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ASHWIN ACHAL
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PEOPLE Apache Indian reveals he’s back with an album in May

The man who had too much
The man who had too much

If you can recall the time when cable television first emerged in India, you probably will be familiar with Apache Indian. Apache Indian, born Steven Kapur, played a role in this “connect” between a new post-liberalisation India and the global music scene.

His single, ‘Chok There’, peaked at No. 30 on the U.K. charts, while his debut album No Reservations (released in May 1993) made it to the top-40 as well. Even with his barely comprehensible Britain-meets-Jamaica accent and menacing dreadlocks, the country considered him as one of its own. It would be easy to conclude that Kapur quickly understood the significance of his now trademark reggae-bhangra racks, but its impact only hit him in stages.

“Reggae means everything to me, and through music I wanted to convey the many influences I had as a second-generation British-Indian surrounded by reggae-loving Jamaican immigrants and Punjabis in Birmingham, England. It was very a personal style, so I didn’t really think of the charts. .

A visit to India during the initial hype helped Kapur take it all in. “When I came to India, people were really into it. And I thought, ‘Can they even understand my accent? This wasn’t meant for the Indian market’. But they saw me on that world stage, and they connected with a few words and sounds.

What they got from it was that I’m an Indian, and they were proud of it. It was a great feeling.” The new-found fame, however, took its toll. The 45-year-old explains how it became a case of “too much, too soon”. “Everything happened too quickly. In three years, I had seven top-40 hits, with shows all over the world. I came to India, and we had crowds of 100,000 and 80,000. It was just too much.”

“It was great, but I didn’t have the experience to handle it. I had problems with management, record companies, merchandising companies etc. I liked the music, but I didn’t understand the business angles. I’m a musician, not a businessman. I was forced to do things I wasn’t comfortable attempting, so I took a step back. I started playing smaller reggae shows, so I didn’t go away completely. With over two decades of experience, Kapur is now ready to tackle the big stage again. Apache Indian will release his eighth album, It Is What It Is , in May this year.

“The key is to keep it current. Trust me, this one is going to be big, he says”

ASHWIN ACHAL

I’m a musician, not a businessman. I was forced to do things I wasn’t comfortable attempting, so I took a step back

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