(By: Tirusha Dave / Images Credits - Tapan Patel)
RDB & Nindy Kaur have taken over everything like there’s no tomorrow. It’s only a matter of time till little kids are taking lunch boxes to school that say ‘Aloo Chaat’ with a picture of RDB or their nominated for an MTV Music Award! Trust me, it’s RDB & Nindy Kaur – anything, and I mean anything, is possible. And they’ve shown just that; if you believe in what you’re most passionate about, you can achieve the impossible.
From touring across the world to four hit songs this year to performing at the biggest wedding in Bollywood, they’ve done that plus more! Now to me, their Kuly, Manj, Surj & Nindy; but to the rest of the world their idols, role models, and celebrities.
In between performing across India and preparing for the holidays, I had the pleasure (as always *wink wink*) to catch up with these amazing musicians for an exclusive interview. For your reading pleasure, I present, one final sit-down with RDB & Nindy Kaur!
Wow, you guys have had one heck of a year. Tell us, what was your most memorable moment 2009?
Kuly: As always touring with my brothers and sister in-law...seeing the tracks we've been making really light up fans faces…you just cant beat that feeling.
Manj: It has to be touring with the whole family; this includes Anoop, my son. Every time we got onto stage he would just run on and take the show over...he’s absolute nutcase just like his parents...haha!
Surj: For me it has to be the tours in India. It was great fun, and met so many new people.
Nindy: Performances and video shoos are hand-in-hand for me. But I’m going with video shoots. We shot the video for my song Akhiyan and it was loads of fun. It’ll definitely be something that the fans will love! I know we do!
Bollywood has been a big success for you since your first appearance in 2007. Tell us how you’ve grown as playback singers since your debut track Rafta Rafta.
Manj on vocals: Well as a singer I guess I've just tried to improve more and more as time has gone by. I never stop procrastinating and still have a lot to learn, but never the less I have given my 100% vocally to all our songs and its shown as people enjoy the songs.
Kuly/Surj on production: As Manj has the talent and vocals to front the RDB voice, we feel that a strong music base, behind him helps create our unique sound that Bollywood craves for.
Nindy: Speaking on what I’ve personally done, I think there’s a lot more that can be done. And trust me, 2010 will have a lot to show vocally. But I loved having my debut with two fun tracks, Aloo Chaat & Boliyan. On one side Aloo Chaat was on the Hip-hop edge and then there’re the traditional lyrics of Boliyan. The guys have also had the chance to show how versatile their production skills are as well. Everyone is going to go mad with all the new stuff!
What do you consider your biggest strength and inspiration outside of your family?
Manj: It has to be the fans for sure as they drive us to make better music...but also my friend Pips who's always giving me the pump which also helps, haha!
Kuly: Other amazing tracks and producers...inspiration is all around us.
Surj: Fans come first but also positive media push, because without them the fans wouldn't ever know!
Nindy: The fans are very inspirational.
So the one thing that I find great is that you guys interact. Whether it’s Twitter or Facebook, you’re always connecting with your fans. How has the Internet helped you four become closer with your fans as well?
Kuly: It’s always allowed us to be closer to our fans…to hear their views and comments and of course take on board their praises.
Manj: Its always good to see feedback from fans when you interact; I guess it’s a great way of showing appreciation to our loyal fans that we acknowledge them. It also shows the fans that we aren’t just big timers trying to make money and show off…for us its all about the music and bringing something fresh to the table.
Surj: Online presence has been one of our "must have" ways to communicate with people. Ever since we first started with www.RDBtv.com and then moved on; we feel that this is our best way to get our word and sound across to the masses.
Nindy: I think it’s fabulous. I have my fanpage on Facebook and whenever I change my status, everyone is always commenting. And it’s a good feeling when you see something that someone wrote, you comment back, and then they comment saying that you’re comment made their day. That really, in the end, makes my day, because I see that I’ve interacted with someone who appreciates my music and they are happy. I really need to get back on Tweeting though. I think my last Tweet was that I was out shopping with the boys, and I’ve done so much more since then!
What are your New Years resolutions?
Kuly: To spend more time with my family and in the studio!
Manj: To go on a strict diet and workout for this year! Nindy is probably laughing at that but I promise to stick by it…gotta get to Shahid Kapoor body status by 2011...haha!
Surj: Get married! Haha! I’m only joking; it’s the usual really: get toned up, make money, make music and make…I mean spread, love!
Nindy: Oh boy, this is a tough one! How about this: my New Years resolution is to not eat a lot of sweets like chocolates and mithais! That means stop giving me Hershey Kisses Tirusha!
Fair enough Nindy! So now onto something that I know all four of you love – fashion! Whenever I see you guys performing, style is a major part of your presentation. Who do you normally rock when you’re out on tour or doing a shoot?
Kuly: Classic CK tee and my Nudie jeans...simple and a forever classic look.
Manj: Well I have been flexing G-Star and True Religion; but since I went to India, I have found a great tailor who makes me the exact design I think of. In fact we teamed up with Desi Wear and we have our own design T-shirts, hoodies and jump suits, so I've been wearing our own stuff a lot.
