GERMAN NEWCOMER SHAAN AKASH TALKS ABOUT MUSIC, HIS NEW SINGLE SARANGI STEP AND FUTURE HOPES
by ASJAD NAZIR
From luxury cars to unbeatable sports teams, Germany has given the world a lot of things and now the country has done the unexpected by delivering Punjabi music star Shaan Akash.
The German newcomer has teamed up with acclaimed British music producer DJ Stin for the song Sarangi Step, which features three commercial mixes that are exciting those who have heard them.
The multi-talented artist who is able to sing, rap, compose and write songs is a star on the rise with a bright future. Eastern Eye caught up with Shaan to find out about his new song Sarangi Step and his hopes for the future.
What first connected you to music?
My dad used to sing ages ago. He couldn’t live his dream as a professional singer, but blessed me with his good musical choices. He bought the cassette of Michael Jackson’s album Bad and I was in love with it. I was only three years old or something and I was enjoying the album day in and out. So it all started from there, I guess.
Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?
I was listening to so many great artists who impacted me in some way like Michael Jackson, Hans Raj Hans, Usher, 2Pac, Biggie, Wu-Tang-Clan, Master Saleem, Sonu Nigam and many more. I’m a music lover, so it doesn’t matter which language. In my world music is the only language after love.
How did you come to collaborate with British music producer DJ Stin?
I’ve admired Stin for the longest time. I found his music interesting because of the hip-hop elements mixed with desi raw Punjabi vocals. I still remember his profile pictures online where he was just scratching the turntables in a club or something. A lot of people had fun around him. He was already in the music business while I went to school in Germany. One day I was doing a video shoot with Kulbir from Whiz Kid Films in Leicester. A lot of guys attended it, including Panjabi MC, Sangra Vibes and some other artists. PMC told Stin about my rap skills and wanted me to rap in front of him. I just kicked some bars and the chemistry was born for new magic.
Tell us about your new single Sarangi Step?
It is about strong friends, who are like lions and so strongly united that there is no need for weapons. It’s about those friends who are like weapons because they are like lions. The message of the song is, no one can beat me and my friends.
How does this compare to other songs you have done?
Every song is different to me. I don’t like to make songs with the same schedule and formula repeatedly. It is not fun enough for me. I love to experiment with my voice, flow, writing skills and composing melodies. God gave me so many ways to make music so I have to use them.
What was it like working with DJ Stin?
Working with Stin was relaxing, where I felt understood and free. The most important thing for an artist is freedom. He just said I got some beats and try to flow over them. I sent him a voice message on WhatsApp with some bars over his beat. From there he wanted me to rap. Normally, I prefer to sing more than rap, but Stin wanted me to give more rap songs in Punjabi. So if my big brother Stin asks me to flow some bars in Punjabi, I need to deliver.
Who are you hoping connects with the song?
Everyone who has got loyal and strong friends behind them will relate to this song and form a connection with it.
Tell us, will this be the type of music you make in the future?
As a musician, singer and rapper, I trained myself to make different kinds of music. There is no norm or formula to make music. It’s all about catching feelings and vibes, that’s it!
What is the Punjabi music scene like in Germany?
It isn’t really strong like it is in the UK or Canada. I think there are just two or three Punjabi singers in Germany who dropped some singles.
Tell us your master plan for the future?
I don’t know. It’s god’s plan. I just recorded a lot of songs in the past year. I can release three albums at the same time if I want, but I’m holding it back for the right time.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Usher, Scott Storch, Travis Scott, Diljit Dosanjh, Badshah, Chris Brown and many more. I know I’ve got big dreams, but that is better than no dreams.
What music dominates your personal playlist?
To be honest, at the moment, I don’t have time to listen to others’ music. I’m a full-time working guy. I have a 9 to 5 job and after that, I’m directly in the studio to produce new stuff. The only time I got is while driving. There I usually listen to the radio, so I know what’s new in the market. I do search for new stuff, so I can see what other artists are doing.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an emerging artist?
It is to stay focused and in a hardworking mode. As soon as you get in a comfort mode, you’ll start to fail. So the plan is to stay focused. Don’t ask yourself how and why, just do it.
How much does performing live mean to you?
I dream about a big stage setup that great stars like Travis Scott, Kanye West and others have. I love to perform live. I love the magic and vibe in the air, with so many people screaming your name.
Is India on the radar for you?
In India, the music industry isn’t fair enough. I don’t want to sell my talent to some labels out there who are just trying to rip off young artists without giving them their credits or benefits. If someone corporate, in a fair way, approaches me, I’ll definitely work in India. Nowadays, it isn’t that important to live in India to be successful with Indian music. You can release from anywhere because of the internet, there is no limit any more. The right listener will find your music anyway.
What inspires you as an artist?
I am inspired by energy, vibes, different life situations, diverse cultures and the world around me.
If you could ask any alive or dead singer a question, who would it be and what would you ask?
I would ask Michael Jackson to sing for me because I wanted to see him live, but never get this opportunity.
What can we expect for the rest of the year?
No expectations, no disappointments. I will just surprise you with different kinds of flavours of songs and styles. I just want to take everyone on an experimental trip.
What are your big passions away from music?
Away from music, my passions include food, sightseeing and movies.
Tell us, why do you love music?
How can you not love music? It goes through your ears and touches your heart.
Why should we pick up the new single?
Listen to the song. You will feel the difference and will want that in your life.
Sarangi Step by Shaan Akash and DJ Stin is out now