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Exclusive: Armaan Malik, Eric Nam and KSHMR Collaborate On New Single ‘Echo’

The track is described as ‘the first K-pop meets I-pop collaboration built around a meticulously crafted EDM soundscape’

Rolling Stone India May 17, 2021

[L-R] Armaan Malik, KSHMR and Eric Nam. Photo: Courtesy of the artists

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Indian pop star Armaan Malik, Korean-American artist Eric Nam and Indian-American producer and DJ KSHMR have united to collaborate on a brand new track titled “Echo.” Described as “the first K-pop meets I-pop collaboration built around a meticulously crafted EDM soundscape,” this is Malik’s fourth single, co-written by all three artists and produced by KSHMR.  

What started as a couple of emails and YouTube links shared between Rolling Stone India‘s senior writer Riddhi Chakraborty’s interviews with each of the artists, has turned into one of the most important collaborations in Asian and global pop culture. “Being an Indian artist– because we’ve not seen a lot of representation on the global stage– I feel a kind of responsibility,” says Malik about embarking on this collaborative journey. “This is not something that’s happened before, this is something that’s so new for India and Indian musicians. It’s beautiful how artists from different countries are so deep-rooted in their cultures but come together to do something which–even though it’s different– is still very much them.”

Nam admits that while “Echo” is an important example of three Asian artists uniting on a global stage, he hopes to see more individuals rise in several fields–music, film and politics included. “I really wish we had more peers, I wish we had a bigger network of people people really killing it and representing us across the board,” he says. “Growing up, we always wanted to see more people like us on the big screen in culturally relevant places, but traditionally those places just haven’t been as open to us. I think they’re finally starting to open slowly and it comes at a time when racial tensions, societal tensions are at an all-time high… So I think it’s a very incredible time for us to be doing what we do today.”

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For KSHMR, he hopes “Echo” and the successful careers of all three musicians will inspire young Asian artists to begin their careers earlier and pursue their passions without fear. “What internally needs to change?” he questions. “Because the house that I grew up in was really hard on formal education, and when I didn’t want to go to college and wanted to pursue music, they sent me to India with no return ticket. My grandpa was going to beat it into my head that music was a hobby…[Grammys, international recognition] is all there for the taking, it’s just we’ve been going to Google, we’ve been going to the doctor positions. As great as that is, it left someone like me feeling like a square trying to fit in a circle.”

Both Malik and Nam hinted at the collaboration on their social media platforms– Malik used the letters ‘AEKOHCE,’ symbolizing each of the artists’ first names and the song’s title, to tease his fans. “Echo” is set to drop on May 21st at midnight local time for each of the artists’ respective countries (India, America and South Korea) and is also the artists’ way of celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The music video will premiere at 12:30 PM IST (4 PM KST/12 AM PST.)

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