He has no formal training in music, but for over a decade now, Manjeet Ral has created quite a stir in the global music scenario.
He is known to his million fans as Manj Musik — the lead singer of RDB (Rhythm Dhol Bass) — the band of three brothers that brought different styles and genres together. That chapter closed with band member and brother Kuljeet’s death. After the spilt with the other brother, Surjeet Ral, in 2015, Manj has decided to go solo and carry on Kuljeet’s legacy under the same label.
Manj says Kuljeet (Kulypaji) has been the biggest influence in his life and recalls their musical beginning. “I sat and watched him mess with different music softwares. We created music samples, placed them on the keyboard of our Amiga 500 computer and triggered them off. Then I sang to the beats. It sounded horrible, but it was our first attempt at making music,” he reminisces.
Manj admits that Kuljeet’s death is a great loss, and that every time he goes on stage, “I thank him for composing the smashing RDB hits with me. I will keep at bringing out new music under Manj Musik as an ode to him, and use the knowledge he shared with me as my commitment towards his vision.” Today, Manj and his wife, Nindy Kaur, are a formidable team that has radically pioneered the style of British Bhangra. The duo’s music composition for Bollywood includes films Heropanti, Dr. Cabbie, Namastey London, Singh Is Kinng, Kambakkht Ishq, Aloo Chaat, Speedy Singhs (Breakaway), Tanu Weds Manu, Yamla Pagla Deewana and Bullett Raja.
The singer’s entry into Bollywood did begin with an interesting dialogue with actor Akshay Kumar. “I was in Detroit when my friend in Toronto put me through to the star who had already heard our music and considered it good. Akshay said, ‘Hi, this is Akshay from Bollywood,’ and I teasingly replied, ‘Yeah, yeah, Shah Rukh Khan called me yesterday.’ What followed was the deal with Namastey London. Akshaypaji was then our lucky charm!” Manj recalls.
Manj holds a list of musical projects to work through, “I am composing music for a couple of Hollywood films. In Bollywood, I have a single each to score with Salim Sulaiman, Vishal-Shekhar and Sunidhi Chauhan. There are collaborations with Badshah and Raftaar. I’m still working with Punjabi artistes Jazzy B and Zeus. I also have global deals with T-Pain, LMFAO and 50 Cent. And, touch wood, my recent Bollywood compositions have done so well with the masses that I’ve chances to work with Farhan Akhtar, Akshay Kumar, A R Rahman and Saif Ali Khan in the near future.”
His latest is a song called Desi Hip Hop, featuring desi hip-hop artistes like Badshah, Raftaar, Humble the Poet, Raxstar, Roach Killa and Sarb Smooth. It’s a tribute to the Punjabi music industry, which he aims to release shortly.