Arts & Expression, South Asian, Music
Vocals, Compositions, Poetry and Lyric Writing, Percussions, Tablas, Dholkis, Nalak
Rup (Rupinder Magon) was born and raised in Montréal, Canada. Raised in a practicing and religious Sikh family, his first experience with music came from the Gurdwara (Sikh Temple). As he was never truly trained in the instrument, by listening to professional ragis, at age six he slowly picked up the tabla. His mother used to regularly sing at the Gurdwara, so he used to help her practice by providing the tabla beat as she sang on her harmonium. Eventually as he played with more people, he learned a freestyle method of playing the instrument and learned different beats from the different ragi jathas that would come to town. His natural progression in tabla lead to always being close to the harmonium. Thus, he learned how to sing hymns on the harmonium, and combined with the piano lessons he had been taking for five years, he was able to learn the instrument rather quickly.
Thanks to his upbringing in Sadh Sangath and guidance of illuminated souls, Rup uses the music medium to share his thoughts of philosophy and spirituality in JoSH’s albums. Rup’s musical influences include Indian ragas, North American mainstream pop music, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Jackson. Pursuing his education in Montréal, Rup completed his bachelor’s degree at Concordia University in Economics. He has been working in the software business for over six years and moved to New York City in 2000. Currently, he works out of New York and Montréal.
As an original member, he along with Shazi Hussain and his brother Rik, began a band called JoSH. JoSH initially started as a band that performed covers of any type of music including popular Punjabi, filmi, kawali or ghazals. JoSH impressed its crowds with its versatility. Rup’s main role in JoSH at that time would be as a back-up singer as well as a percussionist.
Over time, as the group improved its skill set, Rup has become a lead singer, as well as music arranger and co-producer with his partner and best friend, Q. Today JoSH, comprising of q and Rup, has pierced through the difficult mainstream walls and have succeeded to perform with major artists including Sukhbir and Nelly Furtado. Recently, the duo has produced hit remixes for Nelly Furtado’s album ‘Loose’. ‘The Promiscuous Girl’ and ‘Maneater’ ‘JoSH Desi Remixes’ took the music markets by storm, played in the biggest clubs in North America.
Josh released their first album ‘Main Hoon Tanha’ in 2001 and smash hit second album ‘Kabhi’ in 2004 with Universal Music. Their third album is ‘Mausam’, also with Universal Music India, which adds yet another dimension the original JoSH sound and features amazing remixes by none other than Rishi Rish and RDB.
With his musical and business backgrounds, Rup takes care of most of the business dealings with record labels and distributors that JoSH works with. Under the JoSH Entertainment umbrella, JoSH has begun producing several artists that are released in various Indian Music markets around the globe.
Vocals, Compositions, Poetry and Lyric Writing, Guitars, Synths, Drum Programming
q (Qurram Hussain) joined JoSH once the band was already established. They had already done a number of key shows, gaining exposure with the South Asian audiences in Montréal, and were starting to make a name for themselves. q’s arrival only helped to solidify the band and he brought with him a unique perspective on fusion. A product of the 1980s glam rock era, q’s earliest influences include bands such as Guns’n’Roses and Europe.
“I remember listening to these bands and thinking, I could do this. I can be Slash” he recalls.
Those desires faded away to make room for the love of more Alternative vibes such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots. This was also the time when q decided to explore music as an art form and joined an alternative band called “Black eyed Susan” as the lead singer and guitarist. Short lived as that was, it was his first exposure to the thrill of performing music live.
Somewhere along his musical journey, q’s interests started to change and he found himself more and more interested in a variety of musical genres including R&B, Hip Hop, Drum n’ Bass (à la Talvin Singh), and qawwali such as that being created by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The music industry in the United Kingdom was experiencing releases of albums like ‘Anokha: Soundz of the Asian Underground’ and there was a buzz in the industry of what the next interpretation of fusion was going to sound like. In the midst of all this, q was busy finding his own sound, his own interpretation of all his various influences and defining his own art. That gave birth to one of his first compositions for JoSH, ‘Main Hoon Tanha’, which also ended up being the title track for their extremely successful debut album. That spark got the creative juices flowing, and he was able to explore more ideas, eventually ending up with eight songs that defined JoSH’s, ‘Main Hoon Tanha’.
Teaming up with Rup has given q the ability to explore his love for the music arts, and to explore it with a partner that understands him completely. This musical journey has led to the creation of ‘Kabhi’, JoSH’s much-anticipated second album, as well as various other projects including a remix of Grammy winner Nelly Furtado’s latest singles, ‘Promiscuous Girl’ and ‘Maneater’.
“The influences keep changing, the ideas keep evolving. I’m just lucky that I’m able to find the interpretations of all this from time to time and continue making music that I enjoy listening to.”