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Brit-Indian Bombay the Artist Drops Wistful Punjabi Track ‘Raaha’

Preeti Singhania’s cultural upbringing led her to draw from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as well as Lana Del Rey

Anurag Tagat Jun 02, 2021

British-Indian singer and composer Bombay The Artist. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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When U.K.-based Indian singer and composer Preeti Singhania aka Bombay The Artist started to make inroads in the British music scene, she (only half-jokingly) equates the challenges to “nepotism.” She adds, “You have to know someone to even get a mauka.”

In June 2019, she moved to Mumbai and kickstarted the project known as Bombay The Artist, essentially starting from scratch. “It was like a Farhan Akhtar movie… I was finding out who I am and it took me out of my comfort zone. I lived in a different bubble in the U.K.,” the artist adds. With six singles out so far – including her latest one being a Punjabi song called “Raaha” – Bombay The Artist has packed in about 11 months of slogging it out in Mumbai.

The predominantly hip-hop sound goes over Bombay The Artist’s varied delivery on songs like “Yarriyan” and “Zindagi,” which combine singing and rapping. She says she “converged naturally towards Indian hip-hop” and that idea was strengthened after coming across Noida artist G16’s 2019 song “Tu Hai Kaun” alongside Boyblanck and singer-songwriter Karm Solah, all on the label Ghetto Sixteen. She reached out to them and began working together. “[Labels] taking a chance on me shaped me to be the artist I am today,” Bombay The Artist says.

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Although she’s away in the U.K., Bombay The Artist is still connecting with artists in India via WhatsApp and Zoom calls. In the meantime, “Raaha” pushes the music in a slightly different direction, being a sad lo-fi Punjabi bop that’s dedicated to “women who have lost their love to betrayal, partition or religious calamities.” She explains that the topic stemmed from some of the stories her grandmother has told her from India’s partition in 1947. The artist adds, “We’re exposed to so much on the Internet so I think we lose some sensitivity about things and keep them buried inside. I wanted to talk about real stuff.” While the lyrics may be reaching for catharsis, the beat keeps things somewhat nostalgic and upbeat, which Bombay The Artist points to as a means of providing comfort even when there are difficult topics to tackle.

Up next, there are feature spots as well as an EP in the works. “There’s a lot of new music coming out and it’s never the same thing over and over. I might slow it down, because I want to emphasize on quality over quantity,” the artist adds.

Listen to “Raaha” below.

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