Ex-Mentor Kolektiv ace goes solo with First Flight
BEING an Asian music star is not plain sailing – just ask Luton’s Des-C. The 22-year-old vocalist enjoyed immense success as part of Mentor Kolektiv winning a number of awards for their cutting edge sound before hooking up with female rapper Hard Kaur to contribute to the soundtrack of the Bollywood film ‘Johnny Gaddaar’. But parties and photo shoots to one side the Asian music scene is an incredible unstable industry – which may reveal why you can find Des-C delivering pizza’s in his hometown as he bids for solo glory.
His eagerly anticipated debut album ‘First Flight’ will make its foray onto the Asian music scene at the end of this month and we caught up with the rising star…
Your debut album ‘First Flight’ is due to be released later this month. Are you excited about the release?
Yes I’m very excited and yet very nervous about the project. This is the first time I have had control over everything, which is not something every artists gets.
Tell us a bit about the album. What can your fans expect?
Well the album has various flavors that no other album has had in the past. It has been produced by some of the most talented and well known producers in the industry Kam Frantic, Tigerstyle, Alan Sampson who produced Jay Sean’s ‘Ride It’ and more. I have written 75% of the songs on the album. The album does not only have a Punjabi feel but I have stepped out of the box and have experimented with Hindi songs too.
Do you have any personal favourites from the album?
That’s a tough one! Now most people will always say ‘yes’ my favorite is so and so… But unfortunately I can’t pin a favorite one down. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the concepts so listeners don’t get bored. It’s like asking a parent which one is your favorite child!
‘First Flight’ signals your first foray into the Asian music scene as a solo artist having been part of Mentor Kolektiv. What made you want to branch out on your own?
To be honest I liked the concept of the Mentor Kolektiv however to truly express myself as an artist in my own right I had to do something non hip-hop / urban . Even before joining the MK, I wanted to be a solo artist. The Mentor Kolektiv was a very good stepping stone for me as an unknown artist. However after waiting tirelessly for nearly three years for a decent solo deal from the label I was working closely with at the time, I called it a day. I knew if I waited any longer I would lose all inspiration and the fire of singing.
How hard do you think it will be to establish yourself as a solo artist especially as Mentor Kolektiv is such a huge name in the Asian music scene?
In the UK industry it’s always hard to establish yourself as a solo act however, the project I have been putting together is not just an album it’s a statement about my singing and songwriting. I know that people will still linger on about the group and their success, but the main track that highlighted the group’s success was ‘Pasand’, which I wrote and sung. That was a hit and that was it! Now I need to continue to build on the success of songs like ‘Majajne’ from Rishi Rich’s album ‘the project’.
You co-wrote the smash hit ‘Move Your Body’ for the Bollywood film ‘Johnny Gaddaar’. How did that come about?
It came about from my artist development team, HK Music Ltd (Hardkaur). It was a huge shock when I was told that I had to write for Bollywood legend Shanker Mahadevan. It’s not every day that a UK born singer gets an opportunity like that to prove himself worthy enough. I was literally given an hour to put together some lyrics for him. Hopefully I will get another opportunity like that from Bollywood. Fingers crossed!
Are your surprised at how popular the song has become?
I was told that the soundtrack from the movie had become a smash hit in India, top 5. But unfortunately the film itself was not released in the UK. My relatives gave me a fright when they called me from India and tried to tell me that there was an artist trying to muscle in with my name through the movie. It came as a huge shock to them when I told them that it was me who wrote the song… I told them not to panic!
You left University to pursue your passion for music. Has there ever been a day where you’ve regretted that decision?
I looked in the mirror many a time and realized that this career path was very unstable because of the way the industry was going and only coming across people who were in it for a fast buck and did not really care about my music. It’s when I’m on stage that all doubts disappear, the artist in me takes over and I know it’s what I was meant to do. Yes I could have been a lawyer, doctor, accountant or joined any of the other stereotypical Asian career paths. I just decided to do a job I enjoy.
What’s your take on the current state of the Asian music scene?
Well, (sigh!!) what can I say, we were never a huge industry in the UK when compared to the “western” industry to begin with. Now we are on a slippery slope that’s going downhill. I really feel for the younger budding artists out there who want to come and prove their worth only to find an industry that’s struggling to meet the challenges of piracy and downloading. Album sales are a fraction of what they were 10-15 years ago. As an industry we are flush with rappers, Mc’s, and producers. We need to revive the live singing out there, to try and get back to basics without “vo-coding” the hell out of songs.
Finally, what have you got lined up for the rest of the year?
As well as gigs and shows, the label that I am signed to have given me a lot of creative opportunities, one of which is to keep an eye and ear out for talent. So if you are a singer, producer, songwriter or musician I want to get to know you so get in touch through www.5riverrecords.com
Des-C’s single ‘Tor Nagini’ is available to download at http://www.desihits.com.
First Flight will be out end of March. http://www.myspace.com/descforever