Just where has Mr D been all this time?
After an eight year break from being in the studio Juggy D has finally released his new album. Punjabi Rockstar solidifies his comeback and status as one of the UK’s biggest Asian R’n’B artists. Since the considerable success that followed from his debut album back in 2004, Juggy has toured and travelled the world, and brought us smash hit singles, including B-Projekt’s Ni Soniye.
Now Juggy is officially back we had to take the opportunity to grill him on where he’s been all this time and make sure he knows we don’t want him to go way again! Omie Mehtab called him in India, where Juggy is currently enjoying getting in touch with his spiritual side.
Eight years! Seriously…why has it taken so long!
Firstly, it took so long because the first album did really well for me, especially internationally, so I had a lot of shows come from that. Any artist will tell you that we make a lot of our living from the live performances. One of the main points of coming out with an album is the anticipation of doing shows, travelling, and touring. As the saying goes, if the going is good, why stop! On top of that, there was the case of not being together in the studio, because when I had time, the producers didn’t have time, and vice versa. So it just went on like that, and before you knew it, it was five years down the line, six years, and finally when I did get it done, it was eight years later! I’m just grateful that I’ve had the time now to concentrate on my solo work.
What have you been doing in the last eight years in the mean time? Has it just been live shows?
I’ve been doing a lot of shows around the world; I’ve also done a lot of singles and features, just so I could stay active while I prepared for my new album. I’ve been working on a lot of different projects in the mean time. I did a track with DCS and a single with B-Projekt from India so every year there was something coming out.
So what inspired you to make this new album?
I never really stopped working on this album, which started straight after I finished the first one. There were some songs that didn’t make the first album, as we felt that we weren’t quite ready with the composition and production of some songs, so we wanted to do the job properly and give these songs some justice. It was an ongoing project, and I wanted a good variation of songs on this album. The fact that I used a high number of producers shows that I really wanted to achieve this. And of course, an ongoing inspiration was to put out a second album for everyone that waited so long!
As you say, there is a great variety of tracks on Punjabi Rockstar. What would you say is your favourite track, and why?
Haha I think that is the worst question you could ask an artist, because I’m so tempted to say every single one! It’s like asking a parent ‘which one is your favourite child?’! I love all of my tracks, because I gave each one the same amount of time and devotion, heart and soul. Whether it was a pop track, or a deeply lyrical one, I gave it my all. But one that does stand out for me on a personal note is Yadaan, which means Memories. I recorded the vocals of that song on the day that my nan passed away, who I was very close to. It was at the time of when my first album was released, but I waited until now so I could give it the dedication of being the most heartfelt track on the album.
So the music side is sorted…are their any other avenues you’d like to persue?
I’m one to always keep my options open, I can never write anything off. In my music videos, I am already acting in a sense, and how powerful it is depends on how good an actor you are. I’m not going to say I’m great at it, but I did get an A* in drama! My being so active in India could bring about opportunities in the future, so I wouldn’t say no if it ever does come by. I appreciate any opportunities that come my way, be it a new song, a cameo, or even a role in a film, I would gladly take it up.
Speaking of India, you’ve been there quite often and you’re there now. How popular would you say you are there?
Very few UK artists make it in India so I’m surprised at how well known I am here. I’m very grateful to Rishi and Veronica, because it was our beginnings in 2004 that helped take my name across the world - we did a lot of touring in India. Thankfully I am still able to come here and get a good reception and a lot of work. It is such a great place to be, and I devote so much of my time here because of the incredible fans and work that I get here. It’s like wanting to win the lottery... you’ve got to be in it to win it!
You’ve posted pictures of yourself at the Golden Temple, what was it like visiting there?
Well since my daughter was born, I’ve been doing it every year. I’m a very spiritual person, and have been in connection with that side of me more so recently. As I’ve progressed through the industry and gotten older, I’ve become that little bit wiser too. I’ve really wanted to improve myself as a person, for the benefit of me and my daughter. I’m currently on my annual detox; I strive to give up things that could harm me in order to improve myself. I’m starting to leave behind the Punjabi Rockstar lifestyle as I go on, and just getting fully focused on my career and my family!
You say that you want to move away from the Punjabi Rockstar lifestyle... so why did you choose the name?
It was because of how much running around I was doing! I would be doing a lot of tours and family and friends were shocked, asking me ‘How do you do it? You’re like a rockstar, you just don’t stop!’ I just took to the name straight away, and it was true, because I was running around like a headless chicken all the time!
You were in India when the recent bus rape ordeal took place, what was the reaction like locally?
It’s a very, very horrible ordeal. And it’s only one of the many cases that have been brought to the international eye. It happens all the time. And as beautiful of a country it may be, it isn’t a very safe place for women in that respect. There’s a lot of poverty here, and in a sense, some people may feel that they have nothing to lose. It really isn’t on. I’m just glad that there has been such a strong reaction, nationally too, to help bring justice to those committing such atrocious acts. There have been major changes, like more security, and earlier venue shutting times, so it’s a good step forward.
Rishi Rich has played a huge part in your music and some of your best work has been with him.
We hear you may be teaming up with him again in the future ?
We’re working on a pop album now. The most recent one was very Punjabi, very Desi. In a sense, I’m returning back to my roots, as my first album was very pop and not as deep as my recent one. Pop Punjabi music is my favourite genre, even though it is a bit cheesy! Because I’ve taken so long to release Punjabi Rockstar, I’m working extra hard to bring out another album later this year.
I’m glad to hear that, and I’m sure many other people will be glad to hear it too! Going back to India, we know you have a very large fan base there, but where would you say is the most random place that you’ve discovered that you have fans?
There are fan bases in Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia... but I’ve got to say Thailand! That really surprised me. When I first went there, before even touring, I had people knowing who I was. Not only third generation Indians, but people of other races too. I had a couple of Sikh men picking me up from the airport, they couldn’t speak a word of Punjabi, Thai was their first language, but they still liked my songs!
You’ve worked with so many big names, is there anyone you’d still like to work with?
One of the reasons I’m in India now is to work with big names, and get my own name out there more. There are so many amazing producers here, some of which I’ve already worked with. I’m going to Bombay in a couple of weeks, and hopefully I can add to my list of the fantastic producers.
Who’s been your favourite to work with, in terms of producer or artist? Who’ve you had a great connection with?
Rishi and Mentor, definitely. I have a huge amount of respect for them, and they were the two producers that I started working with when I first came into the music industry. It was the turning point in life, and they both helped set up my career, so they will always be my favourites. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today!
So I hear you’re a Liverpool supporter! Not doing too well this season, you drew against my team Arsenal the other day…
Even while I’ve been in India, I’m still following them! I’m a loyal and devoted fan, so I’ll stick by them. We’ve not been doing too well lately but you can never say never; we could still get into the top four. But as long as we finish higher than last season, and take things slowly, step by step, then I’ll be happy. We drew against you guys because we thought that we’d give you a gift! I go to games whenever I can and even have the badge tattooed on my back, so I can’t be called anything less than a true supporter.
Punjabi Rockstar is out now.