Asad Khan, popularly known as Khanvict, has been deemed the recipient of the 2020 Cultural Ambassador award, a category of the Surrey Arts & Business Awards presented by the Surrey Board of Trade.

Khan, who apart from being a distinguished bass and electronic music producer is also the founder and owner of Decibel Entertainment, a multi-award winning wedding entertainment company. 

The Cultural Ambassador award is awarded every year to an individual or a business on the basis of significant contribution to Surrey’s arts and cultural community, as well as raised visibility of Surrey’s creative industry.

Among all the other awards that he has received so far, Khan says this one is special, as it bears the essence of his pride and love towards his culture, his roots and his hometown. 

In an interview with 5X Press, this ardent lover of Sufi music, spoke to us about what the award means to him, the changes he would like to see in the cultural landscape of Surrey and his artistic process.

His one contribution to the city of Surrey that he is the most proud of, he says, has been building Decibel Entertainment. 

“Decibel is so much more than a DJ collective and a business. Having built sort of this family-like business where everybody really acts as a support system for each other on a personal level, where our interactions are not limited to just business but it is very much so a community where we look out for each other, has definitely been the achievement I am the most proud of,” says Khan. 

“Awards are always nice to receive, but when it's a collective thing where you can help other people, those are usually the ones that really stand out for me.”

 Khan, who was unaware that his name was even being put up for the Cultural Ambassador award, has represented Surrey and has brought forward the sounds of the city on both national and international levels, as a Decibel DJ and as an individual music producer playing across various music festivals. 

The award was to be given to someone who had brought Surrey recognition in the field of arts globally, and Khan believes there are indeed a great number of people who are doing wonderful work and could qualify as cultural ambassadors for the city. 

Khan grew up in a home that cherished great music and had a huge influence of artists like Mehdi Hassan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Jagjit Singh and AR Rahman both in his ambition, and in his creative process of being a music producer. 

For him, as much as he loves bass, music had to have a soul and emotions, and he wanted that in the music he created.  The influence of listening to great music and the several years of DJing experience he had, amalgamated and helped in the development of his artistic process.

As a child, when he immigrated from Pakistan to Canada, Khan says he faced issues surrounding racism and bullying for being different.

“I had difficulty finding my sense of belonging in Canada,” said Khan.

“The award is kind of like a nice reminder to myself that if you work hard, stay persistent, and just stay the lane, do the work that you want to do, do good work and have good intentions, then you build your own roots into wherever you go,” Khan added.

Khan says he is incredibly proud to represent Surrey, as it has given him his art, his livelihood, and a caring, loving community that sticks together at all times.

 “We just did a fundraiser for the farmers protest in India, and in one night we raised $25,000 USD. That’s a testament to the kind of community that lives here,” he says. 

“To be recognized as any kind of a representative for Surrey is an honour. For me it’s coming home to the feeling that I do belong here, I do have a place in this community.” 

As the Cultural Ambassador he would like to see more support for local musicians and people of colour, as well some more safe spaces to come up in Surrey that are open to events for all cultures and for all backgrounds.

“There’s such a large young population in Surrey that would love to have spots in Surrey that they could go to, and they don’t have to go downtown to see a show. Bringing some good venues within Surrey and good resources to create events and platforms for young talents from the city is something I’d love to work on with the city,” he added.

Khan is also extremely supportive of young talent, and wants more of that talent to come out from his city. 

For him, his career in music gives him a purpose in his life to serve and help others, to make a mark, and to make music that has soul and has an impact on those listening to it. 

For South Asian kids, wanting to pursue a career in music, he offers one piece of advice: “Don’t think about how hard it is. Just start. Eventually you’ll get there. If you have the drive and the willingness to work hard, you’ll get there. Learn music theory, pick up an instrument, it will really help you.” 

He perfectly encapsulates his advice in one line.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a commitment, you’ll get there.” 

Asad’s journey is a living, breathing, testament of the truth this quote holds, through finding his passions through all adversities both external and internal to him. He has and still continues to move through his journey with passion, drive, ambition, and most importantly the sheer willingness to help others reach their goals.


About the Author: Roshni is a self-proclaimed Comedy Queen who specializes in laughing at her own jokes. Her hobbies include making people smile, watching movies and analysing them, reading books, practicing yoga (occasionally), hogging on well-cooked biryani and scrolling through dog videos and memes on instagram. Her love for writing stems from her love for art in general, which is fuelled by her background in theatre. Catch on her instagram at @roshni_rakshit daily, where she regularly shares her experience with movies and occasionally offends people with her political sense of humour.

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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.