Hey Pree, thanks for chatting with UrbanAsian! Share a little about yourself for those who may not be familiar with your music.
Why hello there! Well let’s see, I am an up and coming bhangra pop artist from California. Music honestly has been a part of my life since the age 7. I joined the school band, picked up every instrument known, and slowly moved into the desi scene with a dhol. About a year and half ago I transitioned from being a dholi to a singer and just released my first solo album called “Me, Myself, And Pree.” I know I know, the title is pretty spiffy =].
Do you remember the moment you decided that you wanted to be a part of the music industry? What do you think caused this revelation?
Well there was never really an exact moment where I thought, “I want to be part of this Asian music industry.” But after being a dholi for so long and playing with so many major artists, I knew that one day I would want to create my own music and perform it in my own act as an artist.
In 2005 you were crowned the International Dhol Champion (belated congrats from everyone at UA!), tell us a little about your journey to this title.
Thank you! Yes, back in 2005 I was made International Dhol Champion. It was an intense run. Earlier that year I was called by one of the committee members of Bhangra Nation (the Toronto competition) and was asked if I would like to compete for the title that year in November. I honestly didn’t get a chance to even start practicing until October because I was only 17 years old and school was still in session! Finally November came around and I was able to take the title in Toronto!
After winning your title, you had the opportunities to perform alongside of quite a few big names in the industry, including Punjabi MC and RDB. How do you think those experiences have influenced your music?
I think those performances really helped mold my musical outlook to what it is today. I was lucky enough to tour around the world with amazing artists and from that was able to learn the importance of work ethic. When you jump into the music scene at the age of 17 you are a bit oblivious on how far you can take your music career. But working alongside amazing artists you realize your own abilities and honestly without their inputs, I would not be making the music that I am today.
So I guess their influence wasn’t so much on the music itself, but on the ethics of making music.
You have said that songs like “Cali Smack” and “Billo” were spur of the moment. What inspires you to make the music that we hear?
Haha yes. The guys got together on a random weekday and make a track and a video in 4 hours! “Billo” was made almost exactly that same way. I think with tracks like those you look to produce music that will help bring out the best talent from each artist.
Most of my inspiration in making music comes from life experiences. My emotions are very transparent and are easily heard in the music. When I was making the album “Identity” back in 2007, I was in a dark place mentally. And you can hear it on all 19 tracks, lol.
A more experienced and mature Pree made “Me, Myself, And Pree,” so the emotions are more on the happier side.
As artists we have a job to make music that invokes some emotion from our listener. And the only way we an do that is that if we inspire to be true to our feelings and thoughts.
Where would you say you get your talent from? Is your family musical, and have they been supportive of your endeavors?
Honestly, Im not really sure. Haha, as weird as that may sound. I don’t have a very musically talented family. I think it was just an interest at a very early age that slowly became a passion that I could not let go.
I have been blessed with amazing parents and family support. I think my father may be my biggest fan. If I am home with guests over, you can be sure my dad will be asking for me to put on a show for everyone in the family room.
Juggling college and music must have been difficult. How did you find time for everything?
I honestly have no idea how I was able to keep up with it all. I graduated in exactly four years and was a science major (yes very Indian), so the program was SUPER intense. I remember going to class Monday through Thursday and every Friday night catching a flight out of town for a show. I don’t remember getting more than 5 hours of sleep while in my undergrad years. And during finals time, you could be sure to catch me with a supply of energy drinks !
Watching videos of your performances, anyone can tell that you are having a blast. What would you say is your favorite part of performing on stage?
It would definitely have to be performing live. Whether doing a live dhol solo, or singing boliyan, you have so much freedom on stage. And plus it gives the audience a chance to see that you are good at what you do!
If you could open for any artist or band, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Gurdas Maan hands down. He is a legend vocally, musically, and lyrically. He has done amazing things for the Punjabi music scene and really helped make it to what it is today.
… And if you didn’t growing up listening to his music then you don’t like Punjabi music. Just kidding!
Who would you say your greatest musical influences are? Why?
Hmm I’m gonna have to list this out.
- Timbaland – Because grew up listening to hip hop music (still listen to it more than Punjabi music) and he was the first producer who was able to successfully blend that desi sound in hip hop.
- Rishi Rich – Just because he is that amazing.
- Gurdas Maan – Because he has one of the sweetest voices to date.
- Ranjit Dhaliwal – Because he has helped me become the musician that I am today.
There are more but I would rank those as the “greatest.”
DJ Flawless seems to be one of your partners in crime. Can you tell us how you met and decided to collaborate?
DJ Flawless and I actually met at a show in Boston back in 2009. We were doing an after party for a University event where we were the headline DJ & Dholi act. Honestly we just had great chemistry and work ethic, so from there on we decided to start working closer. We have an amazing relationship and honestly is one of the most talented producers I have ever met.
Ikagar, Baagi , and Hoodini are all very close friends. These are some of the music real artists you will ever meet and it’s awesome that we work together to push for the same goal: putting real California talent on the map.
The term “TurbanSwag” has popped up quite a few times on twitter and facebook. Do you think swag is something you are born with, or something you acquire?
Haha yes! “Swag” is something you are definitely born with! Either you have it or you don’t!
Speaking of swag…how would you describe your personal style?
My style is all over the place. But for the most part, I have the style of an 80’s rocker; skinny jeans, V-necks, boots, and jackets just about sums up my style for now…
My style keeps changing, so lets see what it will be like in a few months from now. Who knows, I may just start a new “Lady Gaga” type pagh style!
What is your favorite song off of “Me, Myself and Pree?”
I would have to say its between “Akh Da Ishara” and “Sari Raath.” I hold “Akh Da Ishara” close to me because it was the first track I produced and wrote alone. “Sari Raath” is a favorite because it was the first track that Waseem (DJ Flawless) and I created that made it to the top 25 iTunes World Charts!
You have managed to build such a strong fanbase and have already made a name for yourself…where do you think your career will be in 5 years?
Thank you! I have been blessed enough to have some great fans in such a short time.
I hope within 5 years I am still making the music I love and touring across the world. I am only 23 right now so I hope by 28 I have a solid world fan base. But right now I just want to focus on today and enjoy it one day at a time.
Time to brag. Are there any accomplishments that you want your current and future fans to know about?
I’m gonna have to go with “Sari Raath” getting on the top 25 iTunes World Charts list! It was just such an amazing feeling to be an unsigned, independent artist and being in the top 25 list for 6 weeks! You see a lot of artists who are signed and have a ton of financial backing being able to get to that spot, but when the track just picks up on its own, it’s amazing!
Is there anything we should be on the lookout for in the near future? Any exclusive hints on what the new single might be?
Next on the list is to get distribution in the UK!
Hmmmm… I can’t say just yet on what the new single will be, but we have finished the music video…
And lets just say you guys will not be disappointed!
(NOTE: Pree released the video to his track “Yaara” on June 13! Check it out below.)
Would you like to share anything else with UrbanAsian and your fans?
I would like to thank everyone at UrbanAsian.com for their support on true talent. Also I would like to give a big shout out to all the fans that have been supporting from the very start. It honestly means the world to me!
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