Interview: Foji Reflects on His Success

Bhangra artist Foji went from being a quiet artist on the scene to an international phenomenon who can dance! I caught up with Foji and we walked ourselves through his career. Check out my exclusive interview.

Zaynah: The success in your career has been building. The first I hear from you was “Bondhl-Gai” featuring New Yorker Gop Virk. How did this collaboration come to be?
Foji: I came across a YouTube video of Gop Virk collaborating with Cheshire Cat. I was impressed with his work and got in contact with him. He loved the track and wanted to be part of it.

Zaynah: At the time of the release of “Bondhl-Gai” did you have an album in the works?
Foji: Yes, I was working on my debut album Dafa Hoja, we only had 4 tracks ready at that time and finished and released it the U.K. for the end of October. It all worked out quite well as “Bondal Gai” was such a big track on the album.

Zaynah: Another collaboration on the album, and a big one at that, is with Miss Pooja. Were you two able to work in the studio together?
Foji: Yep, we got together for the collaboration and she seemed like the ideal vocalist for the song. She is a fantastic performer and artist it was a total pleasure to work with her.

Zaynah: Last year you dropped your debut album Dafa Hoja. How long was this project in the making?
Foji: Altogether it was about a three year process. The biggest challenge in general was trying to do something different with the album. For example, when naming the songs I tried to think of names that would attract attention and came up with titles such as “Dafa Hoja,” “Bruah” and “Bondhlgai.” When designing the album cover, I tried to think outside the box and came up with the lenticular card, as no one in the industry has done anything like this. Also, I like to think of different concepts for my videos instead of doing your typical standard Bhangra video.

Zaynah: What is one of your favorite songs on the album?
Foji: I love all my songs but if I had to mention one that really sticks out it would be “Kamlee” which is a dub-step style. I don’t think that anyone in the Bhangra industry has done a dub-step style of song, it is a very fresh style coming up in the mainstream and I thought I would do something totally new.

Zaynah: You’re fame hit a whole new level with “Pumbeeri” as it became an experience for your fans. What made you decide to do a flash mob?
Foji: Flash mob videos caught my eye whilst browsing on YouTube. I quickly realized that the Bhangra industry had not yet discovered this kind of creativity in their music videos, so whilst brain storming through ideas I thought to myself why not do a flash mob for a video. It was so much fun, we did 3 day rehearsals and the response was insane we had all religion, cultures, and ages joining in from 6 to 66!

Zaynah: Were you at all worried that you wouldn’t be able to recruit enough dancers or that people would not retain the choreography?
Foji: No, I was not worried at all because I deliberately worked out a straightforward routine which was simple to follow. I also put the routine up on Facebook to make it easier for people to learn. Till today when I perform it at weddings and gigs the whole party does the same moves, it’s like another flash mob!

Zaynah: After the drop of “Pumbeeri” you treated us to “Pumbeeri 2.” Why?
Foji: On the day that we did the video shoot for “Pumbeeri” we managed to film two takes, one inside the bullring (shopping mall) and one outside. Since the response to the outdoor video exceeded all expectations, we decided to edit and release the indoor footage.

Zaynah: With all eyes on you or looking for you in the mall with a surprise dance, what can we look forward to next?
Foji: I will be releasing a new video soon called “Minta”. Without giving too much away I can tell you that it will be a duet but I am going to leave the video concept a surprise. I am sure that you will not be disappointed.

Zaynah: Do you have a message for your fans?
Foji: I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me through my career, the response has been overwhelming and I hope you all enjoyed the album Dafa Hoja. If anyone has any comments, good or bad, please facebook, twitter or email me. Your feedback will be much appreciated.

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