by ASJAD NAZIR.
Nish upon a star.
NISH TALKS ABOUT HIS INSPIRATIONS, LATEST SINGLE FIESTA AND UPCOMING DEBUT ALBUM.
SOME young British music stars generate genuine excitement with their talent and look destined for significant international success.
Those who have seen Nish perform live or heard his songs would certainly agree he falls into that category. The singer, songwriter and music producer first got connected to music at the age of five and carried that through his academic life.
But what started off as an escape became something more when he met Mumzy Stranger, who changed everything for Nish by signing him to his Timeless London management company.
Mumzy took Nish to the next level by featuring him on the Bangla refix of his hit song Jaan Atki, which became the first Bangla fusion track to top the iTunes world chart. Nish then released his first official solo single Manja, a chart-topper, and he has been on the rise ever since.
Eastern Eye caught up with Nish before he goes interstellar to talk about music, recent single Fiesta, forthcoming album, future hopes and more.
What kind of music influenced you?
I’ve always been a big fan of Ryan Leslie, since he was a singer and producer. I used to watch a lot of his studio sessions on YouTube for inspiration. I loved his style of live music composition, as I come from a live music background myself.
How did it feel on the release of your first song?
It was one of the proudest moments in my life. I always had the vision to release music of my own, but when it became a reality it was surreal. I worked extremely hard to get to that point, so I knew from then on there was no looking back.
How much of a turning point has working with Mumzy Stranger been and what is the biggest thing you learned from him?
It has been revolutionary for me. What is so beautiful about the working relationship
our camp has is that everyone grows and learns from each other. Mumzy is obviously the most experienced so we learn so many skills from him, but he also values our opinions just as much.
Mumzy has helped me grow as an artist and producer, but the most valuable lesson I learned is how to carry myself as an artist as well as a human being. It’s extremely important to remain humble.
How much does working with a talented collective help you as an artist?
I have been blessed to work with talented people such as Lyan, Mumzy, DJ Kye and
Rupika. A few special mentions must go to Naeem, Zubby, Sachin Patel, Sanjidah
Islam, Raju Shamsher and Rivaz Ahmed. Every single person plays his or her part in helping our team grow as one. We all have a creative pool, where we share ideas and
opinions, and it is important to learn from each other. It’s our honesty and transparency
that maintains the quality control in our work, as well as keeping a healthy working relationship with one another.
Tell us about your recent single Fiesta?
Fiesta was actually inspired by a trip to Spain. The title means party in Spanish, and during our time in Malaga for a video shoot, we took a mobile studio with us to create vibes between the time we were shooting. While writing and recording Fiesta, I envisaged my trip to Spain. Raxstar wrote the Punjabi lyrics brilliantly, and I just bounced off him with my English lyrics.
Which of your unreleased tracks are you most excited about?
I am extremely excited about the release of my debut album Identity. I have been working hard to come up with a collective Bangla urban body of work, since I aim to push this language to a wider audience. I have had success on songs such as Jaan Atki (Bangla refix) and Diamond Jewel (Bangla remix), but since the release of my single Love Lost, I have really been trying to connect Bengalis and non-Bengalis with my beautiful mother tongue.
Tell us more about the album?
I have a few high-profile features on this album which I’m really excited about, but the main aim of this album is to paint a musical picture of my identity; hence the album title. It will not only be a display of my writing and singing abilities, but it will also test my credentials as a record producer.
So is conquering Bangladesh on the radar then?
Most definitely. I managed to get a taste of it back in October 2017 when Mumzy and I flew out to perform in Bangladesh to a sell-out 10,000 crowd. That show really made me
understand that there was a market that has not been tapped into. We felt connected with the next generation of Bengalis, and through my album Identity I aim to start a new movement for Bengalis and non-Bengalis to connect with. I would love to work with some major and upcoming Bangla artists in the scene also. If we all came together, I’m sure we could create something special.
You are very versatile, but what is the musical master plan going forward?
Although I have a strong focus on my urban Bangla movement currently, I aim to continue
with Punjabi music with Mumzy after my Bangla album. I hope to continue improving also, because as a young artist, I’m far from the finished article. Hopefully I can work with more genres of music, maybe reach the Bollywood market, as well as collaborate with some major UK mainstream artists along the way.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I would love to work with talented individuals from a variety of scenes. From the Asian scene I would love to do something with The PropheC, Fateh or Pav Dharia, because I feel like they are really adding a different flavour to our ever-growing scene. From the UK urban scene I would love to work with artists such as Not3s, Raye or J Hus. I feel like they are really putting UK music on the map and their numbers speak for themselves.
How much does live performing mean to you and which has been the most memorable?
The adrenaline is addictive. It’s moments like performing live that make all the hard work being an artist worthwhile. When I’m on stage I forget the world and feel so at home, and in my element. I’ve been lucky enough to perform around the world, but the recent Newham Under The Stars show has to be up there with the very best. Being an east London boy, performing in front of my home crowd is something I am extremely proud of.
Tell us something not too many people know about you?
I’m a huge sports fan, in particular football. I have just got back into playing weekly and think it’s a great way to keep fit, but to also have some downtime outside of music. We’re so serious about it that every week myself, Mumzy, Lyan and the rest of our music team have assembled five-a-side football matches.
What music dominates your playlist?
I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t have a particular genre. If it sounds good it goes on the playlist. My music taste ranges from classical Indian to UK rap to chart music. I try to keep an open mind with music. I also listen to music in different languages such as German, French, Spanish and Swedish. I also love supporting fellow artists in my scene, so if someone I know releases a banger, I’m going to be the first to support it.
You have a fast-growing fan base, but who are you a big fan of?
There’s no secret to my admiration of The Weeknd. The guy is a genius at what he does.
I’m also a big fan of Ryan Leslie. I don’t think I can discount Diljit Dosanjh from the equation either as his rise has been phenomenal. If I were to think of some dream collaboration it would probably be Drake, Rihanna, Cardi B or The Weeknd – the list
could go on.
What inspires you?
Inspiration can come from anywhere; however, what really inspires me is good energy. If I feel a positive vibe come off someone, whether they have anything to do with music or not, I feel inspired.
If you could ask a living or dead artist a question, what would it be?
Huge artists like Drake are taking a liking into the UK rap/grime scene this year, which is
great to see. I would love to ask him what would it take for someone like him to champion
or collaborate with one of us desi artists in his upcoming projects. It would be great for our scene.
If you could master something new, what do you think it would be?
Coming from a live music background, I have managed to pick up playing many instruments such as the piano, guitar, drums and tabla. However, I always wanted to learn how to play the violin.
Why should we pick up your latest single?
As a young growing artist, I need all the support I can get in order to grow, and feel like the best way our scene can grow is through supporting one another. It’s also a track you can 100 per cent roll your windows down and bump in your car to.
Finally, why do you love music?
Music is a passion, hobby and now a profession for me. Even with a master’s degree in computer science, I could never see myself doing anything other than music.
Music is an international language that has the ability to bring people together. As
musicians we have the ability to touch the hearts of people around the globe, so that is
why I love music.