Toronto’s Balu is referred to as the “South Asian ASAP Rocky” in some parts of India
Referred to as the “South Asian ASAP Rocky” in parts of India, Balu is bringing the heat in 2019. Legendary Sri Lankan Tamil descent, raised in Toronto. Known for his musical abilities and similarly, his creative style. Above all, Balu is ready for 2019 and has so many exciting projects! Most noteworthy about this talented soul, he is currently working towards becoming the first Bollywood star from North America!
Not only is he extremely handsome and creative, he is sure to bring some culture into the industry with influences ranging from Tamil choreographer Prabhu Deva and other artists such as Pharrell, Nina Simone. Musiq Soulchild, MIA and Michael Jackson! We had the privilege of finding out more about the legendary journey of Balu and what 2019 holds for his artistry!
Artist, creative mind and eastern soul! How would you describe yourself as an artist and what led to the creation of “The legend of Balu”?
MIA created my first glimpse of empowerment can look like as a Tamil mainstream musician. Which made solidarity amongst Tamil women like never before. I want to be a male representation of a dark skin South Asian artist thats ready to create a different kind of impact within the South Asian scene.
What inspired you to become a musician and how do you incorporate more of your authentic self into your music?
Music controls my sanity. But also a place where my creative self can bloom. A place where my emotions can connect with music in such a way, that it becomes my self care and my future growth. My lived experiences have shaped my genre. Which I have called it as NEW BOLLYWOOD music. I am here to break down stigmas and barriers. A new kind of South Asian movie star/musician people in their livings rooms can one day watch on the DVDS with their parents.
It is said that you are the south Asian Asap Rocky, which I can attest to regarding physical appearance. It is evident that you have the creative soul and inspiration of Michael Jackson and many other artists. What do you admire most about other artists and how has that admiration helped you build your own unique musical brand?
I know I am connected to Tamil indigenous tribes from back home in Sri Lanka. I feel a lot of ancestors are channeling through my vessel as we speak, I am here to fulfill a destiny. My sound is my identity; thats what I see common amongst myself to the superstars I look up to, we portray our authentic self while carrying out a purpose through our gifts.
As a South Asian, many as regarded as “minorities”, what are the challenges you have faced within the music industry.
SHADEISM. RACISM. PUNITIVE LANDSCAPE. LOTS OF HURT AND TRAUMA IN COMMUNITIES ON THE MARGINS. MAINSTREAM DIGEST-ABLE.
You are quite well known for your musical authenticity, how do you find the inspirations for your tracks and what would you say your procedure is towards a dope track?
All my tracks are started from scratch with the engineer I would be working with at the time. It’s literally a musical conversation. I would connect my emotions into my lyrics while the beat is building. Then it makes me see visions in my head which supports my song (lyrically) and and my future music video (visually), surrounding a particular topic. Each topic is connected to an exploration of my darkness sins. Being a beatboxer as well, I might add my mouth into the instrumental as well.
Even more, The sounds of my track stems from the souls of my communities. From the sounds of my mother, my father, the waves of the oceans that we have crossed. The sounds of my feet on the spaces and places I’ve landed and visited.
Dope tracks to me are about dreams. There are about desires. They are about journeys, and unending destinations. The diaspora, has been an influence. But I remain rooted in the tongues and traditions of those that came before me, and hope to create for those to come after.
What drives your passion towards music and how do you wish to use your platform to impact other musicians? What impact do you wish to make on the younger generation?
Making art and music is like breathing, what influences me is life. Living everyday and seeing what is happening around me . One of the ways that I respond is by creating art and music. I am inspired to connect through music. But I am also looking to fill the void of representations that I never saw of myself.
Put simply, I want to show what honesty can look like in a saucy way and hopefully inspire to the men to question these questions. Inspire young boys and men, to think more mindfully about how we move. This is work that I continue to do and I am still in a process of learning and unlearning and thinking about all of who I am not just as artist. But as a South Asian Diaspora man who used art as a tool for critical self reflection. The impact on the younger generation is about possibility, of how dynamic we can be as multi-media producers and artists.
What have you learned about yourself over the years as a musician and how has it helped shape you into the individual you are today?
Through different kinds of depression, I literally became the most confident loner. I became so confident in being able to listen to myself that I was able to produce my own authentic sound. Authenticity and remaining my most truest self because I am tired of defending and making excuses for myself rather than focusing on trying to do better by understanding myself, and music helps me do that.
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What aspirations do you have regarding your music?
Lets be one hundred. I am a Tamil west end man and I want to represent for the men who is trying to do better, because we do not talk enough and connect with each other because our process of development and vulnerability is seen as a form of weakness.
I want to rise the dark skin South Asian people. That would be wavy. People need to start looking at our skin colour and the richness of our culture, tradition and our being and still being able to ad dour own creative interpretation of it.
What advice do you have for other young talented musicians that are seeking to find their musical identity?
It’s not that deep fam, get out of your head. What you have to produce is needed, is wanted and it is important.
The Legend of Balu strikes again, giving us some insight on his life in the music industry. It is so refreshing to see a South Asian artist determined to bring some culture alive in the industry. Being Tamil and motivated towards success. Pure talent and drive! From Rolling Stones India to a never ending journey! We cannot wait to embark on this exciting musical journey with Balu in 2019! Be sure to follow him on instagram at @thelegendofbalu . Be sure to check out Balu’s legendary sound!