Navin Kundra will perform in Holland for the first-time ever with a full band. Days before his concert ‘Hindi Cinema Classics’, we talk to the main man about his musical journey.
The name Navin Kundra is hard to escape if you are part of the Asian diaspora. The British Asian singer/songwriter has graced the Asian charts often with six number #1 singles over the years.
His unique brand of music, one he is happy not to label, speaks across generations and nationalities, combining folk beat and lyrics with urban sounds of jazz, house and pop. Navin rose to fame at the age of 19, when he represented Britain in the international show from India, Sa Re Ga Ma. He also competed and won in the BBC Asia show Unsung.
From becoming the first British Asian to perform for Prince Charles to breaking a Guinness World Record for his fundraising efforts, this talented artist has kept amazing a wide range of audiences worldwide. In 2015 the pop icon joined the likes of Alisha Chenoy to welcome PM Of India,
Narendra Modi at Wembley stadium in London. He speaks to us of his latest creations, on bringing out the romantic side of HRH Prince Charles and on refreshing the golden era Classic Bollywood in Holland.
Tell us a little bit about how you got introduced to music. How did your love for music begin?
NK: I wish I knew how that first spark happened. What I do know is that music has always moved me from a very young age. I would get up and dance to Michael Jackson videos when I was just 3 years old, and whenever music was playing in the house (most of the time!) I would just quietly listen and let it sink in. I remember leaning my head right next to the speakers to get closer to all the sounds and sometimes putting my hands over them to feel the bass vibrate. My Dad recently told me that he used to sing to my Mum’s stomach when she was pregnant with me…so that may have something to do with it! (Smiles)
As a singer/songwriter, your style is impossible to place in any specific genre. How would you define your music?
NK: I like to paint outside the black and white lines of genres with my music, yet still belong to all of them. There are many intervals between the black and white keys of a piano, and that’s actually where much of the magic happens. Some people describe my music as urban, some say it’s soulful, others say it’s pop but I just like to call it music and I enjoy the creative freedom that brings.
You’ve used your music to break the Guinness Book of World Records and headlined at the Wembley Stadium for the Prime Minister. Which has been your most notable achievement?
NK: Yes I’ve been really lucky to do those things and I’m so grateful to my fans who have supported me, because they’re the ones that have made it all possible. I think being invited to perform for the Royal Family in their Palace is one that definitely stands out, especially because I got Prince Charles to call Camilla his ‘Mehbooba’. I recently met them again at a dinner and she confirmed that he still calls her that!
Navin performs at Wembley stadium
I have been trying to get in touch with you for months now and looks like your calendar is super packed! What have you been working on?
NK: Well I’ve been hard at work in the studio making new music for all of you! I’ve just released my first English single called ‘Tear It Up’ and have been blown away by the response. We hit the Urban Charts at #25 and when I saw it published, I was shocked and proud to be sharing a place in the charts alongside major names like Beyonce and even Justin Bieber!
The video for that song will be out very soon and you can get the single from iTunes here: http://smarturl.it/tearitupdownload
I’ve also been hard at work preparing for my upcoming concert in Holland this Saturday and just finished my next single which will be releasing around Diwali – it’s a sufi-esque hindi love song. Earlier this week I put out a cover of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ by Arijit Singh and ‘Pillowtalk’ by Zayn Malik which I recorded with my friend Kartik Udhas. The response has been great and you can watch it here:
You are doing a concert in Holland called Hindi Cinema Classics. What are your most memorable songs that you grew up with?
NK: All of the songs I am performing at this concert are ones that are very close to me and I have grown up listening to them. For example, ‘O Mere Dil Ke Chain’, ‘Dil Kya Kare’, ‘Bahaaron Phool Barsao’…they are timeless songs from the greats who I love and respect – legendary singers like Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle to name a few. Despite them all being released before I was born, I really connect with the soul of those songs and that is the magic of recorded music…it never dies.
What can the audience expect from this show?
NK: An evening that they will never forget. I am bringing a full live band, The 515 Crew, with me to Holland to perform some of the greatest songs ever recorded and will be presenting them in a way that has never been heard before. We’ve played with the instrumentation, we’ve stripped some of the songs down and jazzed some of them up to create a unique set list, with a particular focus on the hit songs of Rajesh Khanna. I want this concert to be refreshingly entertaining and nostalgic for the audience. I want you all to be moved emotionally and physically…so I hope you will all sing and dance with us and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Luxor Theater this Saturday!
Navin Kundra will perform in a special musical evening of Hindi Cinema Classics at Luxor Theatre, Rotterdam. Get tickets here.
Author: Rashmi Ravindran and Vipasha Tilak