‘I refused to sell my soul for a shilling,’ says singer DES-C


NATURALLY-gifted singer Des-C has always been a maverick who has done things his own
way and never followed the musical crowd. While this has enabled him to maintain his integrity, on the flipside, the talented artist has had a stop/start career with long gaps in between songs.

The independent singer, songwriter and musician made a return with his recent release
OMG G, which is powered by his unmistakable vocals. He is hoping this is the beginning of an exciting new chapter.

Eastern Eye caught up with Des-C to discuss his new single, musical journey, controversial opinions about the industry and why he has thought about quitting. As usual, he didn’t hold back from his strong opinions.

You keep appearing and disappearing from the music scene, why is that?
A lot of this is to do with finance. I am a self-funded artist and don’t wish to be any record labels puppet. I refused to sell my soul for a shilling. In 2016 I released a song called Kainat, which I thought would do well, but it didn’t and it was no fault of the producer Namz Kay, who has my utmost respect. So I had to innovate, I had to evolve,
but most importantly, I had to understand from where I failed and why?

Do you find it difficult to fit into the industry?
No, not at all. Before I used to write and sing songs. Now I sing, write, produce music and direct music videos for other struggling artists in the music industry.

Looking back on your musical journey, would you have done anything differently?
I think this is a question for the ages for every human being who has come and gone in history. Yes obviously I would, but would this change me as a character from where I am now? Let’s not forget, it’s from one’s mistakes where one learns.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist today?
I think it’s self-belief, which my fans have made me realise through my new single OMG G. It has given me a realisation of self-belief.

What led you towards your single OMG G?
I had to give my fans something different, which they would not have expected from me. Or they did but at the beginning of my career, which I did not give them. It had to be something, which was not following trends. I wouldn’t say a game-changer per se, but definitely something which my fans could turn around and say ‘wow’ that’s the Des-C we remember.

There were a lot of game-changers when you first started…
Talking about game-changers. Let’s not forget the Mentor Kolektiv, Sona family, Asian Dub Foundation and so many more. We were the innovators of the trend, which everybody is following now. The only difference was we were too ahead of our time and people used to laugh at or hate the whole hiphop/ urban fusion songs back then. With OMG G I wanted a party popping no trend following song.

What was the biggest challenge of putting this song together?
Most definitely the financial aspects and getting the right team behind me to achieve what I had set out to do. Everything had to be perfect from A to Z from the music producer (Dav Juss) to the music video director (the great Murshed).

What has the response to the song been like?
It’s been doing fantastic. My aim is to get the music video to OMG G genuine views. It is out now on my official YouTube channel (@theeofficialdesc) and is available to download on all major digital platforms.

Will you now take another long break?
I may take a permanent one. If I don’t achieve what I set out to do, I will retire. Yup. Please, let me explain. Not too long ago I played a track at a family gathering (the artist and song shall not be named). The song was complete garbage in every sense possible, musically and lyrically. This was the opinion from all my family members. A few days later the same song I showed them had reached eight million views, but with only a few thousand likes. Also please bear in mind the artist is brand new. After showing my family the online response they were convinced the song must be good, otherwise how did the artist generate so many views and comments in 48 hours. I knew this was fake. Unfortunately, this vexed me.

So stuff like that is disheartening…
I know how much hard work, blood, sweat and tears I have put in this year. I have stayed consistent in terms of making musical noise on social media platforms regardless of label funding. I had done some remixes and covers, which are all on my YouTube channel. I had little or no response from my fans. What was I doing wrong? Why are they not receptive to what I’m doing? Have their expectations become greater for me because the scene has
changed? So many questions!

What did you do?
So I went on my Facebook and said how I felt. This was not a PR stunt to get views. It is an opportunity to get a response from my fans to see if they are still out there? It is for them I do this. If they are no longer there, why am I doing it at all? I need them to be
receptive, negative or positive. It is because of you fans artists like us exist.

How are you feeling about it?
I am a true believer in the law of attraction, so feeling very positive. This is all in the hands of my fans and obviously God almighty. I can only try my level best and if my best is not good enough I can look back with no regrets. Ultimately, only fans have the power to make or break an artist.

What is the musical master plan going forward?
I have got an album and collaborations lined up for this coming year, so I shall remain consistent after reaching my genuine 100,000 plus (YouTube) views. I have started music production for other struggling artists too. I am also directing and shooting music videos.

Who would you love to collaborate with?
Sangra Vibes and new upcoming rapper Jagga.

Last time we spoke you mentioned about doing a qawwali song, will that happen?
It is already done with a music video and let me tell you, it’s fire.

Any other musical genres you want to explore?
I think you guys know me well enough for me to say I will not leave any stone unturned.

Is India on the radar for you?
I’m not going to chase India now. Let it chase me. I believe if I focus and concentrate hard enough on these shores, UK will be back on the world stage again. But I can’t do this alone. We need more home-grown talent to emerge.

Have you made a New Year’s resolution?
I don’t believe in resolutions anymore. You either do what you’re going to do or you’re not. Simple. The mind goes where energy flows.

What do you think of the British Asian music scene today?
Every Tom Dick and Harjinder wants to be a singer. Let them. I have to maintain my belief about quality over quantity.

Does it sadden you that UK is falling away from being world leaders in Punjabi music?
It makes me laugh. Let me explain. Nearly every artist I have met internationally have this belief, regardless of releasing in Punjab, Canada or wherever. In their own minds, they have not become successful unless the UK audiences are listening to their songs. What does that tell you? Even if that artist comes and performs here once that is all it will take for them to have the self-belief that they have made it. Because of UK’s vast Asian musical
history, everyone knows we help set it all off.

What are your future predictions for British Asian music?
No one will want to be a musician once the fake views and comments are clamped down on.

Today what is your biggest motivating factor?
It’s in my OMG G music video. I believe where one door closes another opens.

What music dominates your own playlist?
Latin music.

What advice would you give a young artist?
Stay consistent and remember it is okay to make mistakes. But most importantly, learn from them.

You always speak your mind. Do you want to say anything controversial?
I said what I needed to say. I don’t think you can get any more controversial than wanting to reach a hundred thousand genuine views.

Finally, do you have any message to give?
Please support my single OMG G and download it legally. Without you guys, us artists are nothing.