Local R&B singer croons way into Top 3 of MuchMusic/Coca-Cola cover song contest

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LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Local Hindi singer Neil Pranjivan has spent years dreaming about making it to the “big stage.”

“I want to make an album. I want to release singles. I want to sell out Madison Square Gardens — those are my dreams,” the 20-year-old excitedly told Vancouver Desi from his Surrey home. “I’ve always thought of myself on a big stage with all these lights flashing and I’m singing in front of the whole world.”

And the ambitious Langara College student is closer to realizing that dream than ever before.

Just last week Pranjivan was announced as one of the Top 3 finalists for the 2013 MuchMusic and Coca Cola Covers contest. He’s already scored a VIP trip to the 2013 MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs) on June 16 in Toronto, but if chosen as the grand prize winner, he’ll sign a Singles Deal with Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., which includes a song release and music video.

“That’s pretty big,” Pranjivan said. “It’s a mind-blowing thing that’s happened to me.

“It’s kind of like that door that I’ve been waiting for to open . . . waiting for all my life.”

Pranjivan’s interest in music was inspired by his father — a Hindi singer.

Langara student Neil Pranjivan’s interest in music was inspired by his father — a Hindi singer. Submitted photo/MuchMusic.com

Since a young age, Pranjivan has been performing at weddings and fundraisers across Surrey — gracing stages at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, Red Robinson Show Theatre, Bollywood Banquet Hall and Dhaliwal Banquet Hall.

His go-to dance song for weddings was always Khaike Pan Banaraswala, from the 2006 Hindi film Don, and once he started high school he transitioned into English music — his go-to dance song becoming OMG by Usher.

Pranjivan started up his YouTube channel in 2011, some of his first R&B covers including How Do I Breathe by Mario and Speedin’ by Omarion.

Busy with his Electronic Music Production program at Langara, Pranjivan wasn’t initially planning on entering the MuchMusic contest. But with encouragement from family, he filled out an application and recorded his cover of Thinkin’ About You by Frank Ocean.

“Maybe a couple weeks later I got a phone call,” he said, recalling the moment he found out he made Top 10.

Then he made it to Top 3.

“Which is an even bigger accomplishment,” said an elated Pranjivan. “Knowing that I’m almost there is a very nervous feeling, wild feeling, crazy feeling — like I can’t stop thinking about it.”

In the coming weeks, Pranjivan and his family are heading to Toronto for the MMVAs, where they’ll anxiously await to see who’s crowned the winner of the Covers MuchMusic Video Award at the awards show on June 16.

Out of more than 1,600 submissions, Pranjivan along with the 23-year-old Oducado twins from Toronto and 17-year-old Kirstyn Johnson from Strathmore, Alta. were chosen as the top three.

“I believe anything is possible,” Pranjivan said about the possibilities that await him. “It’s just a matter of how hard you’re willing to work for it.

“(And) I’ll do as much as I can to reach that.”

To vote for Pranjivan visit muchmusic.com/covers

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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