Pree Mayall is a US bhangra artist who was born in Yuba City, and raised in Sacramento. An artist, a producer and percussionist, his career in music began at the young age of 7 and has since signed with record label Inner Vibe. In 2005, he was Toronto based Bhangra Nation’s ‘international dhol champion of the world.’
He released his debut album ‘Me, Myself and Pree’ in 2011 and is expected to release the follow up this year.
Pree Mayall joins me for a QnA about his career, his thoughts on the industry, performing in Chicago and his new album.
Tell us a bit about yourself Pree.
I am a Libra and likes long walks on the beach... Lol, jk. Well kinda. Well I am a bhangra pop artist who sings, produces, and writes just about everything I do. Been doing music since I was 7 and can play 10 different instruments. I love fashion and love reppin' my fellow sardar... I think that’s a good place to start right? :: fixes pagh ::
Who inspires you as an artist?
Growing up, it was all about desi music. Shinda, Jazzy, Gurdas etc were huge influences. But as I slowly started to venture away from the pure desi sound, people like Taz, Rishi Rich etc really started to influence my sound. Today my ears have gravitated towards people like Drake, Kendrick, Passenger, Chris Brown... So a little different from that desi sound. They are such an inspiration to artists like me because they show that we don't need to have boundaries with the sound that we create.
Your interest in music at an early age led you to join the local school band. Tell us a bit about that and your progression from there into an artist?
Yeah definitely. I started at the age of 7 playing the flute. I slowly moved onto other instruments that helped me become better rounded in music. This gave me a huge advantage later on because I was able to read and write music. In the desi music scene, a majority of artists do not really have a lot of knowledge in music - so it allowed me to transition a lot better.
How would you describe your vocal, lyrical and production style?
It has matured a lot from the last album. The last album was a lot more "fun" whereas now I have grown a lot musically and vocally. Now I would describe it as a mature sound that really just tries to bring you real yet quality sounds.
As an artist, producer and percussionist, what is it of each discipline you enjoy?
Artist - I get to talk about things I would never be able to let out. Producer - I get to touch people through sound. Percussionist - I get to wild out! lol
As a Sacramento native, tell us about the bhangra scene there.
There honestly isn't much of a scene. The west coast in general has died a bit but slowly coming back again. So when I came out, I was the only artist from Sacramento, or the west coast besides probably Bohemia, that was lucky enough to tour and travel the world with my music.
The US bhangra scene is relatively small compared to the UK. Do you feel it can grow, gain its own identity and produce more artists?
I actually feel the exact opposite. The US scene has grown amazingly. The UK is still using the same 3-4 ghost producers and coming out with the same songs. North America, yes Canada included, now has a bigger and much more different sound. I still give my love and respect to the UK but NA is taking the bhangra / desi scene to a whole new level. I don’t see it slowing down. It is just going to get bigger. It’s a great time for North American artists!
What do you feel is needed for the US bhangra scene to continue to grow?
Working together. Too often we get involved in politics with each other as artists and burn bridges that if colab'd, would make beautiful music. Once we realize we are all in this together, the scene is going to grow.
Tell us about your experiences performing in Chicago? When do you plan to perform here next?
Chi town has always been amazing. I have been multiple times and each time I have come, I have gotten more love. One of the coolest crowds to be in front of. I don’t know when I will be there next, but hopefully soon!
Who would you like to work with in the bhangra industry that you haven’t already worked with?
Malkit Singh. I have done a ton of shows with him but I have never recorded a song with him. I would love to collab with him ! #Legend
Tell us about your experiences playing alongside UK artists Panjabi MC, RDB and Talvin Singh?
Amazing. They are all legends. RDB and I toured all of India, which was classic. Each time you get to play with these music legends, you learn so much. I appreciate every moment I got to share a stage with them
You had a second solo album that was planned for May 2013 which included many big artists in the industry. How is that album coming along and when do you plan to drop it?
Yeah I had an album that was going to drop but I had to step away from it because it just wasn’t me. I was at a time where the music I was making was being pushed into a dark direction. I needed to step back and really reform myself. I am now working on the Vivid Dreams mix tape that will be launching in March, and the vibe is crazy! I have some very very cool collabs on it, but more so you will get to see a whole new light. I hope to really show people a new Pree.
Thank you for your time Pree!
Pree Mayall featured with rapper Hoodini and Punjabi rapper Baagi on the single 'Billo.' Production also by Pree Mayall.
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