Young singer started career off as a YouTube sensation

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Through his use of YouTube, Punjabi artist Sharry Maan, 31, has risen from obscurity to being one of the stars of the Punjabi music industry. His YouTube tracks — particularly the song Kudiyan Te Bussa — found a strong Internet audience.

He had his breakout year in 2010 when he released his first single Yaar Anmulle. He ended up winning the PTC Punjabi Music Award for Best Male Debut and his hit song also ended up being featured on the soundtrack of the 2011 movie Yaar Anmulle.

Maan’s career has continued to ascend since his breakout year. In 2013, he won the PTC Punjabi Music awards for Most Popular Star of the Year and Best Album of the Year (Aate Di Chiri).

Maan has performed all over the world, including Calgary in June at Jack Singer Concert Hall.

The Calgary Journal‘s Zarif Alibhai chatted with Maan about his unconventional rise to stardom, what life experiences have inspired his songs and his future in the industry.

ZA: How did you get your start in music and became a YouTube sensation?

When I was a kid I used to sing Gurdas Maan songs (no relation) a lot and that’s the inspiration for me.

From YouTube when we put the song, called Yaar Anmulle, it was the biggest hit at that time SharryMaanZarifPunjabi singer Sharry Maan has made multiple Canadian tours since his rise to stardom in late 2010. He was performing at the Jack Singer Hall in Calgary back in June.

Photo by Zarif Alibhai back in October 2010… Even I don’t know that this song would be such a great hit! So, thanks to my fans, God and my parents … that this song made a YouTube star named Sharry Maan.

ZA: Tell me about a difficult experience in your life that inspired some of the songs you wrote?

I think in every person there’s always a difficult time. The difficult time isn’t when a girl leaves you or anything like that. From childhood I remember when I was 12 years old and I have this dog and he died, due to some reason. I write about that dog and that was a difficult time for me. So, it could be anything as this is the way to express my sorrow, happiness. So, I always write when I feel something good or bad. It all depends on my moods and the mood I’m in.

ZA: What kind of thoughts and emotions do you convey in your songs to come up with your music?

I just want to sing simple … I just want to write simple lyrics, which can be related to the people of Punjab. More songs about the youth and about simple things that we do in our regular lives. Such as college time, friendships etc.

ZA: When you get with a producer how do you work with that producer to come up with the right song, beat, flow, and lyrics?

I’m a writer too. The most difficult thing in Punjabi music or any music is to write lyrics first. First the lyrics come and then the tune. And then the singer, and then the music producer.

Sharry-MaanSharry Maan’s first songs brought him immediate success as he won the PTC Punjabi Music Award for Best Male Debut back in 2010.

Photo taken from Sharry Maan Facebook page. ZA: What message do you want to convey to Punjabis all across the world?

SM: I love my Panjab and I love Punjabis and I’m here in Canada and I love the way Punjabis are doing their hard work and I’m glad to see how much hard work they are doing here. They are on the top now and I love to see Punjab always rising. I love the people and the people love me as well.

ZA: How did your love for music take you to the top?

SM: So, I think this is what I feel in India in Punjabi music or in any Indian music. People always look for the money first. They don’t even try to listen to that person if he has some talent or not. They always try to look for the money first and say, ‘Give me this money and we can release that song.’ So, that happened vice-versa for me. They came to me after that hit and they paid me.

ZA: When record companies passed on you and came back how did you feel?

SM: So when I put that song on YouTube nobody knows that ‘This was the man who came to us earlier.’ Because they haven’t listened to my song. So, when my song was released it was vice-versa. The company came to me to give me money! Lots of money.

ZA: What can people look forward to on your third album?

SM: There are very good songs on the third album including music from my earlier albums but the music is much better now. I always try to write lyrics from my heart. Two or three songs will be great club hits as well. 

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