Avkash Mann: I don’t wanna depend on my last name for my career

By Bryan Durham - May 25, 2020

The singer (who also happens to be Punjabi singer Harbhajan Mann’s son) on creating his own lane, his own sound, his own journey and his latest single, Jatt Di Star

Avkash Mann: I don’t wanna depend on my last name for my career
A still from Jatt Di Star

Singer Avkash Mann doesn’t just have the looks and the voice, he also has the genes to match. But unlike other star kids who take the well-worn path, Punjabi singing superstar Harbhajan Mann’s son decided to debut with an English song called Away in 2018.

Now, with four singles under his belt (two of them Vyrl Originals), he is happy working his career the way he sees fit.

It isn’t surprising to see him do well, given that he has received training in singing, acting and writing under some of the most creative minds from Langley Fine Arts School, University of Toronto, and the New York Film Academy. His prowess lies in being able to perform English, Hindi and Punjabi alike.

We spoke to the young man recently to understand his roots and the heights he’s soaring towards….

You used to sing love songs in English. What changed?

Nothing’s changed. I still sing love songs in English. And it wasn’t as if when I entered the industry I said I’d sing only in English, Hindi or Punjabi. It’s just that, at this time, this song (Jatt Di Star) was ready. We all felt an amazing energy from the song and knew that it was time to release this song. That being said,  I already have other English and Punjabi songs recorded and am excited to produce those in the near future.

Why the shift from the chill vibes of Away or Dreams (or even Tere Vaaste) to a more populist Jatt Di Star?

I think all four songs have a different vibe, a different energy to them. Away was sonically a bit darker than Dreams and Tere Vaaste was a little bit different from those two as well, in terms of how the synths  and bass were used… for that matter, even the compositions. That’s the kind of the way I want my music to be out there. I want every song to be different in some way or the other. I don’t want it to be predictable, I don’t want to be labelled that I do a certain type of music. So, when Jatt Di Star came about and we were in the studio, it just had this amazing tropical vibe. It’s a big energy track, and the high-pitched Punjabi vocals combined with that. I was excited the moment the composers/music producers brought this track to play to me. That confluence was something that excited all of us.

What are your thoughts on the state of popular Punjabi music today?

I’m not really one to speak on what other people are doing. That’s a choice, a decision they made for themselves. Speaking about the music I want to put out there in terms of lyricism, I just wanna radiate positivity. I want [people to feel happy and optimistic. I wanna spread good energy out there.That’s so essential for shaping a good relationship, not just with fans but with society. People should feel motivated and happy when they listen to your music rather than deal with the negativity prevalent in certain kinds of music right now.

Tere Vaaste is the only video we see you sans stubble, sporting a clean-shaven look. How do you choose the look you wanna sport in a video?

I choose my look in every video and I keep a little bit of stubble /beard in real life. That’s kind of how I do it in the videos as well. Tere Vaaste was the only video where the look, the costumes, even the video… it’s the directors who made all those decisions. Otherwise, it’s just me and my team navigating through all those factors. Maybe, in the future, I’ll do a clean-shaven look again.

You’ve followed in your father’s footsteps as a singer. What was his advice to you, starting out?

The one piece of important advice has been to create my own name, my own path, my own standing in the industry. The second is to be responsible with my music. To promote positivity, promote goodness… there’s already too much gloom and doom in the world. Be the ray of light, the brightness. 
When I was younger I used to go to my dad’s shows with him and would see just how happy people would get when he sang his songs. I’ve been very lucky to see Prince in concert when he was still alive. His music also promotes positivity, happiness bringing people together. So that’s been the thing: to create your own image, create your own name, promote good music, be responsible.

Parents might not pick favourites from their children (the same goes with songs), but if your father had to pick a song of yours he absolutely loves, it would be…

My dad’s fav song absolutely has been Jatt Di Star. He loves the song, he loves the sound, the vocals and the way it’s all come together. I think he’s the biggest fan of the song right now. Whenever I go to him or when he’s in the living room, he’s always watching JDS on YT. It’s the first time he’s watched any of my songs so much. Definitely JDS.

Have you got acting/singing offers from Bollywood/Pollywood yet?

Coming from a legacy, coming from someone being born in the industry, I have.. from a very young age, discussed being in movies and such. But honestly, I wanted my career to start on my own terms. I wanna feel like I deserve it before I take any favours or anything like that. That’s not me, though. I don’t wanna depend on just my last name for my career. So I worked hard, I did something completely left-field by starting out with an English track. Kinda creating my own lane, my own sound, my own journey. I am very proud of that and I feel when time is right, other things will happen. I’m deeply enjoying this journey at the moment. Excited to meet great people along the way. Excited for the future

What’s next after this?

For now, I’mjust focussed on promotions of Jatt Di Star. Hopefully, soon things open up and once we’re on the way to being normal again, we’ll make new announcements on future projects in due time.

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