Bambi’s melody gets the Bhangra treatment

London-based South Asian singer Bambi Bains recently released a snappy Punjabi single, “Broken Glass”. Written in collaboration with UK producer Shaye, “Broken Glass” is about feeling confident and comfortable being single. Bambi has established herself as an exciting talent to watch out for her mesh of R&B and UK Bhangra. She has global hits like “Retro Rarri” and “Duniya” to her name.

In an exclusive interview, Bains talks to India Currents about her milestones in 2022 and keeping her music relevant for global audiences.

IC: Tell us about your latest Punjabi single, “Broken Glass”, the idea, and inspiration behind it. You’ve said this one is extra special. Why?

BB: “Broken Glass” was written about the few times in my life when I’ve been chased for a date. For the reason of not wanting to be hurt and mistreated, I turned them down. I knew they would be bad for me in the long run. I have always felt strongly about being comfortable on my own and not needing anyone. Of course, love is different, and that you can’t always control. But falling into the wrong relationship can be worse. 

IC: What was it like collaborating with UK producer Shaye on the song? You guys seem to have a great collaborative partnership.

BB: Shaye is incredibly talented and he truly understands me and my vision. He has produced and worked with global R&B artists, such as Ginuwine, 112, Next, and many more. So he has the experience to develop my music in a direction that many other producers can’t. 

The year that set the ball rolling

IC: In 2022, you performed at Glastonbury and supported Canadian-Punjabi star AP Dhillon on his UK tour. You also performed at The Oval and the Commonwealth Games. Tell us more about that.

BB: I’ve had so much fun in 2022. Looking back. I think this was the year my career really started to come together. Supporting AP Dhillon was a dream. He’s very cool, and the show was amazing. Performing at Glastonbury was a huge milestone for me. I had set that as a goal to achieve within five years of my career. We performed there within three years. It was so magical! I simply can’t explain the feeling you have in front of that crowd. Performing at the Commonwealth Games was also brilliant. I’m extremely privileged to have been commissioned to produce a song for the specially commissioned album. 

IC: How do you manage to keep your music relevant for global audiences? Does the R&B meets Bhangra vibe come naturally to you? What else might you want to try in the future?

BB: I listen to so many different genres depending on my mood. I love to feel inspired by new sounds and cultures. In early 2022, I released an Afro-Asian song called ‘Sohni Kuri’ with the amazing Afro B. It has done really well. I love dance music too, so I’m currently exploring this alongside my core RnB sound. Music touches everyone differently, and we want to be diverse in the sound that we deliver. 

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I want to spread Indian-sounding music globally

IC: What’s Bambi Bains’ signature sound?

BB: My signature sound I describe as “commercial urban”. The production tends to stem from heritage hip-hop/RnB influence coupled with modern melodies fused with Indian cultural sounds and language. I want to remain true to our roots and spread Indian sounding music globally, almost like Latin music has. 

IC: Who or what are some of your biggest musical inspirations – both Indian and western?

BB: Cliché, I know, but Beyoncé for me is the queen. Her raw talent and stage presence is just incredible. Alongside her, I love Diljit Dosanjh – I would love to collaborate with him one day. I also love Tayna, a Roman female rapper who I think is super talented. 

IC: What are you working on next?

BB: My team and I are working on an album which we are hoping to release soon. It’s currently an amalgamation of old and new, and I’m really excited to launch this. We are also talking to some promoters about a tour of India which I would absolutely love to do. I’m so excited at the thought of coming to back to my roots and connecting with my audiences. 

Neha Kirpal is a freelance writer based in Delhi. She has worked for over a decade in print, television, and online media. Her diverse interests in the culture beat include books, music, travel, films,...