu tracks. The lead actress Duvie also lent a far more natural persona to the character and she did a great job. The pair have a great on screen chemistry that added to the realism.
Overall I’m very pleased with the end result and I hope the audience will appreciate the efforts from the entire team.”
‘Yaad Kar’ is one of many tracks you’ve teased us with over the past few months via social media. Why did you choose this track over the others?
‘Yaad Kar’ was something that was different. That’s why I chose to go with it. I thought about my mass audience, which is India, and the lyrics. For me, this is a song that people can connect with from all different ages. The funny thing is, I was playing the track to the older generation as well as the younger generation, and the reaction I was getting was the same, in that they could relate to the track. Everyone wants the whole gangster vibe, and tracks about cars, etc. We’ve done all that kind of stuff in the past. ‘Yaad Kar’ is something that showcases a different side to me as a vocalist. Vocally, some people might say I scream, I do this, I do that. At the end of the day, my style of singing is a bit hardcore. But that’s not the only thing I’m capable of. This new track is a different tone for me. It’s a different raag, and comparatively different to my last few releases, you could say. At the same time, it’s also quite upbeat. We’ve mixed a couple of different styles to bring that uniqueness. That’s the reason we chose this song. I just had that feeling with this one. I might be wrong, I don’t know. I just hope people appreciate the efforts, because we’ve put a lot of work into the song.
You’re back with Kaos Productions on the new single. From all of the previous encounters, it’s obvious that you and Amo click – creating some great music. What was like working with him again on the ‘Yaad Kar’?
Working with Amo on this song has been fantastic, as usual. It’s like we’ve got the same heads – it’s weird. Our music tastes are very very similar. With this track, we knew the direction in which to take it, straight away. As soon as I sent Amo a sample to show the vibe I was thinking of, he just knew what to do with the track. It went back and forth and we spent a couple of days in the studio together, as well. After I sent over to Amo what I had made and vice versa, we sat down together, went through the piece work, decided on the arrangement, because even that had to be altered a few times before it was right.
It’s been a great journey, and it always is with Amo. This is just the start – there’s so much more to come. Even though you’ve heard the album, with tracks like ‘KK’, working with Amo is something I always will do, because I feel he is the best in the industry if I’m honest, and he deserves the recognition.
Mine and Amo’s relationship isn’t just a musical one. He’s not just a music producer to me anymore. He’s like my brother. Sometimes we’re on the phone for an hour a day – we’re that close. We’re together on the live circuit. He performs with me all the time. The relationship is just getting better and better. When two minds that think the same, come together, you create magic.
“It was a different experience from the norm as the music was a collaborative effort. Gurj bought certain elements into track like the Guitar, Tumbi riff and Sarangi.
I arranged the track, added my parts, then mixed the track down. The violin piece really compliments the song and makes it stand out from others – it adds feeling and depth.
The track itself is more of a soulful outing than what Gurj has previously released. It’s definitely one with a message. The track has been mastered by Tee-L from Derby, and he has done a great job once again.”
You’re one of the few artists that openly plays samples of the music you’re working on. Is this something more artists should be doing?
I like to play my samples to my audience. People are scared to show stuff to people because they think, “Someone might copy me” etc. They can copy everything. What they can’t copy is my voice at the end of the day. My vocal is my vocal. My compositions are my compositions. I like to show my fans what I’m working on because I like to get a response from them. I don’t care about sales. I don’t care about YouTube views, or anything like that. I don’t really care about any of that – I never have done. At the end of the day, we make music for ourselves. When I make something and I show my fans on Instagram, or to the people that support me, the people that buy my music, and even the ones that download my music for free – I get a reaction from them. It tells me if I’m going down the right path, if they’re liking it, etc. There’s always room for improvement, whether that’s lyrical improvement or the beat. I love showing my fans what I’m working on because it gives me more incentive to work harder, and those guys are going to be ones going out there listening to my music, playing it, sending me these videos like they have been doing. It’s exciting for them because they think, “You know what, he’s not just sat at home doing nothing. He’s working on something. He’s making music. He’s going to be coming out with something else.” I’ll always show samples of my music. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s something that works for me.
I like to show my fans how the songs are being put together – from the vocals, to the chords, to the piece work. I can’t really vouch for the other artists because it’s not always down to the artist. Sometimes, management don’t like samples being shown. Sometimes, the label doesn’t like it. With me, I’m an independent artist. I work the way I work, and if I want to show something on my social media platform, I will.
2017 has been a big year for you, no doubt. Looking forward, what can we expect from you in 2018?
2017 has been my biggest year to date. It’s a year I will never forget. It’s been phenomenal. I just want to thank everyone out there that has gone out of their way to support me, and made my music go international and break barriers. Saying that, 2018 is going to be even bigger. I’ve got some big time collaborations happening. I’m not going to drop any names (haha), I’m just going to let the music do the talking. There’s 3 major collaborations happening. Then my second album will be dropping around Summer time next year. I’m really proud of one of the singles that will be dropping next year. I never thought I’d be able to sing with a person like that that’s never actually released a duet, and I’m the first person she’s done a duet with! That particular track has been produced by Kaos Productions.
I’m also looking forward to jumping on the live circuit. We’ve got a live band together, so that’ll be wicked.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole team behind the track from start to finish. It’s been a mad journey. A special mention to Tee-L for doing a brilliant job on the mastering of the track.
Bhangra Tape Deck was given an exclusive viewing of the music video to ‘Yaad Kar’. It is a very different look to what we normally see in Gurj’s videos – one with a story and one that people will connect with. The guy can act! Who would’ve thought, haha! The video captures what happens in real life, with a few surprises.
Pre Order Link
‘Yaad Kar’ is releasing on 28th December 2017 on the VIP Records label.
Bhangra Tape Deck would like to thank Gurj Sidhu for taking the time out to talk about his new single.