Apache Indian aka Steven Kapur has made it to the New Year’s Honours List by receiving the British Empire Medal (BEM). This Birmingham-based musician with roots in Jalandhar, Punjab listed the honour as ‘the biggest Achievement of my life & career so far, and for services to music & youth (sic)’.
Apache came out with his recent album What’s Not To Love? early in December. His latest album has nine songs – Trip To Jamaica, an ode to the country where this music form originated in the 1960s. Though Apache grew up in Birmingham, his Indian connect has always stayed strong. With hits like Chok There, Arranged Marriage, Boom Shack-A-Lak to his credit, Apache has collaborated with Binder Bajwa for the song Giddai Vich for the album What’s Not To Love?.
Completing 30 years in the music industry, Apache has kept true to his characteristic style – Indian themes to reggae music. While he credits his interest in reggae to his Jamaican nanny, he has fiercely claimed his Indian heritage from his Punjabi parents who settled in the UK, often collaborating with Indians artistes right from Asha Bhosle to Bally Sagoo. His immensely popular track Boom Shack-A-Lak found a way to Hollywood films.
For the longest, Apache donned his dreadlock looks as a tribute to his Indian roots. “Dreadlocks actually come from India. Lord Shiva had them and so do many sadhus. This is my way to connect to my roots, my way of reminding myself that I am not a foreigner here; I carry India in me or on me,” he had said during an interview with The Tribune earlier.
Singer Shankar Sahney sees Apache as a pioneer who not just introduced reggae in India but paved way for many artistes to pursue writing and composing in an unconventional manner. “Apache would forever get the credit for bringing reggae to our country and showing us how good writing, catching beats can one help one win audiences.”
Besides expressing his inner self with his music, Apache is also running a music school in Birmingham – his way of giving back to society. Off and on, one keeps hearing of his life’s story being turned into a biopic in Bollywood – a Punjabi kid, born in the UK, thriving on Jamaican music, singing of a ‘gal from Jullunder city in a saree who is sweet like jalebi’ could be an interesting watch, let’s see if a BEM fuels the stalled project!