Jaz Dhami: There’s a lot of bi****ng in the industry going on right now
British-Indian singer-songwriter Jaz Dhami credits his family for helping him become a successful musician that he is today — not by dissing his peers, but by focussing on releasing music independently.
Thanks to his family, Jaswinder Singh Dhami aKa Jaz Dhami always let “music do the talking”. Something, that the 34-year-old believes, musicians today, don’t do “that” often. And instead, they prefer to build a name through controversies. “I am a bit old-school in that sense really (laughs). Today, music has become entertainment, and people are more interested in hearing the back story to an artist or a song. They want to know if there’s a dig in the song. It’s not just limited to India. A lot of international musicians too have made a name for themselves because of controversies,” he says.
“I am not like that. I am not saying that I don’t speak my mind, but I don’t b***h another artist. Every artist is talented in their own way. There’s a lot of bi****ing in the industry going on right now. I prefer to stay away from controversies and let my music do the talking. That’s what my family taught me,” says Dhami, who began started learning singing when he was nine-years-old.
His family also helped him understand how not to get exploited by labels. He “100 percent” agrees with American rapper Kanye West, who recently tweeted demanding labels to transfer the right of masters of songs to the respective artists. But, at the same time Dhami also understands, how difficult it can be for a new musician to own their masters.
“There are few examples of musicians like Post Malone or Jay Z, who became over night success with their releases. There are a million of artists who are not like that. For the new musicians, it’s very hard to get the rights to their own masters, because they need a platform to release their music. So it’s not easy,” he says.
The only way, to make sure that a musician gets a “good deal” with the label is when they “invest in the right lawyer” or understand the laws themselves. “I’ll be honest, I don’t own the masters of all my songs. But, I make sure that the songs I work hard on, I get some cut or percentage or royalty off them (masters). Musicians today need to understand the law, when they are making a deal with a label. I have always done that and the reason, I have not had any trouble so far is that I have understood the contracts before signing them,” he says.
Another reason, Dhami thinks musicians can stay away from getting exploited by labels, is by releasing his music independently. His latest song, Kasoor, Dhami says is an independent release, just like many of his previous hits such as Beparwaiyan and High Heels.
Explaining his decision to remain “largely independent” and not signed on with any big label, he says, “the reason for creating independent music is that it gives you the complete authority over your music. All of my big songs, like High Heels or Beparwaiyan, are all independent songs,” he says.
“No label was interested in putting money in Beparwaiyan, because they did not believe in it, and that song is such a big hit now. I own the masters to that song. So, while its good to work with labels, it is equally important to keep releasing some of your work independently as well,” he signs off.
Interact with the author on Twitter/@sammysamarth