Written by Kelly Holm
For British rapper Inder Paul Sandhu, music was literally a heaven-sent gift. He had been a Christian since his late teens, but it wasn’t until he was in his mid 20’s that he received what he believes was a divine sign.
“I heard the voice of God tell me to go and pursue music full time in 2015,” Sandhu says. “Walking home from church one Sunday, I was eating some glorious chicken wings and despite the fullness of these wings I had a deep desire to hit the stage and I couldn’t help but dwell on it. So I prayed… ‘Lord, I’m scared of the stage, please make it come to me.’”
Only a week later, opportunity knocked. Sandhu’s pastor announced he was putting on a show and wanted Sandhu and his friend Ope, a.k.a. Unique Creation, to write and perform a theme song.
“It made no sense to choose me, absolutely no sense at all,” Sandhu recalled. “I didn’t say a word to anyone about a desire to do music, but here I was… from this ‘election’ I was catapulted into the studio spitting bars.”
His first single, “Money Ain’t A Thing,” was released in 2017. With its Lizzo-esque backing beats, Sandhu says the story behind this anti-materialist ode “was just magic.”
“I was broke with nothing but birthday cake in the fridge, trying to create music and then promo the heck out of it on a broken laptop,” he shares. “To see where that song landed is just amazing.” Now, Sandhu has rung in the new decade with his latest release, The Colindale Tape, which he says is more stripped-down than previous releases, both emotionally and production-wise.
“I didn’t enter last year with The Colindale Tape in mind,” he tells Elicit. “I’ve actually been working on another tape called Mstat and because that tape is so magical, it’s taking longer than expected to create. Which left me in a weird place, because I had so much going on inside of me I needed an outlet, thus The Colindale Tape was born.”
The EP features five tracks, the third of which is Sandhu’s favorite, “Cold.” “It was the hardest song to put out in the atmosphere. It’s a vulnerable version of me forever encapsulated in song,” he said. “I have always been good at disappearing, like if I don’t want to be seen or heard I can vanish. This song was a perfect explanation and also acknowledgment of the love and patience shown towards me.”
The track illuminates Sandhu’s acceptance that the pursuit of stardom is a rough road, and often features more lows than highs. He’s dealt with obstacles ranging from an ex-girlfriend in the audience to “promoters not paying money they owe me” to forgetting the lyrics that he dreams.
“I rarely write lyrics down,” he admits. “I also dream a lot… so sometimes I’ll write my dreams down and turn them into a song. Those are probably the few times I actually, physically write lyrics.”
Influenced by artists from a plethora of genres, such as Metallica, the Arctic Monkeys and Frank Ocean, he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into just one category, and wants to emit creative output in any medium he can.
“I have ‘Die Empty’ tattooed on my chest, and that’s because I don’t want to go to the grave with any form of expression in me… any song, book, clothes, film, script, painting. I must birth all I have been created to create,” Sandhu says, asserting that his zest for the craft will not run out until “my name is mentioned alongside all the greats, when I’ve been on every musical platform there is, when I have performed in every reputable establishment, festival and arena, when every publication and blog has covered my music in some form and there has been no radio, podcast, talk show untouched.”
In order to get there, Sandhu tells us that he has not only written a release plan for his singles and tapes, but also a growth plan for his social media. “It’s basically a large part of my experience and what I’ve learnt in a document,” he tells Elicit and invites listeners to check out and share his music to snatch a copy.
Still, his music and social media strategy aren’t the only things he wants to share with his fans. He’s got plenty of advice to dispense to those who aim to follow in his footsteps: name your price, know your boundaries, and remember nobody owes you anything, for starters. Sandhu comments, “Be careful of what you allow into yourself, to assess and take inventory of your heart…” and last but not least, “Die empty.”
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