Singer Talks to The Asian Today
After the huge success of his recent songs, “High Heels” and “Mein Punjabi Boli Ah,” local lad Jaz Dhami returns with another megahit, “Zulfa”. The Handsworth born singer sat down with The Asian Today to discuss his recent success.
Your latest single, Zulfa, has done really well, both with the reaction from fans and reaching a top spot in the Asian charts. Did you expect such an immense response?
Thank you to yourself and the fans. I think like most songs you don’t really know what the response is going to be, or how the fans will react until it’s released. I got a good feeling for the song once the trailer was out, the reaction gave me confidence that audiences are feeling it, and after the release I’ve been inundated with messages and love for the song.
After having success with previous singles such as “High Heels” and “Mein Punjabi Boli Ah”, how do you follow up another successful song?
I try my best not to think about the success of previous singles because I feel like every song has its own space. I’d get lost chasing the success of the last track instead of putting those energies into creating something new. I think the advantage I have is that I try not to repeat what I’ve previously produced, that gives me a choice to explore a mixture of styles in the music I make.
Your collaboration with Honey Singh was well received by your loyal fan base. Do you have any plans to team up again?
Yes it sure was, big up to the fans for all the love. I think the chemistry between Honey and I for High Heels was phenomenal. The creative process in making the song was really exciting. Every time we made a change it just sounded better and better and we gradually got to know we had something special on our hands. Lets see what happens if/when we do another collaboration….
What are your musical influences?
I have so many musical influences, where do I begin. From a young age I listened to Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Sardool Sikandar because that’s what was played at home, and they were and are still regarded as greats in their style of singing. As times gone on my listening has evolved and I’m constantly inspired by artists from different parts of the world such as rapper Jay Z, Adele, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, that’s just to name a few. Its simply because they have the ability to adapt and show their versatility in every song, whatever style or genre.
You have preformed with the Philharmonic Orchestra at the London Mela, how was it like?
Phenomenal! Just being on stage for the sound check was breath taking. The two worlds and forms of music were so different that bringing them together was a fantastic challenge but also inspiring. The western classical elements of the Orchestra playing a mixture of Bollywood film music gave the songs a new life. It’s a real test as a singer, as there’s no room for errors, it was a sensational buzz. When I performed I just felt so comfortable and at ease, I loved every minute of it, I’d really like to do more of those kinds of performances.
Do you hope to do something like that again?
Of course! I’m always up for a challenge and being associated with such amazing musicians. Every element of that partnership was great, right from the song selection process to it all coming together on the night. It inspires me to work harder and most importantly I get to learn so much from them.
You have done a lot of community work; but it’s your work with the Football Association and major Premier League clubs that have given you acknowledgment and your campaign for more Asian footballers to be involved in the game. What made you want to get involved?
It was mainly because of the lack of Asians in football. When I was younger I was always told ‘Asians will never make it into football, they’re not good enough’ I asked myself why? After doing these campaigns I came to know, that generation of parents didn’t understand that there could be a future and they didn’t really push their kids into the game. In addition to this there just wanting any role models, programmes or platforms for Asians to work towards the premiership level, to help break those stereotypes. With campaigns like ‘Search for an Asian star’ young children and parents were presented with a credible platform, to then go out and perform at their best and possibly be selected for a premiership U12’s/U16’s which is a crucial age to become a successful footballer.
You’re a Liverpool fan, what do you think of the season so far?
I haven’t followed this season as closely as the last, but I think the form we have shown has been exceptional, Liverpool are definitely proving they’re a top four club – on this side of Christmas anyway! I think the turnaround in Luis Suarez has been key for us; he’s also risen to the challenge when given the captains armband. Hats off to Brendan Rogers for playing a blinder by keeping him at the club. There’s still a long way to go, but we’re surely going to finish above Manchester United – which isn’t bad! (Lol)
What lies in the future for you? Plans?
I’m working on lots of new music for the album, which is due to release next year. The one record I’m really looking forward to is the collaboration with American rapper French Montana and producer Steel Banglez. It’s one that’s definitely pushing my boundaries as an artist, which is always great.
Lastly, a big shout out to The Asian Today for your support.
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