ART & CULTURE 

art, culture, tradition & heritage

 
 

 

 
 

 

 Mona Singh - Princess of Bhangra             

                                                                       Nz  

 
     
 

 

Biography
Laying claim to the title "Princess of Bhangra", Mona Singh has become one of Britain's most sought after young artists in the business and enjoys one of the highest profiles of any Bhangra personality.

The source of this unique gem in the music world is the artist credited with changing the face of the Bhangra scene - the legendary Channi Singh (lead singer of Bhangra band Alaap – Pioneers of modern Bhangra music and Bollywood Music Director for films such as 'Yalgaar', 'Shaktiman', 'Janasheen' and 'Mr Bhatti on Chutti', to name but a few).

 


Entering the world with a silver microphone in her mouth, it was inevitable that Mona would follow in her father's rhythmic footsteps and take to the stage and recording studios in a big way. The star daughter of Channi Singh has made her own mark in an industry so comfortably dominated by her father since she was ever born and has shown the guys that a lady can also rock the Bhangra industry.


Mona has released 3 successful albums to date, 'THE BEGINNING', 'THE SECOND CHAPTER' and 'STRONGER', all that have enjoyed the number 1 position in the Asian music charts. Mona and her father Channi Singh have composed, arranged and produced each album, showcasing their outstanding joint efforts. Mona has recently released her new smash hit single 'SAADI MARZI', which is her very first duet and that too with famous Bollywood singer Labh Janjua (of 'Mundeyaan To Bach Ke', 'Sohni De Nakhre' and 'Jee Karda' fame).
 

During Mona's musical career, she has been awarded several prestigious awards. In February 2011, she was awarded 'Musical Artist of the year, Female' in Toronto. Other awards include 'Best Female Debutante Singer', 'Best Female Vocalist', 'Young Achiever Award' and 'Best Female Artist'.

Mona has also worked with renowned mainstream dance producers Basement Jaxx on a track titled 'Lucky Star'. The song featured Britsh rapper Dizzie Rascal and made it in to the UK top 20 charts. Mona appeared in the video and also had the opportunity to perform live on BBC's Top of the Pops.

 

Mona has performed at all major festivals and melas in the UK and has also toured America, Canada, Dubai, India, Oman, Pakistan, Sweden and Trinidad. She has recently completed playback tracks for British Asian film 'A Distant Mirage' and Bollywood film 'Mr Bhatti on Chutti', starring Anupam Kher and Amitabh Bachchan.

 

- Discography
 

Saadi Marzi

November 2010 saw the release of Mona's brand new smash hit single 'Saadi Marzi'. For the first time Mona has recorded a duet and that too with the famous Bollywood singer Labh Janjua (renowned for his hit tracks 'Mundeyaan To Bach Ke', 'Sohni De Nakhre' and 'Jee Karda'). The fantastic producers Tigerstyle have also given their magic touch to a remix version of the track.

 

Once again Mona visited her favorite destination - Rajasthan, to film the music video. This time she chose the beautiful Pink city of Jaipur as the location of her shoot.

This is also the first time Mona has released a single alongside her father Channi Singh, whose all time classic hit track 'Bhabiye Ni Bhabiye' also features on the EP.

Stronger
In March 2008, the "First lady of Bhangra" was back with her new album 'STRONGER', which featured 10 outstanding tracks produced by her legendary father Channi Singh, the exceptional Rishi Rich, the talented Tejwant Kittu and the gifted songstress herself.

 

Four excellent music videos were filmed for this album. A medley of the smash-hit tracks 'Chiti Chiti Chan Di E' and 'Ki Dasaan' was filmed in Mumbai, whilst the timeless sand dunes of Jaisalmer formed a stunning backdrop for the romantic ballad 'Rab Di Kasam'. Bollywood actor Kushal Punjabi of films 'Lakshya' and 'Goal' fame co-starred with Mona in this video. The Alaap classic 'Ponche Tang Pa Ke' re-done in Mona's own style was shot in the old bazaar of Dubai along with the heartfelt 'Bedarda', which was filmed on Jumeirah beach.

 

'STRONGER' not only enjoyed the number 1 spot in the UK Asian music charts, but also in India, where the album was released by SaReGaMa music label (formerly HMV).

Displaying her great musical talent and versatility and featuring a great selection of chart-busting tracks, this album caters for all audiences and is a definite must have for all music lovers.

The Second chapter - Kankaan De Ohle
Mona released her much awaited follow up album 'THE SECOND CHAPTER - KANKAAN DE OHLE' in August 2003. The album received great acclaim and was a huge success. Again it was an international release and Mona had the opportunity to shoot another video in Mumbai.

The Beginning - Akhiyaan Vich Yaar Vasda
In December 2000, Mona released her debut album 'THE BEGINNING - AKHIYAAN VICH YAAR VASDA' which created a craze the world over and hit the number one position in the UK charts. She accomplished something not many UK based artists have ever done before.

The album was released internationally; a first for a UK based Asian newcomer. Not only was she the first to have an international release but also the first newcomer to have a video shot in Mumbai and also be in it. With her debut album, she definitely put her stamp on the industry as the "Princess of Punjabi Pop".