Surj: It has to be G-bro (G-star); it fits well and looks the part. But as music, fashion keeps changing, so we’ll be adapting.
Nindy: I love shopping in the UK. I leave Toronto with two suitcases and come back with six!!! But when it comes to something Desi, I love designers like Neeta Lulla, Ritu Kumar and Manish Malhotra…hint, hint!
Okay Nindy, I get the point! Haha, well that was way to easy! Here’s a tough one! All of you guys are always wearing something fresh! Who do you think were the most stylish in Bollywood this year?
Kuly: I’ve always liked Amir Khan’s style...from sharp suits to funky T-shirts.
Manj: For sure I like Saif Ali Khan’s style; he for sure knows what going on there.
Surj: Aki's always wearing something fresh; but like all actors and actresses, you need the shape to make it look right.
Nindy: Kareena for sure. She was always looking good whenever I saw her and she’s got fab style too!
I said this before; a lot of people consider you role models in this industry. While you were starting off your musical careers, who did you look up to and consider as your own role models?
Kuly: Musically I had a large mix of role models, from Paul Simon to Petshop Boys...then as my musical tastes developed, I came to love all the present Hip-Hop greats from Dre to Timbo.
Manj: I used to look up to all artists such as Michael Jackson, Kriss Kross, MC Hammer and Bhangra all the classics like Alaap, Premi, Surinder Shinda, Kuldip Manak.
Surj: I was a big Rock fan, not just Indie or Pop Rock but had a big thing for Metal Rock, so influences ranged from Surjit Bindrakhia all the way to Bodycount.
Nindy: I was always very influenced by the Bhangra scene in the UK, so it's very hard for me to actually pinpoint cause back in the 80's all the bands were fantastic; but I must say without those bands I don't think I would be so inspired!
When you’re on the road travelling, what are the three things that you must have with you and why?
Kuly: My Macbook, my Flip HD Cam to catch all the backstage antics and of course my Blackberry!
Manj: My phone, my bros and my wife, and son...ok, ok that’s four but I don’t care (laughing).
Surj: My Titan luggage, (always need a good change of underwear), my phone (have to stay in touch with the world), and my laptop (need to write up the contracts).
Nindy: MY SON!!! My HUSBAND!!!! Wet wipes to clean the mic!!!!
You’ve done playback for actors such as Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor and Aftab Shivdasani. If you could pick three people you’d do playback for, whom would it be?
Kuly: I’d love to compose for Amir Khan, Shah Rukh or perhaps even Mr AB.
Manj: I would live to do playback for Abhishek, Shahrukh Khan, and Shahid Kapoor.
Surj: Anyone from Hollywood to Bollywood.
Nindy: Oh, that’s a tough one! I’d like to sing playback for Katrina, Bipasha, and Priyanka!
2009 has been nothing but successful for you. First let’s start with ‘Aloo Chaat’. When and how were you approached for the film? What were your initial thoughts?
Kuly: I thought "How the hell can you make ALOO CHAAT street credible" lol...worked out well though!
Manj: We met Faffy at the IFFA 2007 and he asked us to meet in his room for a quick chat, only to find out he’s a huge RDB fan. So we showed some tracks, which one of them was a beat we made for our album; who knew that it would be turn out to be a super hit Aloo Chaat.
Surj: It’s great how the actors themselves get involved first when it come to the music and then it filters out to the producers and directors.
Nindy: Well (laughing), the boys wanted to add some female vocals to the track and since I was doing Boliyan it was an obvious that they’d place me on this song as well. It was fun though because we shot nice video too it too and the song was hyped in the film’s promos too.
How did you decide to lay out the track Aloo Chaat the way you did?
Kuly: We actually put the guide layouts and vocals down on the plane coming back from Bangkok ! That’s how fast we like to work :)
Manj: It was solid at first because how do you say ‘aloo chaat’ in a song without it sounding silly?! So we banged our heads together and came out with a Hip-Hop, Lil John, style chant. As everyone knows...with a voice like Lil Johns, he can say anything and it sounds good!
Surj: It’s a track we felt would justify the unique title of "Aloo Chaat". It also worked so well for the promotion of the movie.
Nindy: You have five creative minds (including my superb father in law who writes all our hits in Bollywood)...someone’s bound to come up with something. It was actually quite funny... they gave us the concept of "ALOO CHAAT" now really how do you think of a tune and song to that? But yet again...it was possible with the great minds!
The next big success of 2009 was ‘Om Mangalam.’ Tell us about working on this track and the concept.
Kuly: Soon as Akki gave us the "Om Mangalam chant, the beat and chord structures just fit all perfectly around them. Add to that the "Don’t wanna love" tag line and it was perfect.
Manj: Akshay himself basically brought the concept together as he told us the story line and then gave us the hookline ‘Om Managalam.’ From there we took it to out father and behold…dad just summed up the whole film in three verses! We put down the beats and presto!
Surj: Breaking boundaries of all faiths.
Nindy: The song was fun! I loved when we did the recording sessions. And the video promo shoot was fun too! I think everyone fro m Akshay to Kareena enjoyed this song.
