Bally Sagoo is the mastermind behind numerous platinum selling albums and one of the originals from the Asian Underground scene that exploded in the late eighties. Fusing traditional flavors from the Indian subcontinent with elements of R&B, Reggae and Dance music, he attracts a wide yet very discerning audience.
Bally was born in New Delhi, India in May 1964 and moved to England very soon afterwards. His father Saminder Sagoo was a musician in a band called ‘Musafirs’. Before the age of 10, Bally was often using the hi-fi at home to create mix-tapes. Bally says with a laugh, “I had my bedroom named Curry Wood Studios”. Growing up in the neighbourhood of Balsall Heath in Birmingham UK, an area that was rapidly diversifying with an influx of immigrants, most of Bally’s friends were black and their cultural influence is evident in his creations. He was not solely drawn to traditional Indian music – he was also greatly interested in the reggae, R&B and disco sounds that his friends were into. (Bally specifically mentions the great impact that the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and Michael Jackson ‘Off The Wall’ albums had on his creative output).
Bally continued producing mix-tapes in the early eighties through his teens and was often found dee-jaying at local events. After leaving college he had a day job as an electronic products salesman, while at night he would continue developing his skills by fashioning remixes of English tracks. So prolific was his output, that it was just a matter of time before Bally’s talents became noticed and local record label Oriental Star gave him the opportunity to remix a track called Hey Jamalo, (sung by Legend Malkit Singh). The song was a super hit and he joined the label as a producer, releasing his first album in 1990, Wham Bam, which became a monumental success.
As fate would have it, Oriental Star had an artist on their label by the name of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Bally and the legendary Qawwali maestro collaborated on the seminal Magic Touch, which was released in 1991. While Bally Sagoo was well known among younger followers in the club scene, his work with Nusrat legitimized him in the eyes of more mature audiences. At the same time, Bally was responsible for introducing Nusrat to a wider audience and giving them a context in which they could relate to and appreciate ‘Sufi’ music. The album accurately depicts Bally Sagoo as a producer who brings diverse musical elements together. Each track resonates with an ambience that is consistent with modern tastes and yet the classical qualities of the Qawwali tradition are still celebrated.
Bally credits Oriental Star for a lot of his early success. “My first break came through Oriental Star Agencies and I produced many albums with them”, he reveals. Most of these were ground-breaking platinum releases that have had an impact not only on audiences but also on many up-and-coming artists.
Bally’s commercial success grew rapidly from this point on. In 1994 he signed a major deal with Sony Music, producing the biggest indian remix album of all time ‘Bollywood Flashback’ and becoming the first Indian artist to be play-listed on national mainstream radio when Chura Liya was played on the UK’s Radio One. The album also included remixes of other Bollywood classics as Bally captured the imagination of the younger audiences with his Indian-flavored Dance and Hip-Hop fusions. Chura Liya is often credited as being a ground-breaking track with a lasting influence on many artists in the Indian music scene.
Bally’s next venture Rising from the East (1996), produced gems like Dil Cheez and Tum Bin Jiya – songs that became chart hits in the UK billboard charts. Bally performed on national television programs including the BBC’s “Top Of the Pops” which was unprecedented for an artist of Indian origin. In 1996, he supported Michael Jackson on his History tour of India and had the unique opportunity and experience of producing Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s album. He was then bestowed with a rare honor – in 1997 he was invited to the palace in New Delhi to meet the late Indian President Shankar Dayal Sharma in recognition of his achievements.
Bally next proceeded to create his own label: Ishq Records. He released Dub of Asia in 1999 which he describes as “Chillout Lounge CD…dub, deep bass lines and a few Indian vocals”. Ishq Records’ successes included the Platinum smash hit Noorie on the 2000 release, Bollywood Flashback 2.
Sagoo has also produced music for many Bollywood films and also for mainstream movies like Bend It Like Beckham, Mistress Of Spice, Monsoon Wedding and It’s A Wonderful Afterlife. He even debued as the star lead role and gave the music to Brit Asian movie ‘Sajana Ve Sajana’ (2006).
In early 2013, Bally released ‘Future Shock’ under his new label ‘Fresh Dope Records’. ‘Thori Ji Kori’ was the lead single released from the album.
In September 2015, his award winning album ‘Cafe Punjab’ was released featuring a very classy, smooth, laid back production of punjabi songs. ‘Challeya’ was the first single from Cafe Punjab, followed by ‘Kenu Kenu Dasa’.
He has also collaborated with UK artists Apache Indian and Taz Stereo Nation on a single ‘Pretty Baby’ which was released in April 2015.
Bally Sagoo’s latest single is called ‘Kinna Chauna’ released on 1st February 2021. It is available for digital download and the music video is out now on Fresh Dope Record’s YouTube channel.
This is the first single taken from the forthcoming Bally Sagoo Album which will be releasing very shortly!
Bally Sagoo is the mastermind behind numerous platinum selling albums. Below you will find a selction of music reviews and press articles about Bally:
He performed across India with Michael Jackson on the History Tour. He produced the album Aby Baby with Amitabh Bachchan. The first Asian to perform an Indian song on Top Of The Pops. He made Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan a household name across the globe. He’s a pioneer of East-West fusion, he’s a legend, an icon…He is Bally Sagoo!
Bally Sagoo introduced India to a new kind of music. Bollywood Flashback, released in 1994 and cursorily played on cable by a handful of music channels, was a bolt of lightning in a dark and dingy basement otherwise flooded by the corny, overenthusiastic mush of mainstream Bollywood.
I’ve been in the industry for a few decades. Honestly speaking, I really love the ’80s and ’90s. I think that was a much better time regards to the music because it was pretty much time for everything to come out and pretty much out to be born…
To compete with the world, we really need a lot more composers and new, serious vocalists. We have a lot of DJs but not producers. The trend is towards the R&B and the hip-hop side,” said the artiste, whose last album was “Cafe Punjab” released in 2015.
Baljit Singh Sagoo, popular as Bally Sagoo, is a British-Indian record producer who introduced that party touch to Indian traditional music. His music videos like Chura Liya, Mere Laung Gawacha, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and many more have been aural and visual treats to music lovers across generations.
Baljit Singh Sagoo, better known as Bally Sagoo releases his first album in a decade. Bally was the sound on the dance floor of the ‘90s. Known for his remixes, he was one of the early pioneers who got Indian music into dance clubs.
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