FACE TO FACE
Singing his own tune
Tarasme Singh, lead singer of Stereo Nation, on his singing and successes.
THE pop group, Stereo Nation, was in Australia for a live concert. All the way from U.K., to a world apart, yet the members looked at home, comfortable and confident.
August 10 was a teeth-chattering night, but that didn't stop the crowds from cheering "Taz, Taz, Taz" inside Melbourne Town Hall. Tarasme Singh, who later became Johnny Zee and is now Taz, had a hypnotic effect on his audience. He began by thanking the organisers for giving him an opportunity to reach out to his community in different parts of the world.
He also expressed his gratitude to those who have made him a stable person. He sure was a young man with heaps of confidence and an ability to mesmerise the world with his heavy baselines synchronising so very well with the desi vibes.
"Baby, don't break my heart", "Daru Vich Pyar" and other hit numbers followed but what caught the audience and the organisers by surprise was his comment on racism, stressing that it exists in Australia, as it does the world over and how much he resented it.
Taz began very early in life, with a hit debut "Hit the deck", and then enjoyed a good run with many albums that can be described as a mixture of Hindi and English fused with western pop, Punjabi folk and catchy tunes.
Drumming up a storm ... Edward Angel.
In a time when words like "nationalism" and "nation" seem out of place in a multicultural and diverse world, one should think again because Stereo Nation has displayed variety and a pure zest for music in every song they have composed and rendered.
After the Melbourne concert, Taz spoke to AJAY REDDY. Excerpts from an exclusive interview.
What relevance do such concerts have to the greater Indian community?
Firstly, it's a display of talent that can inspire one to take to music and specifically music that links you with your culture. I believe in what we do and I will always encourage new talent and offer help in anyway I can.
Racism seems to trouble you a lot. Any bad experiences?
No, I haven't had a bad experience, but I do know that, in today's multicultural society, racism still exists. It's a social evil to make one feel small because of skin colour or religion. I believe in spreading the word of love, peace and, of course, fun.
Apart from music, what else?
I love painting. I draw and spend most of my time relaxing.
What qualities remain at your core, no matter what?
I am a very social person, I believe in networking and getting my way around. I don't believe in waiting for things to happen, I believe in searching for them. No matter what, I will always be polite and also network to make that connection I might need.
What role do you think the Indian media can play in a multicultural society like Australia?
The Indian media, I believe, is very talented, firstly because of its attitude and openness to learn new things. Secondly, I believe Indians are very intellectual and tactful, diplomatic, and that's what media needs.
The Indian media can also help create a more factual and realistic picture of India rather than the poverty and social evils aspect that seems to be magnified.
What is your idea of a healthy diet?
I am not fussy with food. I love Indian food. I travel a lot and miss home food. I am a curry boy.
Does the world realise a musician's potential in the initial stages?
Yes and no. I was recognised, so I am where I am. But it's a rough road rejection and humiliation are a part of it. Once you make it, there is no looking back. But always remember to keep your head firmly on your shoulders.
What was the most difficult stage of your career?
Looking back, I never had a struggle as such, but it was a task to convince my parents. It was just their concern for me, but once I am proved myself, they supported me.
How is your personal life treating you?
I am happy and enjoying my life. If anything is meant to happen, it will and I will let you know. (Laughs)
In the latter part of 1999, you had a solo album called "Nasha", which was successful in U.K. and the U.S. but you never mention it among your successes in interviews. How come?
I am very proud of "Nasha". It's just that a lot has happened after it that has led to Stereo Nation, as a group and not just Taz.
You also do Bollywood playback singing. How different is it?
I sang for "Koi Mil Gaya" recently. It was a fabulous experience. I love the Bollywood style of working friendly and informal. The timings get a bit stretched, but I love it anyway.
Your hit number "Don't break my heart" is said to have rocketed you into the big league, what did it mean to you in terms of new house, new car or luxury?
(Laughs) I am a very simple guy. I enjoy every day with those close to me. I am not taken up by luxury.
With due respect, you seem to take all the attention that Stereo Nation as a group deserves. How does that affect your relationship with Angel and the rest of your team?
I don't agree with that. We are equally recognised and we know what we are doing and we love what we do.
Message to aspiring pop stars?
Believe in yourself, dream big and work towards them. Peace and Love, Taz.
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