My Story. History.

Posted on December 1, 2011


VJ Sanghvi \ V·J Sangh·vi \ noun;

–     Contemporary musician (singer/songwriter) based in London U.K.

–     Full name Vijay .N. Sanghvi, he was born on 7th August 1988 in the Khartoum, Sudan, a country in the north east of Africa, he is the younger of two boys in his family. Having lived in Sudan for four years after birth, his family made the shift from there to a city called Rajkot in the Indian province of Gujarat. This is a place he largely regards as his is home away from home here in London. After two years of residence in Rajkot, the opportunity arose for the family to move once again, this time, to London. ‘Not many memories, if any, remain in my mind from my early childhood and infancy. All I have to click back to those times are old photos and a few vivid recollections of things around me i.e. houses, the surrounding environment and family. However, revisiting Rajkot brings back a feeling of normality and sense of belonging, as if I’d never left.’ Life in London was to be a struggle at first. Having not a word of English in his vocabulary, and a coming from a completely different culture to that of his peers, Vijay found himself in the deep end and slowly drifting from away those around him. ‘One of my first memories of attending school in London is being approached by a girl who was trying to be polite and asked me my name, introducing herself also. I responded in Gujarati, and the look on this girl’s face was priceless! Wide eyed and speechless, her expression spoke volumes as she turned away in shock!!’ This however, did not last long, Vijay’s eagerness and ability to learn and pick up new things enabled him to gain fluency in English and of course, his interpersonal skills. From then on, integration was not a problem, just a new word in his ever growing vocabulary! Fast forward a few years, to about the age of 10 and we get to the business of music. Being from a family of music lovers, the sound waves of music were never too far away from Vijay’s ears. The majority of sounds were of Indian origin; both commercial songs from Bollywood and also religious songs. One thing was for sure though, whichever type of song was playing at the time, was being blasted through the speakers courtesy of his mother and father. If Indian songs weren’t playing, there would be the sound of UK Garage or 90’s hip-hop creeping through the home courtesy of his older brother. ‘The first album we ever bought was the soundtrack from Space Jam the movie, BIG album! Some of the tracks on there are epic and I still have the actual one we bought! Music was always a big thing to us. Indian films are as you may know packed with great tracks, and my family loved the movies just as much as the songs. We never had anybody from the family go into the show business professionally but both my mum and dad have great singing voices and my brother is a keen dancer. Hel also tried his hand at rapping and drumming! A typical and traditional Indian family may frown upon the show business even as a hobby. Our parents are traditional, however they openly encouraged my brother and I to pursue our interests.’ In the summer of 1999, aged 11, Vijay began attending a local vocal school. This introduced him for the first time to the idea of pursuing music as more than just a hobby. During this time, he even picked up a guitar and tried to learn how to play. However, this was short lived as surgery on a broken wrist and rehabilitation there after kept him out of practice for a long period of time and he never went back to it. Vijay’s love for the guitar and its soulful, melodic sound stuck with him always, and this love grew into total admiration when the emergence of Craig David came through the UK music scene. ‘Born to Do It is my absolute favourite album of all time. I could listen to that album from start to finish over and over again and not skip a single track, and sing along to every song. I’m a massive fan of Craig David. His acoustic sessions are iconic to UK vocalists who are coming up and those that have made it. Some may or may not acknowledge that, and some may not know it, but Craig’s music will have influenced them in some way, such was, and is, his status in UK R&B music past and present, and also UK 2-Step Garage.’ Learning from Craig and other artists’ he saw and heard, Vijay began to learn the craft of song writing. ‘At first, it was all pretty rubbish. Songs with a lot of ‘baby this’ and ‘baby that’, who knew back then that come 2010, Justin Bieber would go multi-platinum with a hook solely worded with ‘baby’?! Anyway, I was becoming a copycat writer, trying to imitate the artists I saw on TV and heard on radio.’ Not happy with his own crafts, Vijay decided that writing was not for him and put down his pen to concentrate on singing. In the coming years however, even singing was put on the back burner as studies took over. ‘The only singing being done was in the bathroom and the only pen being put to paper was during class or exams.’ The reigniting of Vijay’s love for music came a few years later after a failed audition for the UK’s X-Factor programme. ‘I’ve always said that I’m not the greatest vocalist in the world, I’m still a work in progress. However, to see participants whose auditions were absolutely horrific get through, and for me to be shunned was a massive kick up the back side. I was definitely far better than those people.’ This experience was all the fuel that Vijay needed to light his fire and propel him back into the musical mind frame. He and his brother, Amit, sprang into action and began making calls. A friend of Amit’s was a producer and agreed to be a part of the project. A meeting later that week was productive and resulted in a listening session of beats, some which Vijay took back with himself. He once again picked up his pen and began to resurrect his song writing, this time with a difference. ‘Having grown up a huge amount from the last time I had been writing, I’d also experienced so much in life, with so many feelings and thoughts attached to those experiences. I drew from these feelings and the first result was a song called Galaxy. From then on is what you see and hear now.’ Galaxy was the first of many well written and well-structured songs from Vijay. Hitting the studio regularly and back into vocal training, Vijay aims very much to transform himself from a work in progress to a model of progression. Expect much from this young musician who has the eyes and ears of many industry professionals fixated on him. ‘I’m very much a person who, in the past, has blended into the background and been forgotten. But I took a long hard look at myself and realised that it’s got me nowhere. My life is my own, and only I can bring success to it. I don’t rely on fate, or that things are meant to be a certain way. I can’t change the past but I can ensure that my today and tomorrow are better than the day before.’

Stay Tuned!!!  


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