Gurinder Seagal is an upcoming Punjabi-born UK singer. He began his musical journey as a tabla player before migrating from India in his early teens. And he’s still clearly in tune with what a Desi audience wants, as his debut single Tu Rendeh is a free download! (Patience... link below)
Gurinder Seagal speaks to SimplyBhangra about honing his craft here and in India, his musical ethos, Tu Rendeh and more!
Gurinder, welcome! Before you moved to the UK, you were a tabla player in India. Tell us about that and about your background more generally.
I belong to a religious Sikh family and my dad always wanted me to get into any religious activity. Tabla and harmonium are two instruments that are used for Shabad Kirtan (hymn singing), which I got involved in.
My family’s support and my own interest made things, like the rhythm and basic point of the instrument, a lot easier and quicker to understand than with other students. By the age of ten, I was good enough to participate in competitions and win top prizes, including many from the well-known Delhi Punjabi Academy.
“...moving to a totally different country was just like starting everything from scratch.”
What was the migrant experience like for you?
Leaving everything behind – all my friends, school, relatives, tabla teacher, Bhangra group, karate club – and moving to a totally different country was just like starting everything from scratch. It was a little challenging, but, at the end, I got used to it.
When you came to the UK, how musically-aware were you, in terms of taste and style? What kind of singer did you envisage yourself as?
I was only 13 when I came to the UK and didn’t understand the British-Asian music scene. To be very honest, I never thought I’d become a singer. All I wanted was to play the tabla with the biggest artists in UK and entertain audiences!
“Back in India... it’s really hard to find someone who will help you reach your dream...”
How did being in the UK affect what you wanted to do and how you could pursue it?
That is a really important question. Being in UK made things a lot easier. I performed one song at my high school and have been getting support from everyone since then. Back in India, you’ll find a lot of teachers or academies from which to learn and become an artist, but it’s really hard to find someone who will help you reach your dream and show your talent to the world.
From being a tabla player, how was your transition to becoming a professional singer? What challenges did it present?
Being a tabla player made things easier for me. It got me in-rhythm; I knew all the different styles and gharanas of singing.
The real challenge I had was learning to concentrate more on the singing side itself.
Gurinder Seagal sharing his progress as a singer:
Does your time in India influence your style? Would you agree that Tu Rehndeh – fun, quirky, and not taking itself too seriously – wouldn’t be out of place in a Bollywood film?
Yes, the time I’ve spent in India plays a big role in my singing! Nowadays, Bollywood is not only about Hindi songs. Bollywood can take anything and everything. If any of the producers think Tu Rendeh is something they’re looking for, they’ll surely get in touch!
Gurinder Seagal’s debut single Tu Rendeh:
Click here to download the song for FREE
Rationalize it: 79p cheaper than iTunes, and literally unbeatable value!
How did Tu Rehndeh come about? How did you meet the producers, KaZnHami?
The credit goes to Facebook. That’s where the idea came from; when I was talking to my friend and she said, “Gurinder, tu rendeh!”. DJ Nas introduced me to KaZnHami after a performance at a mela in East London.
What was your aim with this track? To do something outside of the box?
We did do something out of the box, definitely. This track is not just about a ‘soni kurri’, ‘pyar’ or any other topic that everyone is coming out with.
KaZnHami's music is so fresh and different, which makes this song stand out and talk for itself.
Gurinder Seagal with Hami of the production duo KaZnHami
What’s your experience in music been like so far, in terms of fan response and the industry itself?
Amazing response. I’m so appreciative of the great support from all the televisions channels, radio stations and, of course, the huge support from SimplyBhangra. We’re thankfully getting a great response and support from the audience too.
What would you say is the most significant difference between the UK and Indian scene?
There is a huge, basic difference between the UK and Indian scene in particular. Simply because Hindi and Punjabi are the main languages in India, by comparison, there’s a massive number of people watching you and a massive amount of opportunities because so many more people could get involved in what it is you bring out to the audience.
Presumably, the Indian scene still holds a very special place in your heart and mind?
Absolutely, it does!
“I want to bring something fresh, clean, catchy and different...”
What do you aim to bring to the scene now?
I want to bring something fresh, clean, catchy, and different, so everyone can feed their soul with a different-tasting music. And I always work harder and harder to try and improve myself and what I can bring to the scene!
Tu Rehndeh, your first contribution to the scene, is out now. What else can we look forward to from you in the future?
There is a lot to come! I have my whole album ready, in which I have different flavours of music for everyone.
What advice would you offer aspiring and fellow upcoming artists?
If you want to become an artist, find a teacher and learn and understand the instrument or the style of singing professionally.
Gurinder, thank you for the interview! What closing message would you like to extend to all of the SimplyBhangra readers?
Respect your parents, respect your teachers and believe in yourself. Give your level best to make your dream come true, whatever it is. One last thing; please give me a little space in your heart!
Much love, Gurinder Seagal.
Interview by Govinda Lakha