My interest in music was sparked from a young age. I used to sing in elementary school in Punjab. I wanted to launch a career in music to make a name for myself as a respectable artist and to elevate the reputation of my family and village.
I was actually a mischievous child! My main hobby through out my youth was wrestling. My grandfather was a wrestler and I followed in his footsteps. I went on to become a gold medalist while in college.
How did you meet Ustad Kuldip Manak Ji and how did you start learning from him? Also, how long did you learn from him? What is the most valuable lesson you learned from him?
I can never forget the day I met Ustad Kuldip Manak Ji. I was performing on stage at a mela in Nawanshahr, Punjab in 2003. While at the mela, I had the opportunity to speak with him for the first time. I shared my admiration of his legendary songs and asked if he was willing to take me as a student. He told me to speak with him again in 2004 and he would then determine whether I was fit to become his student.
In 2004, I performed in front of Ustad Ji at a mela in Hoshiarpur. During my performance, he approached the stage and gave me a 1000 Rupee note, which I still have to this date. Following the performance, he gave me words of encouragement and agreed to officially become my Ustad Ji. He was my mentor and teacher for the following 2 years. In 2006, I migrated to the United States.
The most valuable lesson I learned from him was to sing evergreen songs, meaning songs that can be heard in a family environment. He placed great emphasis on singing cultural songs that can be appreciated by our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.
What would you say has been your best and most memorable performance until date?
Overall, I love being on stage. I've enjoyed every performance thus far. The larger the crowd, the more I enjoy it. However, my favorite performance has to be the one in Hoshiarpur in 2004 where Ustad Ji was in the crowd and gave me the 1000 Rupee note while I was on stage. That performance will always standout to me.
Your single, 'Sardari,' how long did it take for you to put this single together?
Sardari is my first single with California based music producer RAV-E. Including the music video filming process, this project took us 1 year to complete. We have been busy working on multiple tracks, so it took some time to select the right one to launch as a single.
Can you tell us about the album you're working on? How long have you been working on this album and how did you get the inspiration for each track? Will it include a tribute to Ustad Kuldip Manak Ji?