- Award

 


On 4 February 2011, Mona Singh was awarded with a prestigious award for 'Musical Artist Of The Year, Female' in Toronto, Canada. The awards gala ceremony organized by popular North American magazine 'ANOKHI', celebrated the contribution of the Global South Asian community within the fields of Entertainment, Fashion and Media.

 

- An Exclusive Interview with 'Mona Singh'

 

 

For those few who are unaware of you give us all a low down.

Mona: I am the daughter of the legendary Channi Singh (lead singer of the Bhangra Band Alaap, known as Godfather and Pioneers of the British Asian Bhangra Music Scene).

I have released 2 Punjabi albums so far; ‘The Beginning’ (Akhiyaan Vich Yaar Vasda) and ‘The Second Chapter’ (Kankaan de Ohle). Both were released on the Moviebox label internationally and received world-wide acclaim.

I was awarded the Best Debutante Female Singer in India by a renowned panel of judges which included world famous Jagjit Singh, Anup Jalota, Anand Raaj Anand, Uttam Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Maitali Singh and Dev Kohli.

I featured on a mainstream single with Dizzie Rascal titled ‘Lucky Star’, produced by Basement Jaxx in November 2003. The song made it to the top 20 and I had the opportunity to perform live on Top of the Pops.

You’ve been away for a few years, but you’re back to release your new album titled ‘Stronger’, what can we expect from the album.

Mona: It is what it says – Stronger. It has all the ingredients. There is something for everyone. All the songs have been co-produced and composed by my dad and myself with two songs produced by the very talented Rishi Rich and famous Punjabi music director from India, Tejwant Kittu. I have made 2 videos, one in Mumbai and another in Rajasthan which are currently being aired on the Asian music channels. Expect to hear tracks with quality music, lyrics and compositions.

The album name ‘Stronger’ is an interesting choice, do you see this album as more of a personal one to the albums before, and something that signifies your growth as an artist?

Mona: Most definitely, not only as an artist but as a person too. My experiences over the past few years have helped and taught me to become stronger. This album is very personal and significant to me and my experiences.

The West side of London has seen a new growth of talent in recent years, with Rishi Rich, Jay Sean, Juggy D and now H Dhami all coming through into the Asian music scene, whereas the midlands does seem to get a lot of credit, do you think the London scene is somewhat undervalued?

Mona: Yes – I don’t want to be political, but it is known that modern Bhangra started from London with my dad’s band Alaap, followed by many other bands from London and Midlands. There is, and always has been so much talent emerging from London. Unfortunately, however, credit is not always given where it is deserved.

 


On the topic of H Dhami, he recently stated to SimplyBhangra.com that his father Palvinder Dhami (Heera Group) was a great inspiration for him growing up as a kid on the live Bhangra scene. Is this much the same for you?

Mona: Of course. H Dhami and I are similar in that respect. Both our fathers are from bands that are icons of the Bhangra industry. They were responsible for creating the Bhangra scene in the UK at a time when this style of music was not recognised or followed.

My dad formed Alaap in 1978, to help bring back Asian youths to their roots so they could have their own identity. This opened the door for other bands to follow and created a craze. Today, Bhangra is played everywhere. I am so proud of my dad’s achievements. Not only in Bhangra, he was also the first UK based artist chosen to direct music for a Bollywood Film – Feroz Khan’s Yalgaar.

Alaap received Gold and Platinum awards for selling hundreds and thousands of units, at a time when the only medium that was used to promote albums was radio along with live performances. They didn’t have the benefit of videos and internet like today, yet they are known all over the world.

My dad and Alaap are known for their originality and excellent live performances. I have grown up watching them, and this has become embedded in me. I want to be known for the same reason and it is reflected from my first album to the present one.

Music on the album has been done by a number of people including you. Do you consider yourself as much of a musician as you do a singer?

Mona: I would say yes. I had musical training through school and college. I play the piano, keys and sitar. On my previous albums I played keys in some of the tracks, but in the new album, I have not only played but also co-composed the tracks and have had great input in producing the album.

The Asian music scene has seen a recent revival in the number of females working either as Dj’s or vocalists, from Miss Pooja to DJ Kayper, is this the best time to be a female in the Asian music scene?

Mona: I don’t think it makes a difference. Any time would be a good time. Its nice there is more female representation in a male dominated industry however, there should be more.

What advice would you give to those young female hopefuls who are trying to break into the music scene?

Mona: It looks glamorous but it is hard work. You need to be focused, dedicated and committed. Keep positive and don’t give up.

We understand that a new Alaap album is in the process of being made, could you see yourself possibly singing alongside your father?

Mona: That is definitely on the cards in the near future.

Both you and your father have performed at the Royal Albert Hall. That must have been a pretty daunting experience?

Mona: More exciting than daunting! I was quite young and sang alongside my dad and Alaap. I have been performing since the age of six and always felt comfortable on stage or performing in front of large audiences. It’s such a great feeling.

Thanks for taking time out for the interview, any final words for your fans and the readers.

Mona: Thank you for your love and support. I hope to receive the same love, affection, encouragement and support in the future.

 

Source: Mona Singh & Channi Singh

 

Courtesy: Nz