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Singer Manj Musik on collaborations, future projects and working with the stars

Manjeet Ral’s story is the stuff of movie scripts. From singing at a Gurudwara to taking Bollywood by storm, Ral, better known as Manj Musik, has come a long way. And that’s not all. The England-born Indian singer-songwriter and music producer has even collaborated with top names in the American industry, like T-Pain, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, and LMFAO, toured the world from New Zealand to Kenya, along with his wife and fellow musician, Nindy Kaur, and performed at sold-out concerts on numerous occasions. His most recent hits include Lakh Hilade alongside Amy Jackson and Mar Gaye with Sunny Leone. With the talented 31-year-old musician making his way to the city for an exclusive invite-only performance and to launch his clothing line, SOS Clothing Inc, this Tuesday, we quiz him about his future projects, collaborations and more.

Describe your music.
My music draws essence from my personality. It’s a mix of house, hip hop, Punjabi, and Bollywood. It’s music that has the old world charm packaged in a new age urban bottle. It’s for the young and the old. My music will tell a story and speak to your soul.

On working with artistes like T Pain and Snoop Dogg.
I was one of the first from the industry to bring international artistes to India and contribute to ‘global cross culture’. There was this time when my management, DNH Artists brought T Pain to India for the MTV Music Awards. We got him a Rolls Royce to roll in for a music video but as we got to out to shoot, he walked out of his trailer and saw a rickshaw. He laughed and said “damn that’s sick, I wanna roll in that in the video” we laughed and thought he was just joking and he said “no bro, I’m serious..I want that.”

Collaborating with Leone and Jackson.
Both Sunny (Leone) and Amy (Jackson) are so easy going and not divas at all. I felt a little weird actually performing with them at first as this is the first time I am shooting videos without my wife but she was very happy with the outcome and we made sure the videos catered to family audiences and yet looked slick.

Work culture in India and America.
In Bollywood, it’s like everyone who’s not even closely associated with the music of the film wants to voice their opinion and ensure their say is counted. In Hollywood, it’s a pretty professional process where artistes are respected for their creativity and no one really messes with the musical process. The problem is that in India, the music industry is still very unorganised whereas in the West, the musicians are bigger stars than the actors — it’s a streamlined process where deserving talent gets it due. In India it’s a lot about who knows you and therefore you get a certain project.

Latest projects.
I’m working with Akshay Kumar on a few new tracks for his upcoming film, a couple of new numbers for Tiger Shroff, and there are also a few other actors I’m working with for new movies. Apart from this, I’m working on an independent album that’s called Punjabi Billboard which features the biggest names from the Punjabi music industry.

What’s in store for the Bengaluru gig?
I am putting a lot of effort and thoughts while preparing the set. I live in Canada, far away from my roots and whenever I come here for shows it’s extra special and this time is no different. There are a lot of my classic songs like Rafta, Rafta with a twist, and the much loved, Aloo Chaat which is requested by my fans at all the concerts I play at. I don’t want to give away too much as I love surprising my fans.
The artiste is in Bengaluru for a
private concert on September 6.

— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo

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