It’s been nearly two years since I said Surrey’s music scene was on the brink of something big, and for the record, I was totally right.
Artists in this city have been instrumental in propelling the Punjabi music scene forward, being unafraid to experiment with new sounds, take risks, and challenge conventional expectations.
This proved true in July 2021 when acclaimed lyricist, Chani Nattan, collaborated with global superstar dubbed by some as the “Indian Drake,” Diljit Dosanjh, along with Surrey native producer Intense to bring a new life to the famed chhatri.
The fiery bop, Umbrella, was a widely successful track, surpassing over 5 million views on Youtube in under only two weeks.
Earlier this week, I received a message from Chani, hinting at another exciting project that he says is bound to break barriers. “It’s our first international collab,” he tells me.
Okay, I’m listening.
Chani and I met in 2018, when he, Tru North, Gora Gill, and Saabi Samra, collaborated to make the song, Watch Your Mouth. It's been crazy to see just how far Chani has come since then, fine tuning his style, continuing to write distinctive lyrics, and carving a special place for himself in Surrey’s quickly evolving music scene.
Chani’s next project called W features his friend and talented vocalist Inderpal Moga, along with OVO affiliate TVGUCCI. It’s a song that he says will put Punjabi culture in front of an international audience.
“W is about winning, getting over hurdles, and just pushing yourself to do better,” he says proudly. “When you listen to it you'll feel inspired.”
Chani and Moga met TVGUCCI in Toronto while performing at a private gig, alongside other established artists like Baka Not Nice.
As they were exiting the stage after their performance, TVGUCCI was getting ready to go on, and said to them, “I don’t understand what you guys were singing, but it’s a vibe.”
From that point onward, both parties knew they had to “rock it together,” as Chani says, and their track W came to life.
“This is such a big track for us because we've never done an international collab before,” Chani says. “Especially with someone of this caliber who's been in the game just as long as we have.”
“There's so much to learn from these guys because they've been working with some of the biggest artists in the industry. They have so much to offer in terms of making music, working, and how you have to hustle in this job. That was so crazy for us to see because it's a whole different world.”
In the music video for TVGUCCI’s latest track “Bora Bora,” Drake is seen vibing out and having a good time, setting the tone for what we can expect from this upcoming collaboration.
“We are so blessed with this opportunity and I really hope that when everybody listens to the track, they realize that it's not just a regular song. TVGUCCI is representing our culture, our language, and he even raps in Punjabi,” he continues.
Filmed in the Moga district in Punjab, Surrey, and Miami, W is an international track that is going to help pave the way for more big-scale opportunities, and prove to local artists that anything is possible.
“I always say to Moga, that we were making music when no one was listening, and now it feels so amazing that the whole world is tuning in. It feels like such a blessing because that's what every artist wants, nothing more than just love from the people who hear their songs,” he says.
“We've seen so many new artists come out of Surrey whether it's singers, rappers, or producers. There's so many different groups that are killing it making music together and I feel like the scene is just starting to take off right now with everybody’s eyes on Canada,” he continues.
“I remember back in the day, the U.K. music scene popped off, and then it was mostly in India. Now I feel like Canada, especially where we live, is really like taking over the scene right now which is so crazy to see.”
Chani and Moga are set to go on a week-long tour this Saturday, February 25th in the U.K., hitting London, Leicester, and Birmingham. There, they’ll be performing W for the first time live in front of audiences.
“The best thing about performing live is that you get to see people actually singing back to you. There's no feeling like it, it’s priceless. The energy and the vibe in that room is irreplaceable,” he concludes.
When artists are unafraid to challenge the status quo and think outside of the box, songs like W are able to happen. And the best part is, this city is just getting started. Fusing melodic vocals with Western beats and booming 808’s, a unique sound boasting the city’s livelihood and charm is something that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
W is officially dropping on Friday, February 24th, so be sure to pre-save the song and support local artist Chani Nattan on his journey to the top!
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Manisha SinghMore by Manisha Singh
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