‘De Dana Dan’ was a super hit and it helped that the soundtrack was killer too! Tell us a little bit about the song Paisa (which is one of my all time favorites) and how it ended up being selected for this film.
Kuly: Simply another mixture of a great song concept and a great call by Akki to have it in the film.
Manj: It’s actually a old Punjabi song we made for the singer Manak-E and Aki loved it so much he used to perform it when he would get booked. It was only a matter of time when he would want it in a film. So we remade the track adding some UMMMFF and got Manak-E to re-sing it in Hindi. It fit the film and the scene just perfect.
Surj: It almost felt like the movie was created around this track and not visa-versa!
Nindy: As per usual Aki listens to RDB tunes in his car day in and day out...took a liking to Paisa Paisa and now its in 'De Dana Dan,' (laughing).
Now the biggest thing of 2009 was your performance at Shilpa Shetty & Raj Kundra’s wedding reception. It was the most talked about event. How were you all invited to perform and what was the experience like?
Manj: We got a call from Raj Kundra's brother in the UK who formally invited us to the occasion, so we were so pleased when they also asked us to perform to enhance the evening. We did what we had to do and made sure that Shilpa and Raj were on their feet on stage dancing; in fact Raj was lifted off his feet and carried across the stage!
Surj: It was great fun; Shilpa loves to dance so when we dedicated a track to her, she threw off her shoes and danced her heart out.
Nindy: The experience was great...Shilpa looked gorgeous as always. Everyone was very hospitable and we rocked the night away with our performance!
Nindy, you looked beyond stunning that night; tell us about who you were wearing.
Nindy: Thanks so much Tirusha! I was wearing a red & black lengha from Mumbai by Kimaya. They have some amazing stuff! I go crazy shopping in Mumbai...keep me away!!!!!
Based on the pictures it seems like you’ve made some new friends in B’wood! Tell us whom else you met?
Manj: There was too many to list that night and as we was guests as well as performers, we mingled and had a great evening talking to them all.
Surj: Everyone was a great pleasure to meet, some more than others.
Nindy: Sameera Reddy was a doll; we’ve become good friends now! Above all, I must mention I met an excellent friend/sister, Kiran Bawa whose Mumbai’s entrepreneur and proud owner of Iosis Medi Spa & Bawa Hotels...SHE ROCKS!!!!
It’s been quite the year! So to change it up a little bit, time for a random question; I had to throw it in there for kicks. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. So if you could be a vegetable for a day, which one would you be and why?
Kuly: I’d have to be a Purslane vegetable, as its apparently the rarest vegetable in the world!
Manj: Celery because it don't matter how much you eat, you just wont get fat.
Surj: Tomato, because its the only vegetable that grows on trees in the air, rather than deep in the ground!
Nindy: Saag spinach (laughing) because that’s Manj’s favourite!
See, wasn’t that fun! What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career in music?
Kuly: Never think you have reached the top because if you think you have, there’s only one way left to go...let your work do the talking.
Manj: Just don’t give up and try harder and harder to make quality music. Remember that it wont happen over night, it took us 14 years so hang in there because its gonna be a bumpy ride.
Surj: Get to know the people in the industry and work together, not against each other. AND KNOW THE BUSINESS!
Nindy: Believe in yourself and you’ll achieve all dreams & succeed in life.
So are there any secrets that can be told?! What’s in store for 2010 with RDB & Nindy Kaur?
Kuly: As always, we try not to big up everything we do before we've done it…when the time is right.. you will see :)
Manj: Big things with more films, more videos, new album ‘Worldwide,’ and maybe another kid…haha!
Surj: More music, videos, albums, all with a unique twist!
Nindy: (laughing) Who’s Manj having another kid with?!
Oh man, what did I start? (laughing) Alright guys, so do you have any final words for all your fans and our readers?
Kuly: We honestly love you all…without your support...we are just a family...with your support…we are RDB!
Manj: Thanks for all the support and keep pushing us to make better music for you guys.
Surj: Respect to all you guys n girls as we would be nowhere without you. See you all soon.
Nindy: Thank you to everyone for all the support. Trust me, you’ll love the new sounds in 2010 and can’t wait to see you all at our shows, lots of love to everyone!
Author’s Note: RDB & Nindy Kaur have shown the music industry what can be done if you’re passionate about what you do & determined to succeed. I’ve had the opportunity to see how they rock a crowd, how they make their fans smile, and how they just unwind & chill out, haha! They personify what it means to be talented & have never let anything stop them from reaching their goals.
They’ve dedicated over a decade to making exceptional music and we know that there’ll be another decade plus more of revolutionized Bhangra music from these four immensely talented personalities. If you already haven’t, then check out their website, http://www.RDBMusic.com & http://www.NindyKaur.com for all their upcoming performances, latest news, exclusive downloads, and much more! You can also catch RDB & Nindy Kaur on Facebook and they have Twitter too (RDB & Nindy Kaur). 2009 has been nothing but successful for them and I’m certain that 2010 will bring even more on the musical front! Happy New Year everyone and see you in 2010!