By: Tirusha Dave
People believe that things happen for a reason – and I am one of those people. After a lengthy conversation with the prime character of this piece, the one word which comes to mind is “synchronicity.”
As defined by Wikipedia: synchronicity is the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally unrelated. In order to be synchronous, the events must be related to one another conceptually, and the chance that they would occur together by random chance must be very small.
With that said, we go back to the idea of “things happening for a reason” – I am a strong believer that the course of our life happens in its respected manner because that is what destiny has mapped out for us; any diversions we take from our plotted route add to our course of life. There were roads which lead to Pharmacy school and there were diversions which lead to graduating with my B.A. in English. There were roads that lead to why I am a writer today and there were diversions which caused me to enter the media & entertainment scene. There were roads which were paved for some of most prominent personalities in our community and then there were diversions which caused me to meet, who I would say, is the most interesting personality of our generation: Harvin Sethi.
Google the name "Harvin Sethi" and within 0.26 seconds, you'll find thousands of pages of websites, article and videos dedicated him. But who really is Harvin Sethi? Where is he from? What does he do? And what makes him so famous in our community?! A billion-and one questions can be asked about Harvin but the only person who can give an honest and insightful answer is Harvin himself! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the pleasure of sitting down with this celebrity-on-the-rise, but after spending time with him on the phone and chatting away on Gmail, with a few Facebook pokes in between, I got to know what really goes on in ‘Harvin-land.’
Tirusha: Harvin! I think that this is going to be one of the best interviews to rap the year up with! I feel like I know everything about you, but that would be a lie, so for those who have no idea who ‘Harvin Sethi’ is, give us a quick insight on who you are and what you do!
Harvin: Well, I guess you could define me as an entertainer/artist with a passion for all that I do, whether its music, comedy, film, or live performance. As for what I do, I feel I simply entertain people across the globe, and love bringing smiles to people, because although I didn't take the Med School track I was originally destined for, laughter is definitely the best medicine.
Tirusha: I could not have put it together better than you have! Well, I’m sure the readers noticed that I didn’t ask you where you’re from. That’s because you’ve been coined a ‘Citizen of the World.’ Tell our readers a little bit about what that phrase means to you and how it truly represents you as a person?
Harvin: Well the phrase came up from exactly that, people always asking me where I'm from, but me not being able to give just one answer. I was born in India, but have lived around England, spent most of my childhood in the Midwestern US in Ohio and Illinois, and after my parents moved to Northern California, I found myself at UC Irvine in Orange County. With that being said, I don't feel one region represents me, and I can't represent just one region, hence the term "Citizen of the World." I see myself always moving and going to new places, and meeting new people, and because of all the moving around in my life, I've developed a very adaptive personality to wherever I am and whomever I meet, sort of a "cosmopolitan" vibe. I also don't like labels, because I think a label has a good chance of bringing a stereotype or preconception instantly whether you are labeled as someone from "so Cal," "nor Cal," "India," etc. Don't get me wrong, I think identity is very important, but at the same time, I make it a point not to be pigeon holed as just one type of personality.
Tirusha: Before we take a look into the present life of you and what the future holds, let’s take a blast into the past. Tell us about your ‘oxymoronic’ band in High School, “Upstairs in the Basement.” Do you still keep in touch with the old members and other High School friends?
Harvin: Ha, yes! That band was the best. I was actually an addition to the band my junior year of high school. It was basically my first independent music venture outside of school, and I got to rock the guitar and the mic, so it also gave me that experience of writing music, performing live, and learning the guitar. Those were the best things about our band! We were creative and talented individuals, and were all learning our respective instruments and strengths in music together. We did two patio concerts at our number one fan's house, which also happened to be our best friend. Thank goodness to Facebook, I definitely still keep in touch, and even kick it with them when I go back to the Midwest, or they're out here. Since high school, I've come out here, the lead singer, Rob is out in Vegas working, and still making UITB music, our bassist Justin went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and Hank the drummer...I think he's still sitting on a drum set in Illinois waiting for all of us to come back.
Tirusha: Wow, that’s quite interesting! Okay, so onto the present life of Harvin Sethi! For the past few years and into today, people know you as ½ of the dynamic duo – Pari and Harvin. How do you think your life would have been if there was no ‘Pari and Harvin?’ Do you think that you would have accomplished what you would have in a comedic sense if your humoring pair did not exist?
Harvin: Who knows where fate would have taken me, but I literally know that I would not be "half the person" I am today if Pari and Harvin did not go down. I never explored the Indian side of my comedy until I met Pari. To be honest, I think my Indian accent, which I am dearly close to with my characters and persona today, came into fruition after meeting Pari and just talking about our families. PariAndHarvin.com has always been the home base for all entertainment and artistic projects that I've been involved with over the past several years. It always goes back to that amazing chemistry and comedy platinum that happens when I get together with my "brotha from anotha Mathur."
