Guru Randhawa’s name has become synonymous with Indian pop music, but the singer has
more tricks up his sleeves. His discography consists of singles, albums, film songs, and now,
he is gearing to debut in films. The artiste talks about his journey, the re-creation era and his
Be it Patola, High Rated Gabru, Lahore or Dance Meri Rani, some of the tunes the nation has been grooving to recently can be credited to Guru Randhawa. The voice from Gurdaspur, Punjab and now, the mind behind the soundtrack at clubs and house parties, marked his debut in 2012. A couple of albums, few mega hits and a successful YouTube journey later, the singer has grown to become synonymous with pop tunes that have proven to rock the charts time after time.
It all started with Patola—touted as the anthem of weddings back in 2015—where he collaborated with rapper Bohemia. Who also happens to be the one to have given him his stage name, Guru, versus his birth name, Gursharanjot Singh Randhawa. The song garnered more than 368 million views across YouTube, putting Randhawa on the radar. But this was only the beginning.
Armed with a trademark style, global appeal and textured voice, Randhawa set out to deliver a series of hits, helping him carve a special fan base, which in turn led to him becoming one of the most bankable names in the industry.
Then came Suit Suit from Hindi Medium that marked his entry into Bollywood in 2017, which he followed up with Tu Meri Rani (Tumhari Sulu) and Lagdi Hai Thaai (Simran) in a single year, solidifying his footing in tinsel town. Add massive collaborations with popular artistes like Milind Gaba and Jay Sean to the mix, and what you have is a winner. Not to forget his collaboration with actor Nora Fatehi, which continues to be a highlight for many of his fans. And of course, one with Mr Worldwide, better known as Pitbull, for the track Slowly Slowly that helped him chart new frontiers in 2019. This would also be the year when he bagged the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award in the Most Trending Singer category.
And while for many, this would have meant peaking, for Randhawa, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Not one to settle down with succes, the singer is now ready to debut in acting, alongside plans of making more music. He talks to MW about his journey, take on renditions and plans ahead.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
YouTube has been a very crucial part of your journey. How do you think content on the platform has evolved, and is it still relevant with the rise of other social media platforms?
Oh yes, absolutely. As an independent artiste, I started my journey by releasing music on YouTube, and at the time, digital streaming platforms were not there. It was a great time for artistes to showcase their talent without any restrictions and the need for a label. For musicians or artistes looking to showcase their talent to the world, it’s a great platform, and it has been growing beyond bonds across the globe. We have seen some internationally acclaimed songs from there. Also, you can know so much more about the artiste through their YouTube channel.
Your initial journey was quite tough. You had released multiple songs that did not get much traction. Looking back, what do you think you could have done better?
As you said, it’s a journey and those always have ups and downs. But I would like to say that God has been very kind to me and I still work hard every day. Initially, when I started releasing my songs on YouTube, they already had a few million views before reaching to Bollywood and signing them again for a label. I’m thankful to all the people that have supported me and have been listening to my songs since the beginning. It wouldn’t have been possible without them. We keep trying and putting in our hard work each day, but this is life; some things work and some don’t.
Your collaboration with Pitbull has to be one of the key highlights of your career. Who are you planning to work with next internationally?
Thank you so much. I’m working on my album and a movie currently. So, there’s quite a lot on my plate, I am not looking at an international collaboration currently. But we’ll soon get on to that too.
You have ventured into the merchandise as well. What steered you in this direction?
I wanted to give something back to my fans, like a piece of Guru Randhawa. I feel my merchandise reflects that, and I would love to share it with my fans.
Recreations have become popular. Even your songs have been recreated. Do you support the idea or feel that we should be creating new music?
I love and prefer original music. My songs were created by me and then recreated for a movie. Recreations are good, but we need to create first for that.
Independent music is now almost at par with Bollywood. What do you think brought that change?
I think a lot of factors contributed to that change. I started as an independent artiste, and at the time, the avenues were limited. But today, with the rise of digital platforms, there’s more scope to showcase talent, because of which we have seen some amazing work come out of our country. Plus, the exposure to music has been wide. We can sit in a remote place and listen to an artist from across the globe, so that has helped, too. The gap between the Hindi and Punjabi music industries is becoming smaller. But what
is the one thing that still needs to change? I honestly don’t see it as a gap so I won’t be able to comment on that.
When it comes to fashion, you are looked upon by many fans. How would you describe your style?
I like comfort clothing and am big on sneakers, sunglasses and watches.
You love to collaborate with actresses for your music videos. Which stars are on your list next?
I would love to collaborate with Kareena Kapoor Khan.
What’s the future looking like for you?
My new single with Honey Singh, Designer, just got released. I have my album dropping
soon as well. And I’m quite thrilled to be starting my journey [in acting] with a debut film
later this year.