DJ Sunny Singh: A True Legend amongst DJs in India

Posted by Peter Braun • Monday, August 16. 2010 • Category: Arts and Beyond
In my life I did many interviews. Sometimes with friends, people from public life or others who had a great story to tell. Today, after many years in India I got the confirmation that I would get the chance to talk to one my great idols in the Indian music industry – DJ Sunny Singh (http://www.djsunnysingh.com). Despite being a true legend as a DJ in India, Sunny Singh is also the Guru of many other artists who followed his footsteps and by now rock the clubs from Delhi to Dubai to Singapore. In his own DJ school Sunny Singh has trained more than 750 young ambitioned talents and until today maintains a guru-gyan relationship with many of them. With shaking hands and a trembling voice I asked my questions to DJ Sunny Singh who has played a central role in spreading the popularity of Indian Disco Beats all over the world.

DJ Sunny Singh
KM: Mr. Singh, please tell us how it all started and how you became a DJ?

Sunny Singh: I have been passionate about music right from my childhood days or rather since I can remember. I had a great collection of music and records at a very young age already and I used to try and get hold of the latest music from all possible resources I had: family, friends and relatives, all across the globe. I was focused to do something and make a career out of this hobby but had no direction or did not know how, when or where to get the technical know-how in this field since DJing as a career in this part of the world was unheard of back in 1986 when I started. By now I am DJing for more than 24 years on turntables and CD players. I am very happy that I am not the only young lad in India anymore who is entertaining the crowds all over the country (laughs).


KM: So what was the training that helped you to master the skills of DJing?

Sunny Singh: To my luck, I was approached by ‘Dudley & Sudha’, the band in ‘Bali-Hi’ at the Maurya Sheraton in 1986, who happened to notice my enthusiasm and asked me to try my hands on the machine and turntables. They appreciated my skill and interest to do something in the field and said that I have it in me and should definitely pursue a career in the same. As guided by them, I found myself in a DJ training course in Singapore in 1989 to get a theoretical back up and hands on experience. Finally I was given a chance to realise the dream that I never gave up since. Upon my return after a one-month course I happened to be the first young lad in India to have done an official training course from Singapore under the guidance of Andrew Chow who is a three times winner of Singapore DMC Championship. When you are young it is always helpful to learn from people who are well experienced in their profession. Today I try to pass on my knowledge to the students that come to my DJ school.


André Gardeja and Rummy Sharma
KM: Tell us a bit more about this project of running a DJ school in Delhi, your students and what they are doing now?

Sunny Singh: There are more than 750 students from eight different countries, such as the U.S., Bangladesh, Singapore, Thailand, Netherlands, India, Canada and Dubai that I have trained in my profession. Probably one of the most famous who has also performed at the Love Parade 2007 in Berlin is DJ Rummy Sharma who also happened to be my very first student. I remember that he came to my house and asked me to give him some lessons. To see where he has reached today and what he has achieved as a representative of a new generation of Indian DJs makes me even a bit proud. In many ways he is like a son to me and I still follow his career. To name a few others who have visited my school I should definitely mention DJ Rohan playing at Ricks in Hotel Taj Mansingh and DJ Ankush who is a regular DJ for Lap and Zest now. Many others have been regulars at CJ’s, Agni, Addiction, Elevate, 24/7, F Bar or Mynt. Some of the clubs are closed by now but the DJs still continue to pump up the dance floors all over India and some even abroad.


KM: You have been an important part of the Indian DJ scene for such a long time. What has changed since the early days?

Sunny Singh: When I started, the clubs only used to play international music mostly from the UK or the US. At the beginning of my career I had the goal to establish our own Indian music, Bollywood and Bhangra beats as club music in India. I was the first one in India to play Bollywood at the major venues but when I look at it now, this style is performed far beyond the Indian borders – probably in every bigger city in the world. I would describe my style that I play these days as Commercial / Progressive House and Hard House / Trans & Retro. Today a lot of the younger DJs learn to perform with CD players or only use a computer which makes travelling as a DJ much easier. I remember that I always had to carry my vinyls across the world when playing abroad and I did gigs in many locations like Hong Kong, London or Kuala Lumpur and Vancouver, to mention only a few. It’s amazing to see, how many of the new DJs quickly pick up what I teach to them. I lately had a student from Singapore who within the first 2 hours learned to mix the vinyl. The young generation grows up having DJs as their biggest idols, they have access to all sorts of music via the Internet and are well connected with other DJs around the world. Learning that more and more international DJs have the desire to work in India and exchange their musical heritage with them is really beautiful to see.


KM: When will we get the chance to see you doing your next gig in Delhi and where are you performing these days?

Sunny Singh: I just came back from a show in Bhopal. In Delhi my next gig will be announced soon. While I still am a regular guest in India’s clubs, I also enjoy it a lot to entertain people on private parties or corporate events. Some of the occasions I was invited to play were for example for Nikhil Nanda, who is the husband of Amitabh Bhachchan’s daughter, for Sheila Dikshit on a family gathering function, for Robert Vadra's wedding and similar events. Music lovers interested to book me or listen to my music should just visit my website at www.djsunnysingh.com. Regular updates feature my upcoming activities and you can also enquire for the DJ training courses that I offer in my school. Also my Facebook group is a good source to get latest information. If you are interested, just check out www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=43489542138.


KM: What are your suggestions to younger artists and DJs? What does it take to become a great DJ?

Sunny Singh: Of course, first of all music is about passion. Without passion nobody will be successful in his profession. I always say that God is a DJ himself and God can make everything possible if you only believe that he is on your side. Generally speaking everyone can become a DJ. My suggestion is therefore to always work hard and improve your DJ skills. Walk around with open ears and also be curious to adopt new styles as the diversity of different musical genres is the greatest gift for a DJ. I am always ready to share my experiences and knowledge with others. People interested should simply get in touch with me. I am also very curious to work with other artists from India and abroad to set up new collaborations and create something unique.


KM: Mr. Singh, it was a great pleasure to talk to you and listen to your biography as a club legend in India. We will certainly keep an eye on any upcoming event with you or one of your students. We thank you for the last 24 years, enjoying great musical experiences and hope that there will be at least another 24 years that you will continue in your profession.
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