“I think I’m one of the more fortunate Punjabi artistes as my first album came out in 2004, and I’m still being booked for it”—Juggy-D

jugMost people know Juggy-D (Jagwinder Singh Dhaliwal) from his more popular numbers such as Mein Ta Tere Naal Nachna, Hum Tum and Dil Mera which have appeared in several Bollywood productions.

As one of the premiere bhangra pop artistes from the UK, he’s also appeared on cross-over singles with the likes of Madonna, Ricky Martin, Mary J. Blige and Craig David.

Juggy-D was recently in Karachi for a performance, after doing two shows in Lahore and Faisalabad, when Images on Sunday tracked him down for an interview. He said he intends to come back more often here and also mentioned the possibility of collaborating with local acts on some of his future music.

Juggy-D is just the way he appears in his videos: laidback, outgoing and someone who likes to have a good time and entertain everyone around him. Here we set out to discover his journey into music and how he ended up breaking into and becoming big in the Bollywood music industry.

Q. How did it begin for you in music?
A. I started at a very young age. I delivered my first ever performance at a school competition where I entered as a singer with a band and came in first. From there on my passion in life was to become a singer and go on to the big stage.

My parents used to take me back to India a lot in those days to Ludhiana in Punjab, as we’re from a pind called Lakha. We have a house there and I love going back there every summer.

Q. You were in Pakistan for a couple of concerts. How did you find it here?
I enjoyed it. We were in Lahore and Faisalabad, and I went to Nankana Sahib. I enjoy coming back whether it’s India or Pakistan. I built up my passion for music from Indian music and culture, especially bhangra.

Q. Your bhangra music is not typical bhangra. Explain.
It’s more stripped down. It’s not folk Punjabi music. It’s got a lot of R&B and Hip Hop influence that’s very easy to listen to. The reason is a lot of us in the UK really like Punjabi music but not the hardcore folk stuff. So that’s what we deliver and it works for us. It’s great.

Q. How did you end up becoming a signed artiste?
A. I was singing in a band for about 4-5 years and then I went off to university and pursued a degree in Computer Studies to make my parents happy. When I left university I wanted to get back into music so I started singing at a local pub.

One of my friends who knew Rishie introduced me to him. At the time Rishie was looking for a singer to complete his album. I went down, met him, and did the track. It was initially the 11th track on the album and when it was delivered to the record label, they made it the title track. Then there was a video of the song Nahin Jeena.

Q. How did Bollywood happen?
After Nahin Jeena came Mein Ta Tere Naal Nachna with Jay Sean which just happened out the blue. He was in the studio with Rishie who called me and said “Juggs, we’re recording this new artiste called Nickie (at the time his name was Nickie).” Jay Sean was invented afterwards. I heard his track “I just want to dance with you” and at the back I started “O mein ta tere naal nachna.” Rishie asked me what it was that I was doing and I told him that I was singing exactly what Jay was singing, but in Punjabi. He said, “Oh, my God! That works so well. Get in the booth and record it.”

It worked and Jay was signed by a label. And then the song was included in the film Boom. It was a hit in the UK and it went in the national charts at number 11. We performed it on all the major TV stations.

India loved it, too. We got a call from YashRaj who said, “I want these boys to do a track for a film called Hum Tum.” So Veronica and I went into the recording studio and the track became a super hit internationally. Later, we did Kya Cool Hain Hum and then out came my album. I think I’m one of the more fortunate Punjabi artistes as my first album came out in 2004, and I’m still being booked for it.

–Photo by Sohail Anjum
–Written under the alias “Hira S.”

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