Learn more about our up-and-coming artists through the MAD Blog Series
2020 MAD Blogs
Every so often, life hits us with challenges and it’s up to us on what we decide to make of that situation. One individual in particular decided that he wouldn’t let his past define his future, instead he took his experiences and created art.
Mississauga native, Wali Shah is a prominent poet and motivational speaker within Canada who began his career in his hometown when he was named the City of Mississauga’s official poet. His love for poetry began in high school after he created a poem about the struggles he was enduring at the time.
Since then, he has toured coast to coast as a WE day performer and has had the opportunity to perform for high-profile individuals such as Barack Obama, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Seth Rogan and Kendrick Lamar.
While his career has seen a significant amount of success, one thing fans may have never noticed is that during the start of his career, Shah struggled with self-doubt.
In today’s episode of MAD, Shah talks about overcoming his fears of self-doubt and pursuing a career outside his family’s norms.
We’ve all known that R&B stands for Rhythm and Blues, however, one band in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) decided to put a spin on the word R&B. Instead, to them R&B stands for Rock and Bhangra.
The R&B United Band is one of the most versatile bands you’ll come across in Canada. They have over 20 years of experience and the band is formed of a talented group of musicians who combine their expertise and versatility to put on top-notch performances. While their name stands for Rock and Bhangra, this band is able to perform multiple genres such as Bollywood, Sufi, Bhangra, Ghazal, Gujarati and more, as well as western genres such as Rock, Pop, Latin and Country.
In this #MonsterArtist Development (MAD) video, founder of the R&B United Band, Asad Khan reveals his secret to finding the right bandmates who can play any music genre you can think of!
Ever wonder how it is to break into both the Canadian and Pakistani music industries?
Fortunately, The MAD Band Project – a band from the Greater Toronto Area that strives to bring on the best musicians within Mississauga and Brampton to showcase the musical talent within a multi-lingual arrangement – has been able to spave their way into both industries successfully.
Currently, the MAD Band project consists of Saad Arif Tauseef and Ankita Nandawat, and a group of talented musicians who have all previously performed at #BollywoodMonster Mashup.
In this behind the scenes video, The MAD Band Project compares the two music industries and discusses which industry has allowed them to evolve their creativity skills and expand their network extensively.
Moving to a new country isn’t easy. However, moving to a new country with zero relatives or friends and having to work multiple part-time jobs to pay international fees while embarking on your journey as a dancer is something that can be a daunting experience.
Shivani Joshi faced those battles during her first couple of years when settling down in Canada. She quickly realized that people were not quick to give newcomers a chance when it came to pursuing their passion for dance.
These challenges prompted Shivani to create Team Nritya – a dance group formed with current and former international students whose mission is to leave a mark of their culture and identity while overcoming the challenges of living in a foreign country.
In this exclusive MAD video, Shivani shares her story of overcoming adversity as a dancer.
Ever wonder how you can establish and expand your career while in a new country?
Yashwanth Koppala had a dream from a young age to pursue a career in dance. In fact, Yash began his dancing career at a young age in his nativeland of Hyderabad, India. Shortly after in his adulthood, he moved to Canada where he set his goal to establish his dancing career.
Since then, he is the founder of the Reign Yash Dance Academy – a prominent choreography school in Brampton. Alongside his students, Yash has performed at over 100 events within the Greater Toronto Area within the past two years including MonstrARTity’s own, #BollywoodMonster Mashup where Yash and his group of fantastic dancers graced the stage with their dazzling Bollywood performances. Other events they’ve performed at include Taste of India, Toronto International South Asian Film Awards, Diwalirazzmataz, Panorama, FIMCA Awards, Carrasauga and many more!
In this episode of MAD, Yashwanth shares his story on establishing himself as a dancer within Canada and how he expanded his passion for dance through his academy.
COVID-19 has struck a chord throughout the world and has made individuals learn to adapt to their usual way of life. However, the pandemic hasn’t stopped musician and artist Nick Pandya and his band Vedik Vibez.
At the age of 8, Nick began his musical career by learning how to play the tabla – a classical instrument known as a hand drum. He has performed with various Bollywood singers such as Shankar Mahadevan, Jonita Gandhi, Chinmayi and Sukhvinder and he has also won an award in vocal excellence by Pandit Jasraj. Since then, his career has expanded to him owning his own music company, Darshan entertainment, having his band alongside other musicians from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and even performing and building a friendship with Bollywood playback singer Rajdeep Chatterjee. For the past few years, Nick and Vedik Vibez have taken the stage at #BollywoodMonster Mashup and performed a fusion of popular Bollywood and Gujarati hits.
