Welcome to Desi Flavour, a brand new section highlighting the latest news, reviews and interviews from the British Asian music and entertainment scene. Every week I will be bringing you the latest from the hottest Asian artists and celebrities blowing up in the UK and around the globe.
As some of you have probably already seen, South Asian culture has had a strong impact in all areas of life in the UK in recent years. Whether it’s hit Bollywood movies soaring up the box office charts, the Masood family grabbing the headlines in Eastenders or Brit Asian star Jay Sean cracking America, the previously ‘niche’ Asian market is increasingly crossing over into mainstream pop culture.
The British Asian music scene is thriving with talented artists who’re now finally grabbing the attention of major record labels. The previously untapped ‘Brown Pound’ is becoming a lucrative prospect, partly thanks to the mainstream chart exploits of Jay Sean, who of course began his career in the underground UK Asian industry before breaking out and signing to Cash Money Records. The cross over trend has been further strengthened by last year’s incredible Oscar success of Slumdog Millionaire, the soundtrack of which inspired the pop version of Jai Ho, composed by music maestro AR Rahman and performed by the Pussycat Dolls.
The industry is buzzing with fresh British Asian talent and so expect to see names like Jaya, Rouge, Sonna Rele and Jernade Miah excel in the coming months. These artists and others similar are currently working on material which will cut it with the finest in British and American pop/r’n’b music, perhaps finally leaving the ‘Asian’ stereotype behind them. It is commonly known that the Asian music industry produces a large amount of quality traditional ‘Desi’ music, whether it be put in the bhangra or bollywood genres. However the growing trend of British Asians making non-Asian music is now on the rise and it will be interesting to see just how many of them follow in the footsteps of stars like Jay Sean and AR Rahman. It’s not just the singer/songwriters that are in the frame but producers such as Alan Sampson and Naughty Boy, both of whom are of Asian origin, are already tipped to be hot property in the UK.
I’ll start off this week by bringing two very different artists to Flavour’s attention. The first is a returning name, Raghav, who actually won a MOBO award in 2005 and is no stranger to the Asian scene in the UK. However, he returns with a fresh sound and has teamed up with the UK’s hottest producer Labrinth, for his brand new single So Much. Having already had spins on Radio 1, 1xtra and Choice, expect this tune to grow on you and it has all the makings of a club banger. Kardinal Offishall features on it and the video was shot in London and Chicago. I think it’s fair to say that Raghav is back in a big way after mediocre success in 2008 with My Kinda Girl and Hindi ballad Humrahee. Check out the video for his new single So Much and expect to find it on iTunes later this summer.
Jernade Miah (pictured left and above) is a name you will have to start to familiarise yourself with. He’s just been signed to 2point9 records, the label/management company which kicked off the careers of Jay Sean, Rishi Rich and Juggy D to name a few. Jernade is an incredibly talented 19 year old from East London who can just about do anything. He sings as well as he can dance and is a real star in the making. Already being tipped by industry insiders as the next big thing, Jernade has raw talent and reminds us a little bit of Chris Brown and is being hailed in some quarters as the UK’s answer to the all singing all dancing Brown. Check out the first release from Jernade Switch Me On, and a free download In and Out. You will not be disappointed.
Switch Me On:
In and Out:
So there you have it, your first dose of Desi Flavour. As the east and west continue to come together and create this unique Urban Desi fusion, keep your eyes and ears peeled for a lot more music and talent coming out of the British Asian scene… only at Flavourmag.co.uk!
Words by Samir Ahmed