A multi-hyphenate music luminary: Badshah. Live in Concert at Ovo Arena, Wembley London


The tour currently named Badshah Live will include a performance on 25th November 2023 at the Ovo Arena in Wembley. Badshah is one of the most influential and pioneering figures in the South Asian music landscape. He is currently the 4th most followed Indian artist on Spotify and is ranked #57 on the global list with over 16 million monthly listeners. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Badshah is on a mission to propel the global domination of Indian pop and hip hop, rapper, producer, mentor and entrepreneur – Badshah is a history maker! From farmlands to stardom, Badshah embodies the quintessential rags-to-riches dream, becoming one of the most successful generational artists while building a culturally rich empire that has made him one of the most bankable names in the Indian music industry.

Today he is one the most sought-after creative powerhouses that every label owner or film producer turns to when they need a guaranteed hit, a festival hot seller who appeals to the multitudes and a trendsetter who has influenced and set a template for a whole new generation of aspiring rappers.

Before he assumed the stage name Badshah, the now-iconic music juggernaut was once a civil engineer in Haryana. Badshah’s real name is Aditya Prateek Singh Sisodia. He was raised in a middle-class Punjabi home in New Delhi – his father worked in a government office while his mother was a school teacher. A math nerd at school, he spent a lot of his early teens devising alternative proofs for classic theorems, or performing DIY physics experiments, or honing his entrepreneurial skills with a comics lending business out of his bedroom or designing sneakers.

During his late teenage years, he took to Asian underground sounds of the U.K. whilst studying at PEC University Of Technology, Chandigarh. He adopted his first ever rap pseudonym ‘MC Cool Equal’ which was one half of ‘Northern Clique’, a band he created with a college companion. Post university, he continued to fuel his passion for music. He spent the daytime toiling away at a civil engineering job and at nights he would be busy recording in the studio which eventually led him to the discovery of Mafia Mundeer.

A few years later after going independent, he broke out of the Punjabi rap underground with a sleeper hit ‘Saturday Saturday’ (2012), a party anthem for urban India. After a string of Bollywood hits – including the house party favourite ‘Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai’ (2014) and the club banger ‘Aaj Raat Ka Scene’ (2015) – he released his debut major label single ‘DJ Waley Babu’ (2015). The track climbed to the No. 1 spot on the Indian iTunes chart in 24 hours and was named one of the ten most successful non-English songs in the world by Consequence Of Sound, anchoring his dominance in the desi rap circuit and making him a torchbearer of the new-age Bollywood sound. The music video for ‘DJ Waley Babu’ and subsequent releases such as ‘2 Many Girls’ (2015) and ‘Kar Gayi Chull’ (2016) successfully tapped into the escapist yearnings of a new aspirational generation of upwardly mobile, brand-conscious andunabashedly hedonistic young people.

Like most celebrities, Badshah witnessed his highs and lows in equal proportion. After a barrage of emotional setbacks, including battling clinical depression and a severe anxiety disorder, his evolution as an artist truly shone through with the release of ‘O.N.E.’ (2018), ‘The Power Of Dreams Of A Kid’ (2020) and his 2021 singles ‘Genda Phool’ and ‘Paani Paani’ which ascended to the No. 1 spot on the Global YouTube Music Videos Chart. He shied away from his formulaic musical style of bonafide club bangers and bared his soul with gut-punch authenticity as he re-engaged with other emerging hip hop artists from the scene.

In 2021, he delivered a colossal hit ‘Jugnu’ which was supplementarily used by YouTube for the launch of YT Shorts, making him the world’s second artist after BTS to get this unique sync. He premiered another smasher thereafter in the form of collaboration with internet sensation Sahdev Dirdo on ‘Bachpan Ka Pyaar’ which scaled to the No. 1 spot on Global YouTube Music Videos Chart. Later that year, he got signed to global music giant Universal Music Group and released the global trilingual superhit ‘Voodoo’ featuring J Balvin and Tainy which got noteworthily got integrated for the AirPods Pro 2 launch and FIFA 23 as well as got featured on the Formula 1 playlist. Subsequently, the insanely gifted pop-rap behemoth also collaborated with Mikey McCleary on the celebratory song ‘Bachke Rehna Re Baba’ from the action-packed Netflix film ‘Red Notice’

The music titan’s succeeding EPs ‘Retropanda’ (2022) and ‘3 A.M. Sessions’ (2023) further reinforced his detour from his foot-stomping party anthems and highlighted his musical reinvention as he experimented with nostalgic old-world charm, synthwave and paid homage to the lilting melodies of ’90s Bollywood and Indipop.

