Malkit Singh, the king of Bhangra, an international
phenomenon. He made song like "Hey Jamalo... Tootak Tutean" and
"Jugni" household in the 80's. He has performed all around
the world were others dream and has paved the way for many other Bhangra artists. He
is an icon in the industry and still loves to perform live and come out with new albums
even after 20 years. Now he has entered the world wide web with his own web site...
a place were you can hear samples of his songs and find out more about his career.
He also has released his 14th albumn, Millennium Mixes.
We sat down with him, read what
he had to say.
Interview by Satinder.
Looking back to the early
1980's, did you ever think 'Malkit Singh' would be as successful as you are today?
I always had faith in my ability and
singing but success can never be estimated. When I recorded Gurh Nalo... and
then Tootak I knew they were good songs but the response from the public was
unbelievable. It took me by surprise to some extents but Im thankful to the public
and of course, to God for every success Ive had.
Besides your career as a
musician what other professions did you hold?
Back in India, I was in the process
of finding a job after my studies, but then I came to the UK and settled here. Since then,
music has been my sole profession.
The website was a result of feedback from the fans...they were begging me to get
inline with the technological revolution As a result, I told my PR team to get the
information together and set up he site and its now been on-line for about 3 months.
Ive had a stream of positive feedback through the email since. I do surf the
net...mainly the music and news sites...nothing specific.
Tell us about your web site ...
www.malkitsingh.com. Who's idea
was it? Do you surf the internet at all? If you do what are your favorite sites to
us a couple of 'High points'
that has come out your success. What award that you received means to most to you?
All awards are equally as important or special to me as they reflect the publics
appreciation and that is what counts. At the same time, I was presented with an award by
the former Indian Prime Minister, Mr. I K Gujral, a few years ago at his New Delhi home
for services to Panjabi Music, that was quite special too.
You performed all over the world. I have seen you perform for the first time in New York
City at the Lincoln Center probably in the early or mid 1980's with Golden Star and Preeti
Sapru, at the Beacon Theatre in NYC in the mid '90s and also at Nehru Stadium in New Delhi
in 1994 w/ Bally Sagoo to a packed venue. I must say the concert at Nehru Stadium was
amazing... never seen a performance like that before. I was even chased by the Delhi
police with sticks after jumping on to the stadium grounds. Where has your most
memorable concert been?
My most memorable concerts include the few you mention, plus others including
playing in Greece, Maple Leaf Gardens and Paramount Wonderland in Toronto,
London Royal Albert Hall, San Franciscos Sheraton Palace Hotel and a number of
events in Dubai and the Middle East. Again, there have been a number of memorable
performances in stadiums and smaller halls and arenas - too many to mention!
Out of all your songs that you
have sang, which one makes you smile the most when you hear it?
I must be sounding repetitive now, but I love all my
songs! They are like a part of me because Ive nurtured them and brought them into
the world! Tootak, Gurh Nalo and the Midas Touch
tracks have been fantastic for me but hearing, singing or seeing my songs on screen all
mean so much to me.
I know your a big fan of Kuldip Manak and Nusrat Fateh ... are there any other musicians that you follow?
Kuldip Manak was one of my singing idols when I was growing up and Nusrat Fateh
Ali Khan sahib was my mentor in the latter days of his life. He is my singing inspiration
still and without him the world is missing a great and special man. I generally follow
music throughout the world and I do admire my western counterparts like Celine Dion,
Madonna, Michael Jackson, UB40, Puff Daddy and even Busta Rhymes...Im open to all
types of music!
You went to Khalsa College in
Jallandhar and state that's when your singing became even more important. Its not just
only you but other Punjabi singers that have their roots in Jallandhar like Hans Raj Hans,
Apache Indian, Sukhbir and probably alot more. What is so special about Jallandhar?
Jallanader was were I was brought up, my hometown and a place which will always
remain close to my heart. My parents still live there and I still go there four or five
times each year. It is part of my heritage. It
seems that the water in Jallander is extra special! I don't know why there has been such a
number of big names to come from there, but it's got to do with the saag and maki di roti
To an extent the mixes attracted an
different and wider audience but I felt that the audience was warming to my new style of
Bhangra anyway. Obviously the mixes proved to popularize my songs and reach out to a new
generation of music fans.
Do you think the 1991 album 'Golden Star
Raggamuffin mix' by Bally Sagoo started your popularity with the second generation
Punjabis living in the UK, Canada and the USA. Did this album and the Bally Sagoo mix
'Jugni' change you music style?
What is your
favorite dish? When your not recording or touring, how do you spend your time?
Food...I love all Panjabi foods, but I also love Chinese and gourmet dishes too.
I do eat meat and love the many varieties of chicken and fish from around the world. My
spare time is spent with my wife and two daughters here in England, but music is
constantly in my mind!
Does your family accompany you
to concerts around the world?
My family do not go on tour with me as it would disrupt the kids education. We
take our own private holidays planned around school vacations.
How is your brother's,
Harvinder, music career coming along?
We are in the process of recording
Harvinders album right now and hopefully it will be released in the next 3/4 months
Its a very exciting time for him and me and Im sure hell get the support
Obviously I follow India, but they
dont seem to be doing too well!
Are you following the cricket world cup?... any predictions?
Are you performing on Dec 31
1999 for the new millennium?
There are plans to perform which I cant confirm just yet.
When will you be coming to New
York or New Jersey?
I played in New York last November and
there may be another show later this year...Ill let you know! Im playing in
Chicago and then Paris in June and July.
Would you like to end the
interview with any final thoughts or comments?
Id like to thank all my fans around the world for the constant support and
words of encouragement they keep giving me. I hope to serve them well and with more songs
and albums in years to come.
Visit the official Malkit Singh web site.
Some images are courtesy of Malkit