Junai Kaden burst onto the scene earlier this year with his smash hit single Aaja Mere Naal. The protégé of award-winning superstar Mumzy Stranger has continued to flourish, performing at melas and clubs across the country.
Junai Kaden speaks to SimplyBhangra about his journey so far and his imminent album, as he prepares to headline a 10-city tour with Mumzy Stranger!
Junai, we’re glad to feature you!
I’m glad to be featured! Thanks for having me.
“This album is from my heart.”
Your debut album, From Me To You, is out October 3rd. What do you want to give your fans via this album?
This album means a lot to me. Mumzy and I have spent the last six months locked away in his studio singing, song writing and producing the whole album, having so many sleepless nights we've lost count! But, to all my fans, I would like to say that this album is from my heart. It is purely for my fans, and is titled to all my fans; From Me To You.
If From Me To You is a heartfelt gift, how would you describe what’s in the box? What is it like, musically?
The album has a fusion of nearly every genre you can think of. Mumzy and I wanted to show our versatility within the vocals and production and really broke some rules when it came to developing 'the Kaden sound' as he'd call it.
From Me To You has a mix of great vibes from Bollywood to Hip-Hop, RnB to Pop, 2-Step to Bhangra, and a dash of Drum and Bass. And not forgetting it’s sung in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and English. It’s eclectic in a lot of ways!
“I was always put down by people and so-called friends at the time who had no belief in me.”
Is it true that you initially viewed your dream of becoming an artist as being too far away?
Every aspiring artist or musician has a dream to be successful, to be a world-renowned global superstar. Growing up was hard as I was always put down by people and so-called friends at the time who had no belief in me. Going to different auditions and academies trying to become something was incredibly hard. But, finally, I found my path when I was picked up and signed by Mumzy and Tiffin Beats Records.
How did you come to sign to them?
I was picked up by Tiffin Beats Records and Mumzy last year at the Rishi Rich Academy. The funny thing is; before I started working with Mumzy, it came to light that mine and Mumzy’s families are actually very close friends and have all grown up together since they were young kids! So, having that connection there through family made everything perfect.
How did that point in your career help mould you, having initially been an uncertain artist?
Being signed and part of a huge team, having Mumzy as a mentor, travelling and performing so early in my career and seeing that I have fans is what boosted my confidence and made me realise that I can actually do this. The fans make it happen!
How would you describe the dynamic between you and Mumzy, student to mentor?
The first time I met Mumzy and told him what I wanted to achieve and what I was feeling, he said, “I see myself, when I was a kid, in you.” The vibe we have in the studio and on stage performing together is electric, especially when the crowds go nuts!
I feel humbled to be working with Mumzy as he has taught me a lot and is still teaching me.
Turning an ‘electric’ dynamic into Electro-infused Punjabi: Junai Kaden’s Aaja Mere Naal (featuring Mumzy Stranger):
“I do it for the love of music, and my fans are amazing!”
How would you describe where you are as an artist right now and the big things you’ve done already?
To be honest, my manager talks to me like 50 times a day! [Laughs] And he says to me, “You don't realise how fast you’ve grown as an artist in a short amount of time. From headlining nearly all the melas this year to the huge fan base that's growing so fast that people want you over in their towns internationally! To dropping an album worldwide to going onto doing a tour!” I always reply, “Isn't that how it is with all artists?” [Laughs]
Hey, what the heck, I do it for the love of music, and my fans are amazing! I can't say anything bad, to be honest. The journey has been incredible so far!
Junai Kaden live at 2011’s East London Mela
Having gained so much experience alongside Mumzy, what’s the best part of performing live? And what would you like to say ahead of headlining a 10-city UK Tour along with Mumzy?
The best part of being on stage is seeing the crowd’s reaction when they hear my music. Recently, at melas, I've come on stage and all I can see is a wave of hands up in the air and people going crazy, jumping up and down to my music. Now, that's what I call mental!
And Mumzy and I will be embarking on a UK Tour, starting October 10th. We’ll be performing in 10 cities, alongside, I would say, more or less all of the industry! [Laughs] So, we have an amazing line-up for you all, so make sure you’re all there!
Much love, Junai Kaden!
Mumzy Stranger, Junai Kaden, Char Avell and Tasha Tah all extend this message to the SimplyBhangra readers on behalf of the Tiffin Beats Family:
Thank you for all the constant support we receive from the SimplyBhangra readers. It’s really important that we as a scene are constantly supporting each other and promoting each other. United, we become stronger! At the end of the day, we are here for the fans – much love to all of you! Thank you to SimplyBhangra for all the good work and support!
Interview by Govinda Lakha.