SimplyBhangra.com's Kulwinder Kaur Kainth exclusively caught up with Benny Dhaliwal to talk about his past, future projects and exclusive news regarding a film career!
Benny Dhaliwal, the man behind the track ‘De De Dil’ from the album Pure Platinum, Following hit songs such as ‘Nach Le’, ‘Ajj Nachna’, ‘Hai Oye’ fromAman Hayer's huge album ‘The Entourage’ . Not forgetting the release of Va Vai Va and Remember from his debut solo album ‘Va Vai Va’, will now be heading his way to Bollywood! As well as releasing his new single ATT- JATT.
So where was Benny Dhaliwal born and raised?
Born in Woolwich and was raised in Belvedere, Kent.
What is Benny short for?
My names short for Davinder.
Your songs are played often on radio stations, music channels and of course at weddings. You are known around the world. How do you feel about this?
It’s a blessing to be honest, it was unexpected.
After the success of your album and song ‘Va Vai Va’, your latest album includes the second part to the song which is called Ghora 2. Tell us more about the album.
We began work on the album soon after the release of ‘Va Vai Va’. The highlight of the album for me was the song AISH which I wrote a lot of, in my time away in prison, leaving the finishing touches to Amrit Mangwalia who has written on the album. Ghora 2 had to be done because of the love we received from ‘Va Vai Va’. The song brings back a lot of memories and is personal to me; it is dedicated to my Ustad Harjit Brar.
Do you write your own songs or have any influence on them?
I have a big say in my songs, there's times where I do write a substantial part of them.
In your videos you refer a lot to Kabbadi and talk about the players. What is the reason for this?
Simple reason is that I am originally a Kabaddi player, captaining the England national team at the age of 16. The sport gave me a lot and I shall always give back in return, it’s shown me the world. They say the best education comes through travelling. Also, I always try and keep in touch with the up and coming young players.
Your music videos and song lyrics are clean. This allows families to enjoy your music. However, there are Punjabi songs which could be argued are not appropriate to watch and listen to with families. What are your views on this?
We do try to keep it clean and enjoyable at the same time, capturing the right balance is crucial as music videos have such a huge affect on songs nowadays. As for other artists and music videos, I can’t really judge.
I believe Raju Dinehwala is your older brother. Have you thought about doing a duet with him?
We have thought about it as we have been asked the question many times, funny enough not a lot of people know we are brothers. For sure one day, Raju and I will release something; we currently have pre planned releases.
Is there anyone within the industry you are collaborating with, or would like too?
I am happy working with Aman Hayer, however there maybe a couple of projects in the pipeline in the near future.
Your songs vary from dance tracks, to slow songs. What do you prefer singing more?
Hands down I love singing sad and romantic songs, as well as listening to them.
How did you get involved in music? Have you been trained?
I haven't been trained what so ever, as it was purely fun. Now it’s become a profession. However, I have learnt a lot over the years. But from a young age I’ve always been around international artists.
So who is your inspiration within the Punjabi industry?
Has to be Labh Heera and I've always enjoyed Jazzy B's performances.
What other genres of music do you listen too?
Bhangra, folk, desi, punjabi lol
What is the one best song you've recorded and why?
One of my best songs has to be ‘Remember’, again in dedication to Ustad Harjit Brar. The other is ‘Va Vai Va’ just because everyone was against it, but my gut instinct always told me it was going work.
Many Punjabi singers are going into the film scene, have you thought about acting?
I would like to reveal today, Simply Bhangra exclusive. That I have signed a deal to act in a huge Bollywood movie, we shall update you further on the following months ahead.
Have you thought about singing for Bollywood in Hindi or Punjabi? Or will you just stay within the Bhangra Industry?
I love being in the Bhangra industry, but you never know where life is going to take you. I'll only do what I enjoy.
If you hadn’t gone into music, what career path would you have chosen?
It scares me to think what I would have been doing.
Do your son’s show any interest in Punjabi music?
Yes, there are Bhangra fanatics.
You are a very stylist man; this is seen via your music videos and Instagram pictures. Do you enjoy shopping and getting dressed, or do you get help?
Since a young age I've been really interested in fashion. I absolutely love classic cuts which are simple enough to wear every day and then shifting towards sharp tailoring for my performances.
I adore high end fashion simply because of the feel of the material. If you feel good, you know you're going to look good.
I shop for myself. I'm a great fan of Balmain, Lanvin & Balenciaga. These French houses know their stuff! I also love the great British designer Alexander McQueen
However, I am also a jogger and sweat shirt kind of guy - nothing beats lounging at home in your scruffs!
Has your fame affected you in any way?
Not at all, as my father told to remember the words of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, “pehla maran kabool jeewan ki chhad aas hohu sabhna ki reinka toh aao hamarey paas”, this keeps my feet grounded.
Where do you see yourself in 5 year's time?
God knows. Progression is the key. Being alive would be great in this day and age.
So, what does Benny Dhaliwal like doing in his free time?
Gym, eating, sports and having laugh with the boys
I know you’ve just got back from India. What will your fans be expecting this year?
Firstly, my new single is coming out real soon with Aman Hayer ‘ATT = JATT’. A few big collaborations coming in the near future and as I revealed earlier, my role in an upcoming Bollywood film.
And lastly any message to the readers?
Love you all, thank-you for all your support through thick and thin. We're going to have a good year. I would also like to give a big shout out to Hari B, Kali Quest and Harj Nargra from North America.
Interview by Kulwinder Kaur Kainth and Parminder Singh Heera