Mentor sat down with Chakdey.com to tell us where he has been, along with some home truths.
As you have been out of the Asian music industry for sometime, remind our readers who you are…
I’m a music producer, sound engineer, DJ and presenter who’s had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest artists in the music industry. I’ve toured the UK and much of the world with the likes of Jay Sean, Juggy D and Rishi Rich. I formed the Mentor Kolektiv back in 2004, producing the critically acclaimed album “Broke”, plus hosting shows on BBC Asian Network and BBC Radio 1Xtra.
What would you say your best 3 tracks are to date?
I would say my most successful tracks are “Sohniye” by Juggy D, “Pasand” by Mentor Kolektiv and my remix of Timbaland’s “Cop That Sh*t”.
What is you favourite Asian music release at present?
I really like Jaz Dhami’s “Meh Punjabi Boli Ah”. It’s got a lot of feeling and vocally is very strong. As a Punjabi who’s recently come back from visiting the Punjab, it gives me a sense of pride.
You are a fully qualified Audio Engineer, how would you say this has helped you in your music career thus far?
Having studied Audio Engineering, I understand how music is constructed. I look at music and feel it in a different way to most people, almost visualising every element. It’s given me a deeper appreciation for the hard work that goes into making a song. It’s enabled me to become a better producer and given me my own unique sound.
What do you think of the state of the current Asian music industry?
Things have changed a lot, especially in the UK. It’s definitely a singles market. Albums don’t seem to get noticed and songs are only appreciated once there’s a video to it. There are less media outlets supporting Asian music. Also we haven’t seen a lot of interest from outside the Asian community which is sad. Apart from that, it’s probably easier to get your music out there these days, which has opened the flood gates to anyone who wants to have a go. This is both a good and bad thing as there’s more music available now than ever, but less quality control. It’s easier to get music, but harder to find good music.
Will you work with your cousin Rishi Rich again?
I’ve been doing my own thing for a while now but just the other day we were talking about getting together for a project, just to see where it takes us. Even if it’s for a laugh, we may get in the studio and see what happens.
What happened to Mentor Kolektiv?
I guess the guys wanted to venture out on their own. A lot of people were talking in their ears and sadly their egos got over inflated. We had disputes over finances and I found out they were trying do deals behind my back when we had an agreement in place. Des-C and AC went out to India and did gigs under my name without telling me, then lied about it. I found out and felt cheated by it as I’m the one who helped their careers from the start. From that point on I didn’t want to work with them as I couldn’t trust them. They took it upon themselves to go out and try to tarnish my reputation. I didn’t feel the need to talk about it all these years as I’m not the type of person to talk negatively about anyone. I guess the truth will come out in the end. It’s a shame, we had a good thing going.
You have worked with artists such as Jay Sean, Timbaland and Magoo ft Missy Elliot, Craig David, Juggy D, Sugababes, Nitin Sawhney, and Jon B. Can we expect any big collaborations in the future?
I’m still working with Juggy D. He’s like my brother and I’ve got a lot of love for that guy. We have a few tracks banked that will be released soon. I’ve also done a track with Bikram Singh which should be my next single. Inderjeet Nikku has also featured on one of my songs.
You are now back to doing a radio show on Buzz Radio. How did this come about?
Buzz Radio were looking to overhaul their station and get some new talent on board. They approached me about joining the station and I was happy to agree. It’s been a while since I’ve been on radio. It’s something I’ve always had a passion for. I started off on University radio in Loughborough with my boys Sheel and Riccardo, then went on to present on community stations around West London. It’s been a part of what I do for a long time.
What made you decide to return to the Asian music industry after such a long time out?
I was working full time for a while as well as teaching Music Production. I needed to get my home life in order, settle down and have some type of normality after years of being unsettled and on the road. Life can get mundane when you’re stuck in a 9-5. I guess I just felt that I had a lot more to offer still. Music is something that gives me purpose in life. If I didn’t make music I would’ve gone through life feeling that I’ve wasted my time on this earth. It’s something to leave behind when I depart to the next life.
Who will you be working with in the next year?
I have a lot of potential collaborations in the pipeline. Hopefully D Sarb, H Dhami, Benny Dhaliwal, Garry Sandhu, Nirmal Sidhu, Xagar Malik and Kamal Khan. I wanna discover some new talent again and develop new artists.
Who would you like to work with in the next year?
I would love to work with Honey Singh, Diljit Dosanjh, Jaz Dhami and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Please tell us a bit about Jadoo…
Jadoo is a romantic blend of Punjabi vocals from Nav Sidhu, with a touch of Bollywood and R&B. It’s way different from anything I’ve done in the past and will hopefully show a different side to my production.
What is your aim with Jadoo and your next releases?
I just want to keep releasing quality music that everyone can appreciate. I want to develop and diversify my sound. I also want to develop myself as an artist. Who knows, I may just pick up the microphone again!