A success story | From budding Shieldstown musician to household name Local artiste/producer, Bunty Singh in his recording studio (Carl Croker photos)
Story By Michel Outridge
HIS story isn’t perfect, but with determination and the sheer will to succeed, local recording artiste Bunty Singh was able to withstand the test of time and survived in the local music industry.
Singh originally hails from Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice, but relocated to Shieldstown Village, West Bank Berbice, after marriage.
This artiste grew up in a house of music and his music career started at age seven.
Singh used to go with his foster father to religious functions with his kirtan group and began playing various instruments.
“I was given to my guardian by my parents at six months old, so my foster dad is a religious singer of bhajans and he played the instruments too, so I was able to learn most of that by going with him to many functions,” he said.
Today, Singh is well versed in playing the dhantal, the dholak and the harmonia (all religious instruments) and being so gifted, he established his own ‘One Man Band’ and does that on his keyboard which he has mastered as well.
The One Man Band is for hire at weddings, bar-b-ques, birthdays and other functions.
Singh told the Pepperpot Magazine that he became a participant in the Kala Utsav locally and was placed first and that motivated him to continue in other competitions.
In this very competition, Singh was awarded four second places in the same single and also won first place in harmonia and dholak.
The singer then went on to participate in the coveted GTT Jingles competition which was held annually and first landed in the top 10, before placing fifth in his second year.
Singh however, did not stop and was determined to make it in the local music industry and was also a participant in the Emerging Voices competition and was in the top 10.
Bunty Singh with his musical instruments, the harmonia, dhantal and the dholak
In 2009 he signed up as a participant in the Guyana Chutney Competition and was deemed the best newcomer and in the ‘Super Star Chutney Monarch’ from 2005 to 2015.
The singer got first in 2017 and 2018; however, in 2019, he placed second and in 2020 he gained first in the National Chutney Monarch Competition.
“Even though I lost the Chutney Monarch competition for six years, I never gave up and I continued to press on and represented the people,” he said.
Singh stated that music is about uniting people for a better Guyana and you have to believe in yourself and don’t depend on anyone for that extra push to stay alive in the business.
His newest song is a joint effort with Brandon Harding and it will be released soon.
Singh incorporates his instrumental music from the dholak, dhantal and harmonia into his songs and also does it with his One Man Band.
Producer at his recording studio
Singh has the Bunty, Krish, Valarie and Janvi (BKVJ) Recording Studio right at his home in Shieldstown.
He is aiming to bring out the young artistes and has linked his recording studio with YouTube where he records for many international artistes.
Singh revealed that it was through relentless, hard work that he established his recording studio in 2013.
The singer/musician disclosed that it was through walking and selling his own CDs from house to house for three years that he garnered funds to open his own recording studio.
“I would walk house to house and sing and talk to people and I become a household name by doing this and I connected with the people and they in turn got to appreciate my music,” he said.
The local artiste told the Pepperpot Magazine that he likes to blend his music with chutney, soca and reggae, which a wide cross-section of people can enjoy.
Singh added that he is giving back to society by encouraging young, up-and-coming artistes to shine and would assist them with their music.
“I don’t do this for the money, but more so my love for music because I came up from the grassroots, so I know what it is like to be a singer with little or no money trying to make a name for yourself here,” he said.
Being very familiar with the struggle and value for money, Singh told the Pepperpot Magazine that he is willing to work with any artiste.
He explained that they can get their songs produced, mixed and mastered, done all in one day at his recording studio.
“In the local music industry you have to get money to survive and I do most vocals via emails and I am not performing right now due to the pandemic, but I would do a few funerals, weddings, and janhdis with my One Man Band setup and other work is done in the recording studio,” he said.
Singh is the father of two. His son, Krish Singh, eight years old, is a young calypsonian who competed at the nursery level and at regionals in 2016 and 2018 for Rosignol Primary School and won for two years.
He started singing when he was three years old and, like his father, he can build beats on the keyboard and likes soca.
“When my wife was pregnant with him I used to put the headphones on her belly and if you see how he used to move up and it was then I knew he would be into music just like me,” he said.
Meanwhile, his daughter is a dancer with her mother’s dance group and she too can sing, but prefers dancing.
Singh’s wife Valarie is a dance teacher in the community.
The singer/producer is very thankful for all the people who supported him in his time of need over the years and his fans for their encouragement, adding that it has made him into a better person and artiste.