“Punjabi Wave” music hits the Juno Awards stage

That was a big thing for me. As soon as I entered the venue, I was more focused on my performance. I didn’t even know if I would win this award. I would have been happy anyway, but I didn’t have something in my head like, “OK, I’m here to win this award.” But when they announced my name and I stood up, I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. It was amazing.

What’s special about this Canadian brand of Punjabi music?

Canada has played an important role in my career. By combining Canadian and Punjabi sounds together, it creates this different genre that we didn’t know we would end up with. My latest album, “Making Memories,” combines American, Canadian and all these other sounds with Punjabi folk music.

You once worked as a longshoreman. How old were you when you did that job?

I was 19 years old. I still made music, but I mostly wrote for other people. I had a couple of songs with my voice. That job was great for my career and my sisters thought it would be good for me and my future, but they didn’t know what I was doing regarding music. I did that job for three months. There were a lot of Punjabis working there, so they slowly started recognizing me and knew that I liked music. But my music hasn’t grown that much. I only had to focus on one thing.

After all, music can be a full-time job. Do you feel supported by the Canadian music industry?

Oh yes, 100%. Canada has given me a lot of support. Maybe I will also collaborate with some Canadian artists in the future.

Some call this moment in Punjabi music “the Punjabi wave”. What does it mean for you?

I’m just happy to be a part of it and to have been the one to bring it to this level, along with a couple of other Punjabi artists who are working on the same thing. We’re just doing it for the culture and I feel like everything is going well now. It’s nice to witness it.