[Photo Source: Facebook/KayVSingh]
Where words fail, music speaks! Every song written is given life by the lyricist and soul by the singer. Pursuing music as a mainstream profession involves several roadblocks, not everyone finds success. It is undoubtedly a tough journey to accomplish—but those who survive the hurdles, are the ones with exceptional singing talent, perseverance, dedication and pure love for music. Kay V. Singh, a virtuoso of Punjabi music in the U.S. is one such talented singer who on the rise in the American-Asian music scene.
Singh was born in India but raised in the United States and presently, he lives in Detroit, Michigan. The Punjabi artist has been involved with music all his life. “I’ve actually been passionate about music as far back as I could remember,” Singh said. “I started off learning Tabla at the age of 5 and then slowly a little bit of the Harmonium and took minor singing lessons.”
After Singh’s family moved to the U.S., he began playing the tabla for the Gurudwara in Michigan, which kept his passion for music alive, but taking music as a profession is a different story. Many Indian families encourage music as a hobby to keep traditions alive but are extremely sceptical about taking up music as a profession, because of the risk involved. A musician’s career is a lot different from that of engineers or academicians.
“My family’s role was a bit shaky at first, like most parents, they were not ready to handle the risk factor that goes along with an artist’s career,” Singh explained. “But I knew what I wanted to do and went for it without looking back. My parents eventually accepted my decision and worked very hard to support me financially and I am very thankful for that.”
Since his teenage years, Singh had been taking part in bhangra competitions. He became involved in bhangra professionally after joining Michigan State University bhangra team, and in no time he’s singing talents made him shine like the star he is.
“At the time, I had very little practice. And they asked me to sing for them during their live segments,” Singh said. “ From then on I sang at competitions as we competed around the nation. Then the following year, I sang for team PDDS bhangra. And before I knew it was becoming more and more passionate about singing and music. It was at that point I finally made the leap in pursuing singing professionally.”
Indian music is like no other and with Indian’s all over the world music has evolved to fuse together many flavors and styles today. Punjabi music in the U.S. also follows a special style to suit the diaspora audience. The bhangra competition scene in the U.S. taught Singh a great deal about music at large. “It greatly improved my vocals, my knowledge of music, lyrics, and my Punjabi lyrics,” Singh explained. “I started hearing and studying music in a whole new way from being involved in the bhangra scene.”
It is evident that Singh is largely a self-taught singer. But every singer has an ideal. “I am a massive fan of Surjit Bindrakhia Ji,” Singh revealed. “I would have to say I’ve listened to his songs the most and studied his music and style and vocals. He was my biggest inspiration, but I would say I learnt the most from Sonu Nigam. He is the one who’s singing and music I’ve studied and adapted the most.”
Singh’s inspiration perhaps led to the composition of his first song “Gori diya jhanjran”—a soft and mellow number. In 2013, Singh decided to bite the bullet and moved to India to pursue singing as a career. At that time, he wrote and produced this song.
“We got the video done for it, submitted it to a number of record labels, but didn’t get any response from them,” Singh said. “Ironically, the day I planned to release that song on my own YouTube channel, I got a call from Goyal Music Records saying they liked my song and want to release it under their record label”
However, the real success came with the second song “Bullet” with this song Singh became the first Punjabi singer, raised in the U.S. to release a track with Speed Records. “The story behind this is really unique,” Singh revealed. It is Singh’s craze for bullet bike that inspired him to write this song. “My close friend Mickey saw a great potential for the song. We collaborated on it and another friend/mentor Harwin L’tenti connected us with Speed Records.They loved the song and soon after released it under their label” said Singh
Punjabi music has diverse styles of music, ranging from folk and Sufi to classical. But Singh’s favorite style is always the one that has a catchy tune. “When it comes to what Punjabi or any music I like, I honestly have always just gone by ear and not genre” the “Bullet” singer revealed. “However, my favorite type of music in general, and music that I listen to the most is House/Trance/EDM music. I couldn’t really tell you why; it’s just a passion I’ve had since childhood that is still going strong. And you will finally see this passion incorporated in my music in my upcoming track “Laung Gawacha.”
Speaking further about his new track, Singh revealed that this upcoming song is something he’s never done before and he can’t wait to see the response of his fans. He’s also on a world tour making stops at major cities in not just the United States but internationally as well.
When asked what his plans are for the future, he said: “Apart from that I am currently working on other singles as well as a full album, which we plan to release by the end of this year. But as any experienced artist knows, new opportunities open up for artists all the time that change our plans and priorities. So we will see what the future holds. But I certainly plan on bringing the best music I can to you all soon as I can!”