After successfully releasing his second solo album in Summer 2013 titled 'Old Habits Die Hard' - Producer/Musician/Lyricist GV caught up with SimplyBhangra.com for this exclusive interview!
So tell us how did you come up with the name GV?
As my name is Gurpreet Virk, it was just a nickname I was given in school and I've stuck with it ever since!
Where were you born and raised?
Born and bred in Birmingham
How did you get involved in music? Have you always had a passion?
I've had a passion for music from a very young age, I was surrounded by musical influences throughout my childhood so I started playing music quite early on and over the years my musical ear has developed. Making music is something I've always wanted to do.
So GV who inspires you to make music?
I've been inspired by many musical influences over the years but to name some I would say Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Metallica, Guns and Roses, Oasis, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, Erika Badhu, Sade, Amy Winehouse, Dr Dre, Jay Z, Tribe Called Quest, Common, Naughty by Nature, Gurdas Maan, Safri Boyz, B21, DCS, Punjabi Mc
Do you feel the British Asian industry is more dominated by males and the females aren’t credited enough?
I believe yes it is more male dominated, but to say that females aren't credited enough is an unjust sweeping statement. There simply just aren't enough credible female artists in our scene who catch the imagination, I hope in time this will change and there is more of a balanced split between male and female artists. I, myself am working with a great new female singer who I hope to launch this summer.
So tell us what instruments do you play?
Keyboard, piano, guitar, flute, tumbi, algozey and I'm currently learning other instruments.
Your first album From The Ground Up, tell us more about it?
I spent 3 years putting that album together and it was a long journey in finding my sound. It was very well received by critics and the buying audience and I'm very much proud of that album.
You are known as one of the best producers how do you feel about this? What makes you unique from the other producers?
First and foremost, I'm very humbled to be considered in that category of artist, this is something I've worked long and hard for and it hasn't been an overnight thing. I still have big dreams and new heights I'd like to achieve. A lot of my sound is quite musical and I've drawn on my experience in producing other genres of music such as pop, rock, hip hop, reggae and so on. I also write a lot of my own material so that sets me apart from a lot of other producers I feel.
So far in your music journey what has been the best and worst experience yet?
There have been a number of highs that spring to mind:
- Brick hitting the top 50 in the mainstream iTunes Charts
- The release of my debut album, because there were many times when I thought I'd never get to that point.
- Five singles from Old Habits Die Hard in the official Asian Download Chart top 40 in the same week, which nobody else did that year. As far as I'm aware,the only other album to have achieved that is Back To Basics by Diljit and Tru skool.
- Shooting the video for Aaj Kal in LA
- Being able to perform in front of thousands of people.
Of the worst experience I would say when I originally recorded an album in 2003 which never got released. I worked long and hard on that and invested all of my own savings into this, so naturally it was quite disheartening and broke my confidence for a few years.
You’ve played at prestigious venues such as the Birmingham symphony hall and the London queen Elizabeth’s hall, what other venues would like to play at?
I would like to play at Birmingham National Indoor Arena because it's my hometown venue. I would also like to play at Glastonbury or Madison a Square Garden in New York :)
Tell us about your single Legends Boliyan which has had a fabulous response! How did you come up with the concept?
Legends Boliyan was meant to be the opening track on OHDH and I had the concept even before I started this album, it has always been my dream to wor with artists I looked up To as a kid, I feel blessed to have fulfilled such an ambition.
You've just released the video for the song 'Girls' - How important is the message in the song for you and why did you chose to-do a video for a non 'commercial' song?
The message in this song & video is very important; The most important message I've ever shared through my music in fact. For me, making music isn't about always being 'commercial', it's also about expression. This is an issue I feel very strongly about and I wanted to highlight the amazing qualities that women add to this world. I made this song to promote equality between men and women. It's not right how girls are often regarded as less significant than boys in parts of our community, I wanted to try and change that outlook through my music.
Did you always want a career within the music industry?
Yes, this was my childhood dream.
You are signed with Moviebox, how beneficial is this?
It's been very beneficial for me, I have big dreams and ambitions and I feel that it's important to surround myself with the best label in the game. I'm extremely grateful for everything Moviebox has done for me since the day I signed with them back in 2010 to this present day.
