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interview with...
Malkit Singh   


Malkit imageMalkit 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 I’m thankful to the public and of course, to God for every success I’ve 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.


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 visit?

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 it’s now been on-line for about 3 months. I’ve 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 a couple of 'High points' that has come out your success. What award that you received means to most to you?

malkit tumbi
All awards are equally as important or special to me as they reflect the public’s 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 Francisco’s 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?

midas touch albumnI must be sounding repetitive now, but I love all my songs! They are like a part of me because I’ve 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...I’m 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 too!


raggamuffin albumnDo 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?

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.


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 Harvinder’s album right now and hopefully it will be released in the next 3/4 months It’s a very exciting time for him and me and I’m sure he’ll get the support he deserves.


Are you following the cricket world cup?... any predictions?

Obviously I follow India, but they don’t seem to be doing too well!


Are you performing on Dec 31 1999 for the new millennium?

There are plans to perform which I can’t 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...I’ll let you know! I’m playing in Chicago and then Paris in June and July.


Would you like to end the interview with any final thoughts or comments?

I’d 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 Singh.