Tirusha: You’ve been linked with super-comedians like Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel. But you and I can both agree on is that the most important thing that happened to you this year is your relationship with musical personality, Tak (Ribkat) of Styles and Beyond. That can truly be defined as ‘synchronicity,’ and I’d love for you to share with us why!
Harvin: Definitely an interesting story. Well, during my senior year in college, when I jumped into the standup comedy scene in Hollywood, I was called in for a meeting at NBC studios. After the meeting, because of my boredom I found myself getting into the Tonight Show with Jay Leno audience, hanging out for a while around the set, and then out of further lack of plans, I went to a taping of Carson Daly, also on the NBC lot. It was at the Carson taping that I found out a new group Fort Minor was performing, including Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park. Their performance was amazing, bumpin, and something I hadn't really heard before musically. After the taping, I was hanging around outside the set with the group, and struck up some friendly convo with Tak. We vibed pretty well for a first time meeting, and I thought that was that, and I'd just see him on TV. However, the next day, I was invited to the Jimmy Kimmel Live Green room, and when I entered, who else was the musical guest but Fort Minor. So two days in a row of Tak definitely left an impression on each of us. We wouldn't see each other for another year and a half, this past October was the first time I saw him since Jimmy Kimmel. Since then he had gone on a world tour with Fort Minor, and grew a huge fan base globally. While I, well, finished school in Orange County and started my journey into entertainment. When we met again in October, it was at his release party for his new Ribkat tracks and collaboration with Josy B. The day after the party, Tak checked out my website and fell in love with Ramesh (who wouldn't?). That started what became our current collab of comedy, filmi and music! Phew...that was a story and a half.
Tirusha: Yeah, that sure was! It was during your recent trip to India that you really fell into the teachings of Gandhi and got more inclined with your musical side. Tell us a little about this trip and how it educated and changed you as a person.
Harvin: I've actually made several trips to India over the last few years, and each has affected me and helped to shape what is my current mentality. I found myself agreeing with a lot of Gandhi's beliefs and ideals of life as many people do, but more than agreeing, I felt an inclination to truly live those ideals in the best way I could, "Be the change" I wanted to see in the world, and follow his credence of Ahimsa, or non violence.
Tirusha: Musically we know you’ve done things mainstream such as the Timberlake video, What Goes Around Comes Around;” but what about the South Asian music scene? Are there any projects we should be on the look-out for? Are there any particular artist collaborations? Give me some kind of juicy detail to share with everyone!!
Harvin: Haha, of course! I'm brushing up on my Hindi and Punjabi definitely for some future vocals. I've been involved with Hindi film and Bhangra dance teams, and even a South Asian Acappella team. I've also started to chop up some classic Hindi film tracks, and am just messing around with that. As for collaborations, it looks like 2008 will be the year for me to meet the South Asian music scene. My publicist is actually initiating some collabos, one in particular being with Ajaxxx.
Tirusha: Okay, now you know that this question was inevitable and as a girl, I have to look out for all the ladies out there? So Mr. Sethi...is there a lucky lady in your life? And don’t try to be cheesy and answer with your mom or your publicist! (laughing)
Harvin: Well you forgot my sister, haha. Lucky lady huh? I am not fortunate enough to be someone's lucky guy I guess you could say right now, but hey, 2008 is the year for collaborations, and who knows? (laughing also)
Tirusha: Well with that said, let’s look into my not-so-crystal ball and see what the future for 2008 holds for you! Care to share some insights?
Harvin: Sure, definitely a lot, a lot of PariAndHarvin.com will be hitting the scene, and with a bang with the release of PARIandHARVIN.com v2.0. I've got a couple of films that will be releasing throughout the year, definitely my first musical releases, and even a cartoon. I just was hired as the voice of Ram on the cartoon Mixed Nutz, I play the father of Sanjay a kid who has the aspirations of being an entertainer. The Cartoon has already gotten some great publicity on CNN, since the producers, Norooz Productions have already released a cartoon in the past about the Persian New Year that garnered international attention. I'm also working on a national comedy tour, many live shows, and just a lot of fun side projects, including the Pari and Harvin comedy clothing line on DesiThreads.com.
Tirusha: Wow, well you’re apparently the man of the moment and living up the role of a, well…role model! Harvin, talking to you has always been a pleasure and I know that your road to success, with or without the diversions, is going to bring you much happiness – I am certain about that. Any final words for all your fans and the readers of SimplyBhangra.com?
Harvin: I wish urrrybody a great 2008, just keep in mind that anything is possible, struggle is always a doorstep to success, and if at first you don't succeed, redefine success :) and...mango juiiiiice....crank dat mofo curry sauce aight?!