Bolly Good Voice

Internet singing sensation Ris Lev opens up about his obsession with all things Hindi

Posted: 05.06.13

When we were recently introduced to internet sensation Ris Lev, our first thoughts were, ‘aah, he sounds sweet’…but then we heard him sing and our hearts actually melted. Ris from South East London doesn’t have an Asian bone in his body – he’s half Russian and half Ghanaian but he’s taught himself to sing in Hindi and has attracted over 800 subscribers and thousands of views on You Tube for his acoustic cover versions of some of the biggest filmi classics of our time. Ahead of the release of his debut album, we sent blogger Bollywood Deewana aka Bosun Adebayo to meet the lad who loves love songs.

So how exactly did you became interested in Bollywood?
I was working part-time at a cinema while I was a student. Part of my job involved walking into the screens to make sure no one was recording anything and that’s when I first laid my eyes on Bollywood. I was struck by the beautiful people and the music and thought this is so amazing. Pretty soon I started coming in to watch them on my days off. I began to think ‘If these are all the films out right now, there are probably all these films from years back I haven’t even heard of’, so I started watching old releases. I liked the songs so much that I listened to the lyrics until they were in my head and then I tried to sing them.

Was your first bollywood film?
Break Ke Baad.

What? A 2010 film! That’s so recent – there must have been such a lot of catching up to do in such a short space of time!
Once I discovered Bollywood I devoted my attention to the music and movies, I don’t listen to any other music apart from Bollywood. At this point, it’s the only thing I listen to! The only time I listen to non-Bollywood music is when I’m at a friend’s house or out on the street or out. When I choose to watch a movie, it’s very likely that I’ll watch a Bollywood one.

Ris has covered tracks from Barfi!, Ek Tha Tiger and Talaash

How have your friends responsed and do you have lots of Asian friends?
I don’t have that many Asian friends. Most of the people who seem to like what I do are people I have met online. I like the fact that I’m discovered not as a non Asian guy who sings Bollywood songs, I don’t tag myself that way, but am simply discovered while people are searching for songs.

You sing very well and I have to admit there are a few Bollywood songs that I have listened to in the past that I found a new appreciation for once I saw you cover them. Has anybody invited you to come and sing at their wedding?
Recently an Asian man marrying an English lady contacted me thinking it would be a good idea for me to come and sing at his wedding, as he thought it’d be a good mix of cultures – who knows maybe I’ll follow that path further!

What part of Bollywood films do you enjoy most?
It's the whole package - the stories are so entertaining and surprising, with something happening most of the time. Also because they are so long you get to know the characters and although they often include meandering scenes that don’t add much to the story, these scenes are very nice moments that I enjoy and something you don’t get in Hollywood films. And the actors and actresses are so beautiful! I am obsessed with them!

Ris has uploaded 36 videos onto You Tube attracting thousands of views

Who are your favourites?
I like them all but if I had to pick it would be Shahrukh Khan and Katrina Kaif.

So what is it about those two?
You don’t need to know much about Shah Rukh to know he’s a big superstar, he’s so charismatic and entertaining to watch, I’d watch any film with him in it. As for Katrina, she is so beautiful, she looks like a princess.

So what in your quintessential bollywood song, a hard choice, but what one song stirs you up?
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – it’s one song I knew as a movie title before even watching the film or knowing the song. At the time I thought it was such a beautiful love song without even knowing what the words meant, it’s got such a great melody and there’s certain innocence about it.

Which Bollywood music producer would you most like to work with?
AR Rahman. The man is a genius, he comes up with top quality album after album, and how he manages it I do not know. It would be great to work with someone of his calibre, as it would be a career defining moment.

Are there any singers you’d like to duet with?
As far as female singers go it would have to be Harshdeep Kaur. As for men it would have to be Ash King. I saw both of them at a live show earlier this year and their voices are utterly beautiful.

Who would you like to sing playback for?
Ranbir Kapoor would be good!

Tell us about your amazing new album and how can we get our hands on a copy?
I’m currently working on a Bollywood style album that people can pre-order at Indiegogo. 
I need 5000 people to pre-order a copy at £5 and have until July 6th to meet that target. It’s a significant date because it’s my birthday and it marks my first year anniversary of uploading videos of myself singing Bollywood songs on You Tube. Everyone who contributes will receive a digital copy of the album.

I’ve already written and arranged the songs; all I’ll need is a Hindi lyricist – there has also been some interest from some influential producers which is encouraging. 
One of the reasons I’ve chosen to work on my own material is that my You Tube channel nearly got shut down for infringing copyright – by making my own Hindi music I won’t face these issues. The money goes to paying a Hindi lyricist to help me – if I don’t reach my target I can still make a start on the album, but if I reach it, I can do it properly like booking actually recording studios rather than singing in my bedroom!

Pledge your support for Ris by pre-ordering his album at Indiegogo.
The project is open from June 7th - July 6th 2013. 

Post to Twitter


You May Like

Love Online All you closet Mills &
Super Sitar I always knew I wanted
Shine BRYT I love trying out
Powered by Veg We couldn't take
On The Up TV presenting, modelling,


Related Video

Finding Fatimah - Funny Clip!128fashion_admin
Ankit Love - Beethoven Burst1,718fashion_admin
Bally Sagoo Interview1,734fashion_admin