Sometimes with cross-over pop singers, you discover a genuine star. Think Shakira. Jay Sean. Or Ricky Martin. And sometimes you find… a hot mess. Here are four desi pop singers who are trying to be cool —
Priyanka Chopra. In case you missed it, beauty-queen Bollwood superstar, turned pop singer Priyanka Chopra finally released the video for “In My City” featuring Will.I.Am. Before you continue reading, please take a moment and hear the song. About 30 seconds should be enough.
Here’s a quick recap. BMW. Red Wine. Manicure. Short shorts. Touch-screen smart phones. Ambiguously Asian architecture. An autorickshaw. Will.I.Am suggesting Priyanka “come ride” with him. A subway. And at 2: 50 a discomfiting little ode to Bollywood. Or belly-dancing. It’s unclear.
Got the idea? Good, let’s continue.
If you are anything like me, you were properly underwhelmed by the song’s overall blandness. While it seems to have done alright in India, where Priyanka is already a well-known name, nobody in America seems to have registered her existence. And thank goodness for that. We have enough terrible pop singers. But Priyanka’s latest release builds on a long history of desi wannabe pop stars in America who strike a flat note.
Anjulie. When Canadian singer Anjulie first released her self-titled album back in 2009, it included a fair number of critically-acclaimed tracks, like “Boom,” “Love Songs” and “Rain.” But then she decided to make herself over as the desi K$sha/Nicki Minaj. Here’s “Brand New B*tch,” featuring lyrics like this: “Oh-oh, been feelin’ so fly, since you been gone/ My face to the sky, sunglasses on/ Turnin’ up the beat so sick.” Yawn.
Raghav. Another Canuck, Raghav became a household name at a young age in the UK, singing hits like “Angel Eyes.” But somewhere along the way, his sound took a wrong turn. His 2009 song, “So Much,” featuring Kardinal Offishal, from his album “Phoenix,” is just one of a handful of Raghav songs I wish I’d never heard. Prime example. This lyric, “She’s like them Reese’s peanut buttercups, mm that I love so much.” No word from Hershey’s on this glowing endorsement.(Luckily for us Raghav fans, he still can sing a decent Bollywood song when he wants. Please Raghav. Stick with the Hindi. )
Tina Sugandh. When I first read about Tina a long, long time ago she was New Jersey’s “Tabla Girl,” clearly talented both as a dancer and an instrumentalist. But that was years ago. Now Tina is a serious pop singer, you guys. Or something like that. Here, in the song “Break Me,” she has lyrics like “Maharajah, you’re making me hot.” This is painful to watch. And hear. I’m sorry, you guys. It’s too bad not to share.
Anyone else to add to the list?