Ikwinder “Ikky” Singh is making big moves. At just 20-years-old, the Canadian artist and producer is changing the sound of India in his own way. Growing up in Toronto, a far cry from his cultural roots in India, he was influenced by the city’s signature hip-hop and R&B sounds. His style of production fuses the sounds he heard growing up with music from the Punjabi and Caribbean cultures. This unique take is what’s led him to work with Punjabi superstars like Amrit Maan and Garry Sandhu, racking up millions of streams on their song “80 90.”
Determined to bridge the gap between India’s booming music scene and the rest of the world, Singh launched a record label called “4N” in partnership with Warner Music Canada, Warner Music India, and Coalition Music. Pronounced “foreign” the label name represents Singh’s life experience of feeling like a foreigner in the North American music scene. We caught up with Singh to discuss his new label, India’s flourishing music scene, and the Punjabi artists he has his eye on.
Why did you decide to launch 4N Records?
4N Records was created to give the artists we love an opportunity to share their art on a larger scale. We take time to cultivate great music with the intention to take Punjabi music to the next level and empower the creators behind the music.
What has that process been like?
Launching 4N Records has been incredibly satisfying. There is no greater pleasure than working with the artists I love and [helping] curate their sound. Our goals are to find great songs with our favorite artists and not only showcase the best of Punjabi music but also take it to the next level. We want Punjabi Music to stand up on the world stage.
India’s music scene is so vibrant, what do you want Canadian and American listeners to know about it?
India has a rich and vibrant musical community spanning many languages, experiences, and cultural traditions. We are just scratching the surface of what is possible with South Asian Music. We want to take those traditions and showcase them in a way that seems completely new to the west. So when a new listener learns about Indian Music they can feel the history and years of growth it has taken to get us to where we are today.
Who are three artists that people need to know?
NseeB, AP Dhillon, Harman Hundal.
NseeB is an artist that is leading the charge in Punjabi Hip Hop. His flow and voice are something that has never been tried in India and I believe will lead the pack in India and beyond.
AP is an artist that is at the top of his game. He is creating songs that are pushing the envelope when it comes to Punjabi sound and production.
Harman Hundal is a new voice that I’ve been watching closely. I believe his lyricism and approach to the romantic side can bring forth a new era of love songs in the South Asian scene.
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