Known for creating a string of foot-tapping numbers like “Lak Hilaade“,”Mahi aaja” and “Singh and Kaur“, singer and music composer Manjeet Ral, popular for his stage name Manj Musik, says good music is beyond frontiers and is constantly evolving.

Does Bollywood set a benchmark for musicians?

“Bollywood has that power to hit every religion and language. So chances are if you sing for a film you get your overnight fame but then its up to you to follow that up with your own hard work. Good music has no benchmarks, they are constantly evolving,” Manj told IANS over e-mail from Canada.

The musician agrees that the Hindi film industry does give a lot of exposure to artistes.

“Bollywood definitely gives an artiste exposure, but I’m not sure if fame is equally proportionate to working in a film…There are a lot of indie bands out there who are so talented but don’t have the resources to promote themselves,” he added.

Manj says that Bollywood is all about having the “right manager to push you and get projects and the social cliches with the labels.”

Manj initially belonged to the Punjabi band RDB along with his brother Surjeet Ral also known as Surj RDB, but split soon after their elder brother Kuljeet (Kuly) succumbed to cancer in 2012.

The “Shera di Kaum” crooner has been making music for over 15 years and has been a part of the industry when Bhangra and Punjabi music was considered “niche and not an everyday affair.”

Amy Jackson in Lak Hilaade by Manj Musik
Amy Jackson in Lak Hilaade by Manj Musik

The 31-year-old musician says he has seen some significant changes in the music industry.

“I have seen some major transitions in the music industry by seeing more and more electronic music production entering into the film music business. I remember when we first started out people loved recording live instruments and trying out more acoustic sounds,” he said.

Manj says music wasn’t just about “party songs”.

“But today every production house wants that one club song that’s going to be the hook of the film. Audiences need to wake up the fact that good music is also a lot to do with the lyrics and the composition,” he added.

The “Swag mera desi” hitmaker says that directors and producers now reach out to Non-Resident Indian (NRI) for collaborations in music.

“Its a great feeling to be one of the pioneers in creating that NRI mainstream sound,” he added.

With so many musicians making their way into the industry, does competition scare the “Desi hip hop” hitmaker’

“Competition is the best thing for any artist. It makes you work harder and better. I don’t feel I have competition as I’ve done all the things that most artists are doing today.

“I am my own competition, always trying to beat myself at my own game. I just feel I have made a mark with that sound which is hard to repeat by any other producer,” he shared.

Also negative remarks don’t affect Manj at all.

“Remember the day you have no enemies you’re not doing something right, Success always attracts negativity and criticism. Its good to have haters as they make you want to work harder to prove them wrong,” he stressed.