From a decade-spanning music career with over 500 stadium shows under his touring repertoire, the Delhi-born music mogul’s film contributions have undoubtedly propelled him to a league of his own. His string of film credits include ‘Kapoor & Sons’, ‘Sultan’, ‘Baar Baar Dekho’, ‘Dabanng’, ‘Dhakaad’, ‘Veere Di Wedding’, ‘Saaho’, ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, ‘Shivaay’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’, ‘ABCD’, ‘Khoobsurat’ amongst others.

With a long-term vision to sample Indian sounds to western audiences and champion the dominance of Indian music in the international music industry, Badshah, who’s worked with most of Bollywood’s elite has been at the forefront of the cross-cultural exchange programme and has collaborated with global heavyweights such as J Balvin, Tainy, Sean Paul, Major Lazer, Diplo, Tiesto, Lil Baby, Mikey McCleary amongst others.

Badshah’s ability to fuse contemporary production with traditional Indian soundscapes to create anthemic and experimental records, has helped him garner admiration, respect and an unparalleled fandom among artists, stakeholders and audiences throughout the vast diaspora of India and the South Asian community across the world.

As someone who’s regarded as an establishment of sorts, Badshah continues to maintain an underdog status and keeps his creative appetite alive.

Named as one of the most influential contemporary Indian artists by GQ and Forbes, Badshah is the only Indian artist to have achieved 18 different chartbusters with more than 300 million video views each on YouTube, including: ‘Jugnu’, ‘Bachpan Ka Pyaar’, ‘Paani Paani’, ‘Genda Phool’, ‘She Move It Like’,

‘Paagal Kala Chashma’, ‘Heartless’, ‘DJ Waley Babu’, ‘Garmi’ and ‘Mercy’, breaking several chart-records such as Billboard Global 200, YouTube Music Video Charts, BBC Asian Network Charts along the way.

Based on combined annual video views on YouTube, the 38-year-old music powerhouse was acknowledged by music rights data platform Blokur in 2021, as the world’s No. 1 songwriter on YouTube with over 15 billion views on YouTube, establishing his sovereign reign in the pop-rap realm.

Owing to his unprecedented success, popular reality shows such as MTV Hustle (2022) and India’s Got Talent (2022,2023) empanelled him as a judge, UAE World ILT20 tournament (2023) collaborated with him for the league’s official anthem ‘Halla Halla’ as well as for the opening ceremony performance and Genies aligned with him for a global campaign (2022) aimed at personalized celebrity digital avatars for the metaverse. In 2022, Amazon miniTV onboarded him for a special appearance on their marquee title and India’s first court of comedy ‘Case Toh Banta Hai’.

On the brand front, he’s been an ambassador for Ajio (2022) and FairPlay (2023). He’s also created brand anthems for Yamaha RayZR (2016), Hitachi I-Clean (2016), Tuborg OPEN (2017), Pepsi Check My Fizz (2019), Discovery+ India (2021), Tata Play Binge (2023), Royal Stag Boombox (2023) and The Jameson (2023).

An avid connoisseur of all things pop culture, the stylish tastemaker has invested in exciting ventures that allow him to expand his interests and influence beyond music, including a luxury streetwear clothing line ‘Badfit’ (2017), a stake in franchise-based sports league ‘Ultimate Kho Kho’ (2022) and cricket fantasy league ‘Crickpe’ (2023) among other ventures.

While he stays fiercely guarded about his private life as well his philanthropic endeavours, Badshah is also widely loved for his generosity, honesty and humility, having contributed towards multiple social causes including welfare and upliftment of women and children.

Sitting pretty at the top of the Indian music pyramid, by virtue of his laser focussed work ethic and cult following, Badshah is now gearing up for a greater undertaking. As someone who credits The Weeknd, Backstreet Boys and Drake as his musical influences, Badshah’s end goal is to partake in the advocacy and the supremacy of Indian music on global territories.

Badshah said, “It’s always heartwarming to connect with my fans. I’ve always wanted to take my music far and wide. I want to give my audiences something new everytime so they have fun and relish the music and I want to reach more of our global audiences. I can’t wait to be back to spread some love and good vibes at my upcoming arena show!”

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