“THROUGHOUT my six-year musical journey there have been countless times where I’ve been reminded why I love what I do. Here in no particular order are 10 of the magical musical moments so far.”
First Bangla number 1 on iTunes: What started out as a fun recording by Mumzy and I, ended up being the catalyst for a whole new genre. Although now there have been many Bangla iTunes number 1’s, Jaan Atki (Bangla Refix) will always hold a special place in my heart. Its success made me believe there was a market for my new brand of Bangla music.
Debut album Identity: After building my own studio, I felt the world was ready to hear a collective of my work. It was a huge personal milestone since I wrote, recorded and produced it independently. It showed the many musical skills I had attained in such a short space of time. Identity became the first Bangla iTunes number 1 album, and has been streamed on Spotify over a million times, since its release a year ago.
Touring globally: In 2019, I spent much time abroad touring. I didn’t realise the reach my music had internationally, until I saw that fans from different parts of the globe knew who I was. I felt the love in the UK, USA, Europe and in particular Bangladesh. Mumzy and I performed an amazing show in front of 10,000 people in Sylhet in 2017, but my 2019 Dhaka trip showed me just how much my music had grown in Bangladesh since then. Connecting with fans globally has been unforgettable.
BBC Asian Network Live first: I remember two years ago I bought tickets to watch from the crowd and questioned why there weren’t any Bangla acts on the line-up. I soon realised it was up to me to break that barrier. I have been blessed to be able to perform at major events like Newham Under The Stars and Boishakhi Mela London, but being the first Bengali artist alongside Mumzy Stranger on BBC Asian Network’s annual Asian Network Live was a huge milestone for me and Bangla artists globally.
Brit Asia Awards nomination: Being nominated for Best Album and Best UK Male at Brit Asia Awards was a pleasant surprise. Once again it highlighted that a wider audience were now listening to Bangla music. Although I didn’t win, being nominated with the likes of Raxtsar, Sidhu Moosewala, Zack Knight, Gurj Sidhu and Jaz Dhami was a huge honour. It was a big deal for me since the artists mentioned are very Punjabi focused and I was among them flying the flag for Bangladesh.
Zee Rishtey Awards: Since releasing, my Standing By You (Duniya) cover trended in India and clocked up almost five million YouTube views. That incredible traction led to organisers of Zee Rishtey Awards asking me for my permission to use my song in their 2019 awards. Watching Shabbir Aluwalia and Sriti Jha from the hit serial Kumkum Bhagya dance to my song at the awards was a proud moment. I showed everyone in my family since they are fans of the show.
YouTube success: My YouTube channel was active long before releasing music. I used to post random covers of me singing in my room with a guitar, averaging 100 views per video. Now with over 15 million views and 160,000 plus subscribers on my channel, I’m proud of the growth from then till now.
Becky G surprise: Best things come when you least expect them. I woke up and opened a random DM from someone frantically telling me to watch Becky G’s story. To my utter shock, I find the Latin music megastar, with 23.7 million followers, dancing in her car to my song Xoss. I wondered how she found the song, but in the end didn’t care. I received a flood of messages from artists and fans congratulating me on being able to push Bangla music out to her ears.
The collaborations: I always considered myself fortunate to be in the position to work with amazing artists. To share studio sessions with the likes of Arjun, Mickey Singh, Kanika Kapoor and many talented individuals is a testament to my hard work and persistence. These are artists that I used to and still listen to, and it is encouraging to see them recognise me as a fellow professional. Don’t’ be surprised if you see each of them on a Bangla record.
Bangla music growth: My vision was always to bring Bangla music to a wider audience. Messages from fans saying they had never listened to Bangla music before, but did after hearing mine is proof this genre is creating a buzz worldwide. Five years ago, when Mumzy and I released Jaan Atki (Bangla Refix), there were very few Bangla singing artists (and a majority of them were still in Bangladesh). Today, we are staring at the emergence of an entire new Bangla scene within urban desi music. There is growing interest from non–Bangla and Bangla music fans in a short space of time. I can say I am immensely proud of my contribution towards it. May it grow even bigger.
NISH is a British singer, songwriter & music producer.
Twitter & Instagram: @musicbynish & YouTube: @Iamnishmusic