"I’ve been thrown straight into the industry."
A maths teacher from the West Midlands has gone from working at a school to becoming a Bollywood star.
Amir Bagga quit his job as a maths teacher in Coventry before shooting to fame in the Bollywood music industry.
Rio, who is based in Kenilworth, has signed a record deal and said:
“I was always a fan of Spanish, Brazilian music, and I think that what I can remember, I was always singing those kind of artists, it was always that Rio sound.
“It was overwhelming, I’ve been taken from this one teaching area of my life, and now I’ve been thrown straight into the industry.”
His music career took off in early 2021 after he collaborated on a song with Tasha Tah.
Rio continued: “It blew up everywhere, crossed over 1 million views, was the weekend anthem for BBC Asian network, it got massive exposure, I was so overwhelmed by it.
“It was an amazing journey, but there were times where I found it really overwhelming and difficulty, the industry is not as glamorous as you think, they want to change you, there’s a lot of things you have to change to fit the industry because you are a brand.”
Before becoming Rio Jai, he was Mr Bagga, a maths teacher at secondary school Bishop Ullathorne, where he enjoyed putting on the school musicals.
“It was an amazing time working at the school.
“I wanted to put a show on in the school, gave kids the opportunity to do a more upgraded style of showcase, I wanted kids to see what it was like to be something other than academic.
“Kids were getting scouted, we were getting recognition, I started realising I wanted that music life more and more, as I went into teaching more.
“I started teaching really young age 21, 22 so had a lot of things I wanted to do.”
However, he did not tell his family about his Bollywood music life.
He told them he was going to work conferences when in fact, he was filming music videos.
Rio eventually told them on a video call after he knew he was going to make it his career.
He explained: “I told them I’ve been lying to you for the past three years, I’ve been involved with the music industry, the shock on their face, first it was really happy for you, second was how can you keep it away from us and living under the same roof as us?”
Rio’s music has gained a huge following, which he says is down to its varied appeal:
“My main strength is English and British R’n’B music, my Punjabi, I speak the language at home, because there’s a lot of the Indian, Pakistan, East Asian market that love it.”