It's been a long journey for British-born brothers Kuly, Manj and Surj, from playing the harmonium at the local gurudwara to singing with American rapper Ludacris for a Canadian-Punjabi comedy-drama film, Speedy Singhs. We caught up with London-resident Surj over the phone, as he prepares for the worldwide release of the film on September 23. An engineer by profession, Surj realised that he was meant to jam, after a session on his 18th birthday party was a hit. Together with his older brothers Manj, a banker now settled in Canada and Kuly, a design professional, he started mixing music to form British-Bhangra band RDB. They released their first album in 2001.
Kuly, Manj and Surj Singh mixed music with Ludacris for Speedy Singhs
They always wanted to make music for Bollywood, but their entry into the industry happened only by chance. "Akshay Kumar happened to meet one of my brother's friends and he was talking about how he enjoyed RDB's music, which is big. So the friend dialled Manj and handed the phone to Akshay who said 'Hi, this is Akshay Kumar'. My brother thought it was a joke so he went 'That's nice, I just got a call from Shahrukh Khan yesterday' and hung up. He made an absolute fool of himself," laughs Surj.
"It turns out that he was a fan of our music and that's how we did our first track Rafta Rafta with Himesh Reshammiya for the film Namastey London. For Speedy Singhs, the trio collaborated long-distance with rapper Ludacris. Shera Di Kaum is a club-friendly track that starts off with never-say-die lyrics and peppy beats. It is about pushing the boundaries and coming out successful. "Technology made it easy to send Ludacris the music. He sent us his lyrics and we mastered it at our studio. This is just the beginning, we want to work with everyone," says Surj, who worked with Snoop Dogg on Singh is Kinng.