Wrap Up And Watch Out: Arjun
One of MTV’s Top 20 Unsigned Acts for 2012, Arjun is a singer, songwriter, producer and occasional beat-boxer from London. His silky r&b tone and Asian-influenced beats have won him fans from all corners of the globe, thus racking up millions of views online with his tracks. The Wrap Up caught up with the artist to talk about his super fans, upcoming live shows and what we can expect from his next album…
The Wrap Up: Hey Arjun. Who are the main influences that inspired you to get into music?
Arjun: My biggest influences have been r&b artists of the late nineties and early noughties. I grew up listening to people like Donell Jones, 112 and Craig David; they really inspired me and they still do. I owe a lot to my mum who exposed me to music of all kinds of different genres while growing up. I ended up learning a lot of instruments at school - the guitar, piano, drums, flute and more. This led to me to exploring music production... and eventually singing.
TWU: How does being a British-Asian shape your sound?
Arjun: It has definitely played a big part in my career so far. Although my first love has always been r&b, my most successful tracks have been a fusion of Eastern and Western sounds. My remix of 'Kolaveri' is worth checking out! I think it is definitely important to be aware of your roots - I am proud of being British and also proud of being Asian. I feel like both cultures should be represented in my music to some extent; but at the same time I believe that Asian sounds should not be used as a gimmick. At the end of the day you have to just make music that is true to you.
TWU: Describe your sound in three words...
Arjun: Organic, soulful and accessible!
TWU: What are your thoughts of the UK scene at the moment and who would you most like to work with?
Arjun: I think the UK is doing it big at the moment. We have so much talent over here and it is great to see our artists getting recognised across the pond. The only thing that frustrates me is the lack of an r&b scene here in the UK. It definitely makes life difficult as people here seem to prefer dance, pop and rock music. Out of the current crop of UK artists, I would love to collaborate with someone like Ed Sheeran or Labrinth.
TWU: You have quite the female following. What is the craziest fan experience you have had?
Arjun: [Laughs] Well, I've had fans showing up at hotels after gigs a few times and security have had to politely, or not so politely, ask them to leave. On the whole, I would never call anyone crazy and I am totally humbled whenever fans go out of their way to do amazing things for me. I have received so many awesome presents and messages… it makes the hard work worthwhile!
TWU: You sing and produce. If you had to stick with one, which would it be?
Arjun: That is tough! I started out as a writer and producer, but lately the artist side has taken over. It is extremely hard to choose between the two, but at the end of the day creating music is what I enjoy most. I love being in studio more than anything else in the world so I guess I would have to go with producing… but only just.
TWU: Are there any exciting collaborations on the horizon we can look out for?
Arjun: I've been fortunate enough to work with some incredibly talented artists and producers over the past few months - Jim Beanz, Mr. Hudson and Talvin Singh to name a few. There are lots of exciting projects in the pipeline so stay tuned. I literally cannot wait to release all the new material I've been working on!
TWU: Where can people see you live?
Arjun: I am going to be doing two intimate shows in London on September 28 and 29 – you can check out my website for the details. I'm then performing in Birmingham on October 6 before flying out to perform in Sri Lanka, the US and Malaysia later in the year.
TWU: What can we expect from you in the future?
Arjun: I am working on a mainstream album at the moment which will most probably have some sort of Asian influence; but primarily it will be an r&b album. In the meantime I am going to be touring a lot so look out for me on the road...
Keep up to date with Arjun on Twitter.
Words: Maz Khan (@MazHalima)