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
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.
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.
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
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".
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
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
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
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