Ikwinder Singh, who is better known by his stage name, Ikky, is an artist and music producer with an extensive discography.
As a self proclaimed “obnoxiously open book,” Ikky sat down with 5XPress to discuss his upcoming performance at the 5X Blockparty this June and so much more.
Ikky said he began his musical journey doing kirtan and dhadhi performances as well as DJing and playing dhol at weddings. Soon after, he moved onto remixing songs on SoundCloud and then eventually he found his own sound and started making music.
Ikky first gained recognition for producing Gurnam Bhullar’s Diamond which was released in 2018 and became an immediate hit. The song has amassed over 500 million views on YouTube. He went on to produce Yeh Baby for Garry Sandhu and Kamli for Mankirt Aulakh in the same year.
Over the last couple years, Ikky has worked with many prolific Punjabi artists such as Veet Baljit, Himmat Sandhu, Amrit Mann, Ammy Virk, Sidhu Moose Wala, Diljit Dosanjh and more.
Ikky’s discography has collectively accumulated over 1 billion streams worldwide.
His most recent collaboration, Chauffeur with Diljit Dosanjh and Tory Lanez, has garnered a lot of attention. The song defies genre barriers by combining Punjabi lyrics and sounds with mainstream hip-hop and rap. The song was released on April 13, and has over 31 million views on YouTube.
Ikky candidly discussed his experience creating this song and said it was a “huge experience that changed my life.”
“This song is a testament to the fact that Punjabi music is mainstream and it’s important artists from other genres pay attention to us, and we take that attention and double down,” he said.
“It was a crazy process because Diljit was supposed to fly out to India in two weeks, so we had to get it together and figure everything out quickly. We went to Miami, we made the song, recorded the video, and Diljit flew to India from Miami.”
Ikky says he’s studying the “DJ Khaled model” – where he can’t sing that well but he has the ability to bring people together and make it sound great. Chauffeur is a great example of this model at work.
“Making the song doesn’t take that long in comparison to the time it takes to work out all the details and logistics after. I’ve been sitting on this song for so long, but it’s all worth it when it comes out and people show love,” he explained.
Ikky added that music itself is his biggest inspiration.
“I love music, and that inspires me to create it. Music is a part of everyone’s day to day in different capacities. Other artists inspire me,” he said.
“If you can’t love what other people are making then you shouldn’t expect other people to love what you’re making. If you go to a wedding or a concert and you want to dance to my music, then I’ve done great.”
When it comes to imposter syndrome, Ikky said he doesn’t give it the time of day.
“I used to feel a bit uncertain when Diamond came out, but I was like 17/18 years old then. Now, I am confident and certain of who I am, and I am sure this is what I want to do,” he explained. “I don’t feel like an imposter because I like making relationships and I love making music and I know what I’m bringing to the table.”
“I don’t feel like I got “lucky.” You definitely need some luck in this industry but you have to be the one pushing that luck. You have to go to the right places and network with the right people. That’s how you get to perform at 5X for a second year in a row and maybe even a third and fourth time.”
Ikky’s performance at 5X Fest last year was his first performance ever, and this year, he says he’s taking things up a notch.
“To me, the year you don’t grow, it’s time to call it quits. I’m going bigger and better, and I’m just gonna say that it’s going to be hard to follow me.”
Despite his growth, he said that he doesn’t like to let his newfound fame phase him.
“I’m aware that people know me but I refuse to stop acting the way I do. I like to do what I want to do but it throws people off,” he added.
He shared a story from last year’s 5X Fest where he showed up a day early just to listen to music and see other artists. He said he ran into 5X’s Executive Director Tarun Nayar, who was shocked to see Ikky just show up without any of his people.
“Tarun told my manager it was the weirdest and funniest thing he has seen an artist do at a festival he is performing at himself,” Ikky explained while grinning.
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge influence on his career and his priorities as an artist.
“It was probably the best part of my career thus far. I got stuck in India and that’s how we were able to make Bambhia Bole. I also signed my deal and being stuck gave me time and perspective,” he said.
“I saw how artists were suffering and it made me think about how to avoid that happening again. I really honed down on the business side of things and got into the right frame of mind.”
Ikky is excited about what the future holds with his new label “4N Records” in partnership with Warner Music India, Warner Music Canada, and Coalition Music. He released the song 80 90 with Amrit Mann and Garry Sandhu under this label in May 2021. Ranjhe and Magical Love were also released this year, and Lavi Tabbi sings both songs while Ikky produced and co-wrote them.
His advice to the next generation of artists that look up to him is simple and honest.
“Learn yourself. Figure out who you are. Every day I ask myself ‘who are you today?’ and put [my] right foot forward in alignment with that,” he said.
“Stand up for yourself. Know your worth. Have the confidence to say ‘I made this record so my name should be on it, in the title, next to Diljit’s name’.”
And despite his successes so far, Ikky only has plans to keep going.
“I want to make sure that it’s not hard to make a Diljit and Tory Lanez song in 5 years. I want it to be the norm,”
Catch Ikky perform at the 5X Blockparty along with other talented South Asian artists. Get your tickets now!
About the author
Gurshabad KangMore by Gurshabad Kang
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