India Live: Manj Musik, formerly of RDB, taking music in a new direction after brother’s death

Published: August 7, 2014


Picture 1 of 3

Manj Musik, Manj Ral's solo project after his brother and bandmate died of brain cancer two years ago, will be performing under the new moniker for the first time in Vancouver at India Live on Saturday.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

The Toronto-based producers and brothers behind former Punjabi group RDB (Rhythm, Dhol, Bass) were like “two peas in a pod.”

“I would play a beat, he would start playing some music,” Manjeet Ral said of his brother and former bandmate Kuly Ral, who died from brain cancer two years ago. “Me and Kuly were two peas in a pod — we were exactly the same.”

The British brothers first formed RDB in 1995 while living in the U.K., with their youngest brother Surj acting as manager, Manj and Kuly as co-producers and Manj as lead vocalist.

In the early days, it was just Manj and Kuly coming up with tracks on their “crappy computers” and recording them onto tapes.

By 2001 they released their first album and went on to produce Bollywood hits, including tracks in the 2011 Indo-Canadian film Speedy Singhs, as well as collaborations with mainstream artists like Snoop Dogg, T-Pain and Ludacris.

“[We were] pretty much at the top,” said Manj.

But their career ground to a halt when Kuly was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumour. Despite flying all over the U.S. for the best treatments available, Kuly, only 35-years-old, died in May 2012.

“We lost a huge part of the music — RDB is only RDB because of the music that me and Kuly made,” said Manj. “I didn’t really want to carry on doing RDB as myself, to take any sort of credit.”

“So after Kuly passed away, we kind of disappeared.”

It wasn’t until January that Manj officially launched his solo venture, Manj Musik, and this weekend marks his first time performing in Vancouver under the rebranded name as he takes the stage as the headline act at India Live, a cultural event Saturday afternoon on Granville Street.

While he’s already toured some of India, performed in the U.S. and Toronto as Manj Musik, deciding to rebrand himself as a solo artist wasn’t easy.

“It was a very, very tough decision,” said Manj. “It wasn’t a decision overnight — it was something that I had to be talking to Surj about for a long time.”

With RDB at the height of its career, Manj didn’t want to “demolish the brand by releasing music or doing things without Kuly around us now.”

“Anything that you’ve ever heard was me and Kuly,” Manj said. “People could point the finger and say that’s just not as good.”

“Do we really want to go through that whole process? Or should we lay it to rest in respect for Kuly and call RDB a legacy?”

So after mourning the loss of his big brother, Manj decided to put RDB behind him and “leave it as a legacy at the top.”

And when he finally started to develop Manj Musik, his first musical venture without Kuly, there were some challenges.

“I’ve always had that right hand man — that shoulder to lean on,” Manj said. “But things haven’t really changed much … because the original team is still with me.”

“And I’m still getting the love and affection from the fans.”

“The hardest thing is getting people to recognize me as Manj Musik … they still see me as RDB.”

But with the new moniker comes a new sound — a departure from the familiar folk and bhangra that often defined RDB.

“I’m completely experimenting,” said Manj, adding that while he still incorporates traditional bhangra sounds, he also throws in hip-hop and EDM. “I’m free to think about creative music in whichever way, shape, or form I want now.”

“It just gives me more options really … rather than just sticking to typical bhangra tracks [like] before, I’m opening up to a different audience altogether.”

Manj Musik quickly picked up steam as Manj maintained the relationships he built as RDB with Bollywood producers and American artists. Within less than a year of launching, he’s already landed a guest appearance and song in Dr. Cabbie, an upcoming movie produced by Salman Khan, and has plans to collaborate with artists like Sean Kingston, Redfoo from LMFAO and 50 Cent.

But as he moves on with his solo career, Manj will always look back fondly on the “huge family business” that was RDB.

“I’ll never forget those days,” said Manj. “We’d have a lot of fun in the studio, on stage and just travelling with Kuly would be hilarious.”

