Bally Sagoo has acquired many designations, to mention a few, “Godfather of Bhangra”; “The mix-master”; “One of UK’s top 10 Asian Success Stories”. It’s taken a lot for Sagoo to acquire these titles and his story starts back in the 1980’s when he felt there was no funky Indian music. Living in the ghetto areas of Birmingham UK, he soon got a taste for black music. Motown, reggae and soul were the type of music he wanted to hear. Sagoo began a personal crusade to fill the void. He knew if he succeeded he would make his mark in history….
Stealing records from his father’s music store by night and replacing them in the morning, he would experiment by fusing traditional Indian music with western beats. But the bills still had to be paid, so by day, he held a full time job as a sales assistant, and by night he was producing in his bedroom, which he called “Currywood Studios”. Sagoo knew he was onto something big.
Bally’s concerted efforts bore its’ first fruits in 1989 when a local Indian record label, Oriental Star Agency gave him his first break. He remixed a track called “Hey Jamalo” which became an instant success. It was here that Sagoo was accredited of dragging Indian music into the 21st century. His popularity on the Indian music scene was growing fast. His love for Dj-ing and music forced him to follow his dream and he became a full time music producer. Bally went onto produce many hit albums, his innovative and bona fide musical style has achieved many awards including Gold and Triple Platinum albums all fighting for space on his walls.
In 1992, Sagoo went onto produce the groundbreaking album “Magic Touch” featuring the legendary voice of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. This collaboration was a huge success, giving Nusrat an acceptance with the younger generation (equivocal to the youngsters of today listening to Pavarotti) and putting Bally Sagoo’s name on the lips of both the young and old.
With the Indian music industry safely in his hands, he set out to cross over into the mainstream, by signing to Sony Music in 1994. Bally came up with the new concept of revitalising classic Bollywood film songs. Appropriately, titled “Bollywood Flashback”, this album became one of the biggest sellers worldwide. A single off the album, “Chura Liya” became the first Indian song to be play listed on Radio One.
Sagoo went on to produce “Rising from the East”, an emotional, innovative album showing Bally’s skill as a writer and producer. The album smashed through the barriers of race and culture, the single “Dil Cheez’ reached No.12 in the UK Billboard Charts in 1996. The follow up single ‘Tum Bin Jiya’ also made the Chart at No. 21. Another notch on Ballys' belt of many achievements.
Today he travels the globe as a Celebrity DJ playing to packed houses wherever he goes, rumoured to be the highest paid Indian DJ in the world with only one requirement on his rider, a non stop flow of ‘Bacardi and Coke!!!’. He has toured India supporting Michael Jackson. In 1997 he appeared on the UK National Lottery. Bally’s achievements were acknowledged by a personal invitation to the Presidential Palace by the President of India in 1997. Sagoo has signatured many Bollywood and Mainstream films with his original tunes as film directors pursue him for his musical talent. With over 30 hit CD’s under his belt, his hard work has made him into a brand name, endorsing products with the “Bally Sagoo” name worldwide.
Comfortable with his past and not afraid of his future, Bally wanted to do things his own way. He stepped up to the challenge and in 1998 launched his own record label called ‘Ishq Records’ which quickly became a dominant force on the Indian music scene. The label is credible for producing Indian music fused with RnB/Reggae/Hip Hop and Dance, enrolling talent from all corners of the world.
Bally Sagoo believes there are no barriers; Indian music has a cross over appeal that will stand alongside the majors in the music scene. His pioneering thoughts have made him one of today’s most accomplished and unforgettable talents, taking him to celebrity status…he wanted to make his mark in history and he has.
The future will not only see Bally Sagoo producing Asian artists but mainstream and western acts also. “I am an Indian, loud and proud, but I’m also British. I hope to have captured all these influences in my music for people all around the world to relate to. For me, my music represents bringing different worlds together and uniting them as one", says Bally.