Bhangra music. Wow, how can I explain this genre of music? It’s powerful, different and uplifting. Considering the music industry is in a era with a dominance of music producers, Bhangra is no different. Infact, Bhangra has a huge dominance with a number of music producers trying to “make it” in the industry.
I love bhangra music, but there’s some parts in this genre of music that quite frankly…piss….me…off. In no particular order, here are five things that really, really, REALLY annoy me.
1. Music Videos
Exactly like pop culture, music videos have taken a turn for the worse. Bhangra music videos have now incorporated half naked women, lyrical and visual references to alcohol, promoting unusual behaviour (for example a 30-40 year old man eyeing up a 20+ girl in a club) and of course….wearing sunglasses….in a club (sigh). Music videos like this is typically a Bhangra music video as it is simple to come up with and easy to replicate. However, one thing bhangra artists need to realise is that they are looking exactly like most bhangra artists and don’t stand out. It is very rare to find a really good video that represents punjabi culture, as well as including bhangra or giddah dancing. Having Brit Asia as a leading platform in UK and a very family oriented channel, I would rather see an appropriate video rather than something that is highly cringe-worth and something that I would not like to watch with older members of my family.
Another trend in the Bhangra industry is making a promo video to the music video where there is no musical content – but instead flashing images, massive words like “It’s Coming” and “The Big New Release” and crazy movie music. Something to remember video directors, artists and labels. It is a music video, not I repeat not Steven Spielberg’s new movie.
2. Ghost Production
Bhangra DJ’s nowadays have adapted to a business plan to rise to fame. How do they do it? A few grand, a pair of sunglasses, access to the internet and DJ equipment. To get more bookings for their roadshow, they simply need to get more exposure. Only way to do it? To get a track online/ TV etc and hope for the best. 99.9% of DJ’s have no musical background/experience or sense of music production. So they quite simply go to a renowned music producer, get a track/album produced; tell them they want a “club banger”, get themselves signed to a record label, shoot the music video (wearing sunglasses) release the video, promote and get more bookings for their roadshow. Hopefully charge 2k per gig and you’ll be happily booked every weekend for the summer – just in time for the wedding season! Happy times eh?
Well it’s not. This may seem quite happy for most DJ’s but it’s destroying our industry. Most people can’t tell between what’s “ghost produced” and what’s not, and so they support anything that sound’s good. In all fairness, some ghost producers are actually very good, but would be better releasing under their own name instead of DJ’s. It’s come to a point now, that sometimes I can instantly know who’s produced material for one other individual based on the way the music has been mixed or based on the relationship a DJ has with the “ghost producer”. Either way, ghost production is a joke. DJ’s need to find a new career path other than gaining some attention from teenage girls.
Bhangra artists have taken a turn for the worse in their bid to gain more attention. One thing that makes me laugh, is seeing Bhangra artists think they have a “fan-base”.
First time I saw this, I was laughing for ages. However, artists like PBN, Garry Sandhu, Jazzy B, Gippy Grewal and Diljit Dosanjh look like they do have the closest thing to a supposed “fan-base”. But random artists thinking they do is really hilarious. Especially when they have no musical talent and no massive following on social media. I remember seeing one “producer” thanking “fans” when he hadn’t even released a song! You my friend will gain no respect whatsoever! Artists need to realise that you won’t have “fans” unless you are hugely successful like the artists I mentioned or artists like Manak, Surinder Shinda, Kaka Bhaniawala, Soni Pabla etc. I for one can say I am a fan of Bhangra music as a whole, and possibly a few bhangra artists that make their own music and are very good at it.
Following on from the ego’s, Bhangra artists have no decided to call themselves fancy names like “Punjabi Funkster” when no-one has ever called you that publically. Also hyping their release by saying: “It’s gonna be big” and “The biggest release of the year” is really typical and laughable. Proclaiming and “hyping” a release will take a bad turn as if it is hugely unsuccessful, you will be laughed at. Sometimes you need to take a step back, earn some respect for the music that you release and maybe you’ll gain some respect back.
Also, seeing legendary singers make horrendous tracks is also something that is hurtful to hear. Legendary singers shouldn’t sing songs like “You are very beautiful” in the chorus (however it actually sounds like: “Ju Are Berry Beautipul”). Let the legacy live forever, don’t sell out for a quick buck!
4. Social Media
Bhangra artists have an incredible huge addiction to social media. When their new track or album is released, they simply need to capture the attention of bhangra listeners. Before Twitter, artists used Facebook to upload a status/photo/event and tag as many people in it as possible. That way that person would get a notification and hopefully view the song/video/album. Not only was the artist doing it, but the label and PR company would too. A more recent trend, artists/labels/PR companies will now tag everyone on planet earth in separate tweets on Twitter.. practically begging for people to RT them and clogging up timelines.
Sad, sad times.
5. Burban Music
This is an interesting subject to discuss – but something important too. I’m starting to see many artists incorporate solely rap or english lyrics, dubstep and drum and bass music and calling it “Bhangra”. That is not Bhangra. For me, I would call that “Burban” (Urban with Bhangra influence). For example; I would say artists like Imran Khan, Tasha Tah, Shide Boss, Raxstar etc fit into that category rather than Bhangra singers like Kaka Bhaniawala, Lehmber etc.
Hopefully, if you promote Burban music more – it would hopefully branch out to more people and gain more attention
So there it is, another blog post. A weird one considering I love Bhangra music. Fear not, next time I will be releasing my newest post: “5 Things I Love About Bhangra” ![Source: notoriousmusicking.tumblr.com]