The evolution of Punjabi Music from regional to mainstream.

by Sufi Ahuja - Editorial Intelligence Guy & Host of Podcast, Talking Music Punjabi

By 2021 the regional music industry has adapted well to the digital market. Over the last couple of years, the Punjabi music industry has emerged as the biggest non-film music industry in the country. A few artists have given hits, nationally and internationally, particularly in diaspora-rich countries like Canada, UK, and the MENA region. The audience is hence getting bigger and growing further. 

Half a decade ago – while curating Music for Radio and digital streaming platforms, I realized that Punjabi Music is not only restricted to Bhangra or Romantic genres, it has also expanded its horizons into Western Genres.

Punjabi origin musicians sitting outside India, tried fusing western tunes with Desi lyrics which was warmly accepted by the diaspora audience. 

Punjabi Music caters to a particular mood that is happy or uplifting, where western Genres like Reggaeton, RnB, Lounge, Future bass, Unplugged, Trap & EDM are being explored by Punjabi Music artists.

All About Pop (1st Decade of 2000)

During early 2000, Punjabi Music was all about pop with instruments like Dhol, Chimta, Tumbi, Bugchu, Dhadd, etc. were used in music production. 

In late 2000, I used to host a radio show for a regional radio station in Punjab, where Jock Talks were in Hindi and the ratio of Hindi vs Punjabi songs in an hour was 7:3 

Listen to Jazzy B (one of the most popular artists from the Punjabi Pop Era) speaking about the transition of Punjabi Music in Talking Music Punjabi

Journey of Singers to Cinema (2010 to 2020)

In early 2011, the same ratio of Hindi vs Punjabi songs in an hour went from 7:3  to 1:1, and Jocks started speaking in Punjabi. 

Soon after, the audience saw one of the most beautiful faces and Bollywood’s heartthrob – Deepika Padukone dancing on ‘Marjani Paundi Bhangraaa Angrezi Beat Te’ – a Punjabi track by another popular singer ‘Gippy Grewal’ featured in Hindi Film ‘Cocktail’ 

It was a proud moment for the entire Punjabi Music Community, where not only a regional music market started getting exposure on a national level, but this also opened gateways for voice artists (singers) to enter the big screen that is Acting. The transition started when the audience saw almost all the favourite artists (Singers) turning as actors.

 Listen to Gippy Grewal (one of the most popular Punjabi Singer turned Actor) speaking about Bollywood experiences in Talking Music Punjabi

Now, Punjabi Music arrived big. One thousand-plus Punjabi songs release every month is a massive number in comparison to any other mainstream or regional language.

Singer-songwriters like Sidhu Moose Wala, Karan Aujla, and more roared with their music videos getting millions of views on YouTube and topped the charts on music streaming apps.

Evolution Punjabi Music (2021 & onwards)

Punjabi Music is no more regional – It is mainstream. Other than seasonal hits – party songs, wedding dance numbers, romantic songs around Valentine’s Day, and international collaborations started happening like ‘Zora Randhawa with SnoopDogg’, ‘Gur Randhawa with Pitbull’, and more.

And then something happened that no one imaged when artists like AP Dhillon turned all stones with distinct writing styles & vocals composed with Lo-Fi Beats and giving ‘Brown Munde’ as an anthem. There was hardly anyone who hasn’t listened to this song, given they are Punjabi or non-Punjabi. 

Also, listen to Hardy Sandhu who will soon be sharing the screen with Ranveer Singh in his upcoming Hindi film. He is speaking about his Bollywood film journey in Talking Music Punjabi

 Listen to Harrdy Sandhu ((one of the most popular Punjabi Singer turned Actor)

May You Always Have Music in Life

Sufi Ahuja

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