by ASJAD NAZIR UK SINGING STAR NAVIN KUNDRA SET TO SHINE WITH BIG LONDON CONCERT THE musical journey of Navin Kundra has been filled with hit songs and memorable concerts, including a live performance for the royal family. That marvellous melodic voyage continued with recently-released single Ishq Humara and the announcement of his first big solo UK concert, which takes place on June 22 at Beck Theatre in London. The hard-working British music star also shot for his first Bollywood movie and has more exciting music projects on the way. Eastern Eye caught up with Navin to talk about his journey, latest song, romance, forthcoming concert, candles and more… How do you look back at your great musical journey? Proudly! I had no expectations when I began. All I knew was that I had a gift from God and wanted to share it with the world. As I look back at all my career highlights, from breaking a Guinness World Record to performing for the royal family, I am extremely grateful. None of this would have been possible for a kid from Coventry without the support of those who connect and believe in my music. What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your time in music? That talent alone is not enough to make it. When I started out, I believed that it was all about talent and pushed myself vocally as much as I could. I would step up on stage and sing my heart out, and most people would comment on how much they love my voice. But sadly, that alone is not enough to build a career on. There are so many extremely talented people in the world – just look at all the incredible artists you see on these talent shows, yet only a small percentage ever really make it. It’s sad and it’s unfair, but it’s true. What inspired your new song Ishq Humara? I have previously written all of my songs or at least co-written them, so they were inspired by something I experienced in real life. My new song is the first where I have collaborated with an upcoming writer and composer, Zain Khan, who is based in Pakistan and has written for the likes of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. He reached out to me online and after sending me over 30 songs he worked on, I heard the first part of Ishq Humara and knew it was special. I connected with it instantly and was happy to breathe life into it with my voice. How does this song compare to others you have done? I feel like this record has a real cinematic feel and is very sensual in a soulful way. Talented musicians from the world-famous Coke Studio sessions have played on this single, as well as musicians from the UK. I love live music and in an era where most sounds are sampled or created digitally, having organic sounds by musicians playing real instruments just feels more absorbing and riveting. You are a versatile artist, but would you say you are most connected to love songs? Yes! Love is the biggest inspiration of my music. Music allows me to express love in a way that words alone can’t. Are you a hopeless romantic in real life or do you just leave that for the music? (Smiles) I’m as romantic as my music. What is your idea of romance? Being lost and found in someone else. When you fall deeply in love, you lose yourself within that person, and you know that it’s true love when you actually find who you really are when you’re with them. I also find candles very romantic. There’s something about lighting a candle and having dinner together, or spending quality time together away from phones and others – that really defines romance to me. So much so that I’ve actually produced my own scented candle range, Burning Slow, named after my last English single from earlier this year, which went top 15 in the UK urban charts. I blended black oud with the warmth of sandalwood and jasmine to create an indulging scent that really stimulates your senses You can get one from my online store at www.navin-online.com! Are any of your songs based on real-life experiences? (Laughs) Yes, nearly all of them are, but you don’t want to know all the real stories behind them! Today, what inspires you? There was a time when I was inspired by chart positions and awards. I actually aspired to win awards and peak in the charts, but somehow that stopped becoming important when I found that it stopped being genuine. Now making a meaningful connection with people through my music is everything to me. Having my music as part of someone’s wedding, helping someone through a difficult time, being the soundtrack of someone’s holiday or even having my music as someone’s medicine when they are in a coma and nothing else is working is what inspires me. My music has been used in all of these cases and it is truly rewarding. I’m also inspired by a desire to inspire others. I want to show people that they can become whatever they want to be and follow their passion to achieve an amazing life. How much does performing live keep you motivated? It’s my favourite thing to do. I live for the stage. I’ve been performing on stage since I was nine years old and am addicted to it. Being able to perform, get an instant reaction and hearing the crowd cheer is the greatest high you could ever experience. Tell us about your forthcoming concert… It’s my first solo UK concert and called Voice Of Legends. This is literally a dream project for me! We’ve put together a complete three-hour musical extravaganza featuring classic songs from 1960s–1980s Hindi cinema. I’ll be performing them in my own style with my incredible band The 515 Crew, amazing female singer Ambika Jois and stunning dancers from Bollywood choreographer Shiamak Davar’s dance troupe. I’ll also be performing my original songs and it’s all happening on June 22 at the Beck Theatre in Hayes, London. I’m extremely grateful to have the show sponsored by Sony TV and East Shopping Centre. This is the first of a series of concerts which will happen across the country and internationally. I’m so excited about this! What else can we expect from the show? A real visual and musical treat that will stay with you forever! The show is designed for a family audience and lovers of classic Bollywood music, with songs performed by legendary playback singers like Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. These are the greats that inspired me to become a singer and they will forever hold a special place in people’s hearts. We’ll sing, dance, laugh and even cry together as I perform this grand homage to the greatest singers in the world. Do you ever get nervous before going out on stage? Always! I never take my audience or art for granted. Once I get over those nerves and step out onto that stage, something else takes over. You always do stunning covers from Bollywood to western mainstream, but which is your favourite song to cover? Thank you for the compliment. Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars is my favourite song to cover. It’s just full of energy, makes you move, and it’s by Bruno Mars, who is one of my favourite artists of this generation. What music dominates your playlist? Motown music and my songs that are currently work in progress. The best is still yet to come. If you could ask a living or dead singer any question, who would it be and what would you ask them? Wow, well that’s a tough one! If I could, I would like to ask every singer who has passed what it feels like to be kept alive through their music. Somehow I feel like they are still with us and every time someone plays their record, they are smiling saying: ‘Yes, I did that, thanks for keeping me alive’. What is your greatest unfulfilled ambition? Selling out a stadium/arena world tour. This is why I’ve decided to put my own concert together and this is the beginning of realising that dream. Every journey begins with a step, big or small, and as long as you keep moving forward, you are unstoppable. Finally, Why should we all come to your live show? Because you deserve to escape from all the stresses of your life and enjoy yourself with the people you love most. Let’s face it, we’ve been working hard all our lives, be it studying or working to make a living, but we don’t always get to really enjoy life. I believe that life is about creating and sharing magical moments that become memories to last a lifetime. I’ve been hard at work putting together an experience for you that will allow you to find yourself again, to enjoy yourself and be free. So far, you’ve only seen a small part of what I do, now come and see the rest. I look forward to welcoming you to the concert. Navin Kundra, Voice Of Legends – The Concert will take place at Beck Theatre in Hayes, London on June 22. Visit www.becktheatre.org.uk and Videorama on Kenton Road in Harrow, London for tickets.