In this exclusive episode, Nick sits down with MAD to share how COVID has taught him to think outside of the box and grow as an artist during these times.
What happens when you mix West Indian and Bollywood music together? A beautiful fusion of melodies gets created. Allow us to introduce N2 The Band, a group of talented musicians who have come together to showcase West Indian and Trinidadian music with a flare of Bollywood music.
In this exclusive MAD video, Ravi Sookhoo of N2 The Band discusses fusion music and how N2 The Band came together.
When embarking on a journey to become an artist – whether it be in music or dance – one thing that is universal throughout any of the arts is competition.
When starting her own dance company, Brampton native Melissa Marie quickly discovered that she was surrounded by dozens of Indo-Canadian dance groups in her city and that they were all pursuing the same dream.
In this MAD video, Melissa Marie shares how she overcame the fear of competition within her community and learned to channel that energy to ensuring her company, Melissa Marie Dance would succeed.
Have you ever wondered how you can take your passion and turn it into a full-time career, but fear is holding you back?
Ria Aikat from the Giggle Queens shares how she overcame her fear and decided to pursue dance full-time with her best friend, Jennalee Desjardins.
The dancing duo, Ria and Jennalee, have created two brands for themselves – Giggle Queens, where they infuse their dance styles and perform at various festivals; and Dance Culture, a school program where professional artists showcase diverse cultures through dance.
This year, the dancing duo put on a fantastic performance at #StayHome with #BollywoodMonster Mashup, where they danced to hits such as ‘Bindis and Bangles’ by Raja Kumari.
Be sure to check out this MAD video to learn all about overcoming fear and how you, too, can turn your passion into a full-time career.
With a passion for the arts and a desire for change, Frog in Hand, a Mississauga-based network is keen on providing a hand to their community through education, resources, knowledge and through the art of dance performances.
At this year’s #StayHome with #BollywoodMonster Mashup, Frog in Hand collaborated with #BollywoodMonster Orchestra (BMO) – a group of talented singers and musicians who come together to perform a fusion of genres. They performed on various hit numbers such as “Chammak Challo” (from the movie ‘Ra One’ starring Shah Rukh Khan) and mashups of “Badtameez Dil” (from the movie ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ )/“Stayin’ Alive” (by the Bee Gees) and “Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan” (by the Meet Bros from the movie ‘Roy’)/“Thrift Shop” (by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis).
In this exclusive MAD video, Frog in Hand shares some tips on celebrating existing dance styles and how to adapt to genres you may have never danced to before and how to make them your own.
You may have heard of dancers, singers and instrumentalists however, it’s not everyday one comes across a beat-boxer.
Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion which mimics drum machines using one’s mouth, lips, tongue and voice. Like any other profession, it takes time and practice for one to hone their skills and become a professional beat-boxer.
Enkaye’s beatboxing skills have been showcased on stage at the #BollywoodMonster Mashup festival, performing alongside the #BollywoodMonster Orchestra (BMO) – a group of talented musicians who fuse different instruments, music and culture to create an original production that you can’t see anywhere else.
In this exclusive MAD video, we speak to Enkaye, who shares his secrets on becoming a professional beat-boxer.
Sometimes, your darkest days can lead you to discovering a light – or in Devin Ramoutar’s case, discovering his passion.
Ramoutar is a music teacher specializing in the intricacies of Indian, Latin, Western, and West Indian percussion. He found himself on this career path after struggling with depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It was during his struggles he realized that he enjoyed interacting with people and teaching music which led him to start teaching. In the past few years, Ramoutar has become one of the most sought after percussionists within the Greater Toronto Area.
Watch Devin’s story above to learn more about how he created a career through his passion for interacting with people and his love for music.
We’ve all heard of fusion dance styles but what happens when you throw in a pair of heels?
BollyHeelsTO is founded by Anushya Vijayaraghevan and Indiana Mehta, two South Asian artists who have an extensive background in western and eastern dance styles.
Anushya has an extensive background in teaching Bollywood fusion. She’s fused Bollywood, Hip Hop and Bhangra in her performances and has performed at events such as National WE Day and the Canadian Tire Centre. Indiana is trained in Indian classical and various western dance forms such as jazz, ballet, and contemporary. She has had the opportunity to perform for a Netflix feature film where she’s seen as a principal actor and dancer. Indiana has also performed for the Rose Theatre Brampton, Sun Life, Bell Canada, Scotia Bank Arena and many other prominent venues in the past.
The dance duo has come together to showcase Bollywood fusion in heels while also promoting diversity through their dance group.
In this episode of MAD, BollyHeelsTO shares how important it is to promote diversity by showcasing a range of cultural backgrounds and talents through dance.