Will you be signing up any artists and creating your own label in the future?
At the minute I'm still focused on establishing myself and exploring my own musical capabilities.
You’ve had numerous hits, what’s the secret?
There's no secret formula, I just try to stay true to the music. I make music I feel rather than trying to follow trends.
What do you prefer, albums or singles?
I prefer albums because they're a body of work and allows you to really express yourself artistically, however doing an album is no longer financially viable. Singles are definitely the way forward.
What other genres of music do you listen too?
I'm inspired by so many different genres of music from heavy metal, rock, pop, indie, old school Bollywood, hip hop, soul... the list is endless.
Who and what were your early passions and influences?
My earliest influences were people like Michael Jackson and Gurdas Maan.
What song which you have produced, would like to change and why?
Putt Jatt Da featuring Jaz Dhami as I feel it was overproduced and I could have done a better job.
Do you think it is fair for the producers to always get credit on songs, rather than the singers?
I don't agree that this is the case, it's often the singer who gets the credit/limelight/financial rewards from most releases. Of course, if as a producer you have put countless hours into composing and making the music, spent thousands of pounds of your own money on recording the song and shooting the video, would you not want to be credited for your work?
You are seen in your music videos, how necessary is this?
Absolutely necessary, because once again after all the effort and money you've put in, you naturally want the audience to know whose product it is.
It's not nice doing most of the hard work and graft, only to find the public ignoring your efforts and giving all props to the singer. This is why it's essential for producers to be in the video!
Everybody would want their efforts being acknowledged, in all walks of life. That's how you build a brand in this new era.
You have worked with some big names in the industry. Is there anyone within the industry you are collaborating with, or would like too?
I would love to work with Gurdas Maan!
Your songs are played often on radio stations, music channels and of course at weddings. You are well known. How do you feel about this?
I've always dreamed about these things happening, I've never taken it for granted and I'm extremely thankful for every bit of success I have had so far.
How has the support been?
Phenomenal, I can't thank the fans enough for the love they have shown from around the world.
How long does it take to produce a song?
How long is a piece of string? :) 'Fresh' took around 3 hours but other songs have taken days, it's really hard to say.
Do you approach singers, or do they approach you?
It works both ways.
What do you look at when working with an artist?
The first thing I look at is what they're like as a human being and how passionate they are about their art! I don't like working with shady characters or people in the music game for the wrong reasons.
You have posted two YouTube videos on working on music at home, how important is this to put context like this to the audience?
I don't feel it's absolutely essential but in this day and age where people get accused of ghost production, legitimate artists like myself have no problem in making videos like that and putting them up.
What are your views on ghost production?
I can see why DJ's do it because releasing a song helps them promote their brand and subsequently increase their roadshow bookings. What I don't respect is when people insist they produced something which they clearly didn't. You can't bulls**t the public and you're only cheating yourself.
How important is buying music legally? How does illegal downloads effect the
I think everybody knows how it affects the industry but nobody really cares so there is no point in listing the wrongs... It is what it is.
Your music is clean. This allows families to enjoy themselves whilst listening and watching videos. 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?
Each to their own! I like to make songs that everybody can enjoy and videos that don't cause an awkward moment in people's households. That being said, I don't sit there criticising other people. Music is an expression and people should be able to express themselves however they please. If there wasn't a market for more provocative songs & videos, they wouldn't be so successful would they?
What was the last song/ album you brought?
A hip hop album by YG called 'My Krazy Life'.
Social network is obviously a very important tool to attract audiences to the product.How much do you depend on it?
I would say it's very important. It allows me to reach my audience directly which otherwise may not be possible without social media.
Where do you see yourself in 5 year's time?
5 years down the line, I would like to be sat in the sun, on the beach, drinking a piña colada :) Let's see what the future holds...
What will the audience be seeing from you this year?
You'll have to wait and see, I'm constantly working hard planning future music.
What would you like to say to the readers and fans?
I would like to send out a heartfelt thank you to each and every person that has enjoyed my music, taken time to message me and just in general given my sound the time of day.
Interview by Kulwinder Kaur Kainth