Jagwinder Singh aka Juggy D, the British-Indian rapper, was in the Capital to promote his latest single. Shalini Saksena chats up the singer who has sung for films like Mubarakan
How did performing at 14 begin?
I don’t come from a musical family. But I wanted to pursue music since I was a kid, it was my passion. I would visit India with my parents, we are from Ludhiana but I was born and raised in the UK. During my visits here, I found a connect with Punjabi music and its culture. I don’t have a formal training. I sing from the heart. I would sing songs written and sung by others. My friends would encourage me and push me to release a song of my own. I had lots of friends who were DJs, keyboard and guitarists. I was able to form a band and won a school competition. It was then that I decided that music would be my life. I didn’t pursue higher studies. My elder brother is highly qualified but not me. I told my mother that I would earn more than him, I just wanted permission to follow my dream which she gave.
What was your parents’ reaction when you said you didn’t want to study more?
Like most parents, they wanted me to pursue higher studies. But I was the younger one, they didn’t push me too much. Any which way, I never followed the conventional rules. There was a time when I had wanted a pair of Adidas, they were for 50 pounds. My mother refused to buy them because they were so expensive. I took to delivering newspapers, saved and bought the shoes. That impressed my parents and they let me follow my dream.
How was your collaboration with Ricky Martin and Madonna?
Yes, I have worked with them and many more artists like Britney Spears. I did songs with them when I was 23-24. What I learnt from them was that one has to make good music. As long as your music is good, they are willing to work with you. For them, there are no big or small artists. All are at par as long as you have good content.
What about your cameos in Bollywood?
Again, it stemmed from making good music. While Boom didn’t do well, some of the tracks were well received, it had a song by me as well. Then came Hum Tum and Kya Kool Hain Hum. These created a big platform for us. My friend Rishi has been in Bollywood for two-three years and the industry has been good to us. That led our next big project — Mubarakan. So I am getting a lot of work because of him.
What are the changes happening in the UK as far as Punjabi music is concerned?
No great changes, to be honest. Whatever good work that is happening is already here in India. Even the Punjabi artists who are there are from here and doing some great local Punjabi songs which people love like folk music with great beats. There are many UK artists who want to work here in India but this industry is very competitive and it is difficult to make space for yourself.
What makes artists in the UK want their work to come to India?
The industry is huge here. The production is huge, we have a billion-plus population who have varied interest. The music industry is booming here. Every day is marriage season, there is no specific day when one has to hold a show. In the UK, it is only weekends. Everybody wants to break this market.
What makes a song go viral?
A lot of promotion and marketing is the key. Two days before the song — Get Down — was to be released, I was in India and did back to back interviews. Every radio station and TV channel played our song. The team backing our song put in a lot of effort.
Now that this song is released, I am working on back to back songs. I have kids now who want expensive things (laughs). Have to earn for them. So yes, lots to do this year.