After collaborating with Timbaland, Amar steps out with an impressive solo offering.
Vibhuti Patel 2010-02-25
As the daughter of UK Punjabi singer Mangal Singh, known worldwide for his song Rail Gaddi, it could be said that Amar has music in the blood. But this singer-songwriter is not one to rely on a family connection and has been a musician in her own right since the mid-1990s, working with the likes of Talvin Singh and Nitin Sawhney. Most recently, people will recognise her from her work with Timbaland, notably the track Bombay from his hugely successful Shock Value album.
Someone who has teamed up with such a prestigious array of artists is surely worthy of some front-line exposure as a solo artist, and Show It Off may just be the record to provide such prominence for Amar.
Collaborations provide the strongest tracks here, but that in no way detracts from its overall quality. In fact, the tracks with artists as diverse as Sonu Niigaam, Shankar Mahadevan, Apache Indian, Jim Beanz and even her father serve to reflect Amar’s talent in the best possible light. From the tongue-in-cheek Bombay Billionaire to the dark and brooding Sajana, the infectious Masala to the emotive Deewana – everything is held together wonderfully by Amar’s vocals. She sings predominantly in Hindi, with a voice that is sweet and sultry, yet full of confidence and attitude, as showcased perfectly in the album’s title track.
Show It Off is bound to resonate with a generation who, thanks to an ever-shrinking world, have musical tastes as wide as the influences featured: Indian classical, RnB, pop, Bollywood, hip hop and Arabic. What makes this record stand out is that it doesn’t try to fit into a genre – it is simply the work of a musician expressing her art. In a world of reality TV and conveyer-belt music, that’s extremely refreshing.
This is a classy, confident piece of work that shows off all the right things, and is definitely worth getting excited about. It’s a shame that the UK mainstream still has an aversion to non-English lyrics because Amar could create a real stir outside the Asian market, as well as within it.