*Exclusive* Navin Kundra: From MJ to NK

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Interviews Music

UrbanAsian.com is always looking to bring our readers the hottest news. So, when the chance came to interview rising star, Navin Kundra, I couldn’t pass up on it. Navin made his singing debut on his 19th birthday when he represented the UK in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dubai. Since then, there has been no looking back and his popularity has only grown (with hits like “Tukde Tukde,” “Mehbooba”, “Love Thing”). Through his songs he’s displayed his amazing singing ability, maturity in songwriting, and adaptability to any and all genres. Most recently, his song “Jee Le” has been topping the charts in the UK. As we’ve said before, Navin’s quickly become the poster boy for the neodesi trend. Read on for our exclusive interview.

UA: Since your debut with “Tukde Tukde” your sound has constantly evolved with each hit.  Do you feel that releasing singles – as opposed to various albums – has given you the freedom to experiment with your sound?  Will there be an album fans can look forward to coming out soon?

NK: I feel that each single gives me the opportunity to do something new…yes to experiment with my sound, but also to constantly develop as an artist and raise the bar.  When you have a debut like ‘Tukde Tukde’, which went to number one in the charts for three weeks, you kinda have to step back and think…how do I make my next single better than this?  It’s important to me to keep my music progressive and it’s also fun because it keeps both myself and my fans in anticipation.  In terms of an album…I am sure that after I have released a few more singles, I will repackage them as a collective record and put out an album, but for now…I’m a single man! (winks)

UA: You’ve written some really soulful tracks, what was your inspiration behind writing “Jee Le“?  What inspires you in general to write your music?

NK: Well most of my songs are about love so with ‘Jee Le’, I decided to take a break from love and write about life.  ‘Jee Le’ embodies my attitude towards life which is simply to make the most of it.  You only ever get one shot at living and once this moment is finished, it never comes back…so make the most of it. Not many people know this but in one of my earlier songs, ‘Zinda Hoon’, I wrote a lyric ‘yeh pal jo hai hamaare, kaha beet jaane ke baad jaate hai’ which basically asks ‘where do all of these moments go once they’ve passed?’ – this was kind of a starting point for me with ‘Jee Le’ so I guess you could say I was in part inspired by one of my own songs.  But I also feel that today we’re surrounded by a lot of instability and negativity…’Jee Le’ allows you to break away from that – it has an energy of it’s own and I’m glad that it has connected with everyone so much so that it topped the Asian Charts for four weeks!

UA: “Jee Le” is the first video where we’ve seen some dance moves from you!  Is this trend going to continue?

NK: If you want it to! (laughs)

UA: A few months back, I remember tweeting you saying that it’s an interesting coincidence that your initials NK are the letters immediately following MJ (referring to Michael Jackson).  Is Michael Jackson an artist that is one of your inspirations?  The dance moves in “Jee Le” reminded me of Jackson’s Thriller video (without all the ghouls of course!)!

NK: Haha…yes you pointed that out and I was pleasantly surprised!  I don’t know of any artist that hasn’t been inspired by Michael Jackson – he was the best! When I could barely walk, my parents told me that I use to get up in front of the TV when Michael Jackson was on and start dancing like him – so I guess it’s only natural that some of that influence will start to manifest itself in my works.  You can see my tribute to him on youtube in a song called ‘Fade Away’ which was a collaboration I did with Rishi Rich and Jay Sean.

UA: Which US artists would you want to work with if given an opportunity?  I think you and Mary J Blige could make some really interesting songs!

NK: Yep that would be great…but I would love to work with Beyonce for obvious reasons!

UA: You’re very gifted at music – you’re an amazing pianist & acoustic guitarist! Will we get to hear you play electric guitar in any upcoming singles? What got you interested in music? Do you come from a family of musicians?

NK: Thank you Roopa – ‘gifted’ is a strange word but it’s true that I do not come from a family of musicians and nor have I ever taken any guitar, piano, singing or songwriting lessons. I just have a genuine love and obsessive passion for music – it’s like my oxygen. I think I hear and see (bizarre I know!) music differently to a lot of people – sometimes it can be very intense, but I just pick up on certain things like subtle chord changes or the warmth of the bass or the weight behind the drums or specific intonations of the voice…okay lemme stop there – I’m starting to sound insane! I would love to play electric guitar and that is something you can expect in future singles for sure!

UA: If you were stranded on an island, with just your iPod, which songs would help you to survive? I’m sure “Jee Le” would be quite suitable for that situation!

NK: Haha! Yep! So would ‘Tere Liye’ – ‘pyar ke samundar mein tu, kin lehron mein khoyi, tumko nahi hai pata’. Actually come to think of it…so would ‘Mehbooba’ – ‘kabse kada hoon mai hoon yahaa’…hmm maybe I would be alright with the Navin Kundra collection! Hmmm…does that sound a little self obsessed? Ok…’I will survive’ – how’s that? Not my song!

UA: I know you’re busy performing around UK, but any chance you’ll schedule more performances in the states any time soon?

NK: I would love to perform more in the States and in other parts of the world – I just love performing. I always wanted to take my music around the world and now ironically, my music is taking me around the world. I have just finished a couple of dates in the States and don’t have anything lined up in the immediate future, but the best thing everyone can do is to get in touch with the event organisers and promoters to request them to bring your favourite artist to perform! (smiles)

UA: This question is for the ladies – are you still single? If you are then what traits are you looking for in your “Mehbooba” and what would your ideal first date be with her? If not, how did you two meet and does she sing as well? She’s definitely lucky to be your “Love Thing”!

NK: Yes I am still single – no Mehbooba and no Love Thing at present…not that they should be separate women and that I would want both…errr maybe I should stop digging this hole now! You know what I mean! Ideal first date…a romantic hot air balloon ride with champagne and some strawberries with chocolate sauce. If the basket is big enough…I’ll take my guitar up there too and sing her a love song or two! (smiles)

UA: Is there anything else you would like to add – a message to your fans, etc.?

NK: I just want my fans to know that I love each and every one of them dearly and I thank you all for supporting me and my music. I am here to represent you and will continue to do so as long as you are all with me. Do connect with me on www.facebook.com/navinfanpage and www.twitter.com/navinkundra and please do keep downloading legal copies of my singles from iTunes and my website www.navin-online.com.

Thank you Roopa for constantly supporting my music and I look forward to sharing more of what I’ve been working on with all of you!

UA: Thank you, Navin, for taking the time to do this interview!  Loved your witty answers and love your music!  Keep up the fantastic work!

Navin Kundra

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