Acclaimed Indian singer, musician, actor and poet Sartinder Sartaaj made a campus splash recently during a visit to Birmingham City University ahead of a mega UK concert at Royal Albert Hall in London this weekend.
Following a tour of the £57 million state-of-the-art with Interim Principal Dr Shirley Thompson, the Sufi superstar took part in a special Q&A session with staff and students from the Conservatoire and School of Media along with guests from across the university and the worlds of politics, banking and music. Led by Brit Asia TV presenter Raj Shoker and Birmingham City University music industries student Corinne Stewart, the session also featured a screening of Sartaaj’s latest video.
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Released to accompany new song ‘Naadan Jehi Aas’, the first ever music video to be filmed at Royal Albert Hall in its 150-year history features the British Indian model and Vitiligo awareness campaigner, Jasroop Singh, and has amassed over 1.5 million views since its release on last week.
Sartaaj’s visit formed part of Birmingham City University’s ongoing work to further develop cultural, business, political and academic links with India.
Corinne Stewart, in her second year of a three-year music industries degree at Birmingham School of Media, said: "Meeting Satinder Sartaaj was a surreal and inspiring experience. Someone at his level of stardom was so humble and gracious when answering my questions which made me feel extremely comfortable as this was my first in person interview.
“Satinder’s in-depth answers to my questions really helped me to understand him and how he works as a musician, and you can tell he really cares about the songs and poetry he produces. Satinder inspired to me to really hone my journalistic work and write about topics I am passionate about. His new song ‘Nadan Jehi Aas’ which embraces all types of beauty and raises awareness of the skin condition, Vitiligo, will really resonate with people."
Sartaaj earned a five-year vocal and instrumental diploma at Sangeet Vishard in Jalandhar. He then then moved to Chandigarh to pursue his Masters in Musical and MPhil as well as a PhD in Sufi music at Punjab .
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After teaching for a number of years, Sartaaj began a career as a singer, songwriter and poet, making a name for himself in the Punjabi music and film industries. He has contributed vocals for a number of Bollywood films and made his screen debut as Maharaja in ‘The Black Prince’ in 2017 with veteran Indian actress Shabana Azmi.
His collaborations with Nelly Furtado, Talib Kweli, and other American music stars have helped propel the performer to global stardom. Sartaaj’s achievements with the United Nations to help raise funds for their fight against Human Trafficking saw him work alongside cultural royalty like , Sonu Nigam, Quincy Jones, and President Jimmy Carter.
The artist has long established links with Birmingham, having released music through the bhangra music label Moviebox.