India Live, organized by Vancouver not-for-profit South Asian Family Association (SAFA), will also see live performances by Yasmina Dance Academy, Neelamjit Quartet, Now or Never Dance Crew and local artists like Lapis. The free event runs from noon to 8 p.m. along Granville Street between Georgia and Smithe, and also offers a range of cultural activities from yoga, cricket, bhangra and dhol lessons, sari and turban tying, roti making and Bollywood makeovers. For more information visit IndiaLive.ca.

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Nepal earthquake

Almost 1400 killed in deadly Nepal earthquake that shook Everest

BINAJ GURUBACHARYA And MUNEEZA NAQVI THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KATHMANDU, Nepal — Tens of thousands of people were spending the night in the open under a…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Six

Forum at Surrey gurdwara to address recent shootings and drugs-related violence

‘The gurdwara feels responsible to pro-actively engage with the public in stopping this senseless violence’ SURREY NOW SURREY — Eileen Mohan, the mother of “Surrey…
Continue Reading »

police-Newton-desi-Vancouver-BC

Surrey NDP MPs Jinny Sims and Jasbir Sandhu call on Tories to help stop shootings

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — Surrey’s NDP MPs are calling on the federal Conservative government to do something to help stop a flurry of…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Urban search and rescue troops and medics prepare to deploy to devastated Nepal

By Murray Brewster THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Harper government stepped up its response to earthquake-ravaged Nepal on Sunday by dispatching advance elements of…
Continue Reading »

Urban search and rescue troops and medics prepare to deploy to devastated Nepal

By Murray Brewster THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Harper government stepped up its response to earthquake-ravaged Nepal on Sunday by dispatching advance elements of…
Continue Reading »

Urban search and rescue troops and medics prepare to deploy to devastated Nepal

By Murray Brewster THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Harper government stepped up its response to earthquake-ravaged Nepal on Sunday by dispatching advance elements of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Hollywood-Bollywood

Harold & Kumar actor Kal Penn stars in film being shot in B.C.

MICHAEL D. REID TIMES COLONIST Kal Penn is coming to town to star in The Girl in the Photographs, a horror feature that began shooting…
Continue Reading »

PARENTS-VIOLENCE

Video shows a mom beating school staff after her daughter was stopped from carrying cellphone

  HINDUSTAN TIMES A woman allegedly beat up the director of a school in Jalandhar after her daughter was stopped from carrying a mobile phone…
Continue Reading »

fetish-desi sex-school girl-viral video

Video shows a young girl being brutally beaten with a stick, kicked by her father

VANCOUVER DESI A viral video of a father brutally beating up a young girl will make you shiver with anger and disgust, and want to…
Continue Reading »

gang life prevention

End Gang Life: Problems surrounding gun violence run deeper than skin colour or culture

SGT. LINDSEY HOUGHTON SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Kids are shooting at each other.  The violence these children are engaged in with each other has now…
Continue Reading »

desi sex-video-lust-bollywood

Video shows how a woman reacted when a pervert kept staring at her breasts

VANCOUVER DESI In a conservative country like India, where women’s rights are suppressed way too often, what do you do when a lecherous man won’t…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Desi-sex-boobs-india-porn-bollywood

Indo-Canadian actress Sunny Leone: People write all sort of crazy stories about me

HINDUSTAN TIMES Actor Sunny Leone, recently hit headlines when she was quoted as saying that she doesn’t like being compared to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The…
Continue Reading »

Deepika Padukone

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone not interested in donning producer’s hat

HINDUSTAN TIMES While many of her contemporaries like Anushka Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor have entered the realm of film production, actor Deepika Padukone says that…
Continue Reading »

Kangana Ranaut

Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut “had to learn triple jump for Tanu Weds Manu Returns”

HINDUSTAN TIMES We have seen actor Kangana Ranaut play a Delhi girl many times. Be it the flamboyant Tanu in Tanu weds Manu (2011) or…
Continue Reading »