I am so proud of every British-Asian that produces music
With an exclusive interview, DESIblitz speaks to singer and musician Jassi Sidhu. The UK Bhangra star who has shown going solo was the way to go! Jassi brings to the fore his continuous support for the UK Bhangra music scene world-wide, combined with his unique talent, voice and passion for number one music.
Jassi was born in the UK and has lived most of his life in the West Bromwich area of the West Midlands. He went to Handsworth Grammar School for Boys in Birmingham in the UK. He then went onto study his Law degree at Wolverhampton University.
Influenced by Bhangra artists like of Malkit Singh, DCS and Achanak, at the age of 16, Jassi started his singing career. In 1996, he teamed up with the Bally and Bhoota Jagpal to form B21, a new wave Bhangra band for that era of Bhangra music in the UK. The name B21 chosen to represent the post-code of the Handsworth area of Birmingham, where they lived.
After the band’s debut album, ‘The Sounds of B21’, it was the second album, ‘By Public Demand’, released in 1998, featuring songs like Chandigarh and Putt Sardara De that catapulted Jassi and the band into a household name in Bhangra music. Their next album ‘Made in England’ included the hit Darshan which further established Jassi Sidhu as the real lead singer of the band. Then, their final album ‘Long Overdue’ was tarnished by the problems in the band, especially the much publicised personality clash between Jassi and Bally Jagpal. It echoed what Jassi felt was really long overdue – time for him to leave the band.
Jassi split from the band in 2002 to the amazement of many, and with regards to the split, Jassi has been open and vocal in interviews. Quotes by Jassi include that the band were nothing more than a ‘glorified mime act’ and that it was not the ideal platform for his music.
“The real reasons will hopefully never transpire for the others sake, but generally there were too many personal differences between Bally and myself. “
Jassi then wanted to prove to himself and the industry that he had what it took to become a bigger and more established solo artist. In June 2003, he released his first album – ‘Reality Check’ (More than just a Postcode). The album sold over 400,000 copies world-wide and was a huge success. Tracks such Ranjha and Ama ni Ama where massive hits. The album earned Jassi the Best International Album award at the ETC Punjabi Music Awards in 2004, making him the first UK born Punjabi artist to win an award in Punjab, India.
Jassi Sidhu then went on tour and in between gigs released his next interim album called ‘Aashqui’ in 2005. Specifically, in India, to further gain confidence and the support of Indian fans.
When working on his next major recording project, Jassi felt that an album should be like a story and wanted to add some experimentation with remixes and said “Its not what you would expect from the typical ‘Jassi singing on a dhol.’ The way the album has been laid out, every track is different to the last.” This album was ‘No Strings Attached’, a huge blockbuster hit, released in 2006 and included a remix by Rishi Rich.
After lots of touring, meeting fans around the world and maturing, Jassi then embarked on ‘The New Adventures of Jassi Sidhu’ the next offering of his music. The album features no other than MBE winner Malkit Singh singing alongside Jassi in the hugely popular hit Ki Keneh. Dance floor fillers like Koka and catchy hook based songs like Sohni Lagudhi play their part on this diverse album. Jassi commissioned the music production services of Rishi Rich, Aman Hayer and Pamma Sarai for some of the tracks on the album. After some delay the album was released in March 2008 and charted to number one in the UK and around the world.
Today, Jassi Sidhu has one of the most instantly recognisable voices in Punjabi music. He has proved himself outstandingly from to being a mere member of a ‘boy band’ to now easily claiming international solo stardom. Leaving those egos behind and venturing out on his own, has demonstrated his real capability. Being a solo artist, Jassi has been able to take his particular style and sound to a much wider audience, allowing him to become an elite member of Punjabi music faternity.
Jassi Sidhu has established himself through his hard work and dedication and as part of the drive, prides himself as an ambassador for UK Bhangra music. He feels strongly about the need to ensure UK Bhangra music plays an important role in the Punjabi music revolution. He has a genuine worry that if the amount of criticism given to home-grown talent does not convert to support, the UK Bhangra industry will decline rapidly. As overseas, most Punjabi artists and producers look at the UK as leaders in the international market. Jassi says “Whatever anyone says, we are second, third generation Asians from England. Our roots are in India. But India is not to me what it is to my parents. The UK is my home. I am so proud of every British-Asian that produces music.”
Find out more about him, when we ask him lots of interesting questions, in our exclusive interview with Jassi Sidhu in the video below.
Check out the slideshow of pictures below of Jassi Sidhu. Click on any photo to traverse through the gallery.
Jassi Sidhu is an avid Liverpool Football Club supporter, enjoys pizza, loves the music of the Back Street Boys and does not class himself as a romantic.