Mandeep Dhillon: Being a music artist is healing

Image Source, Sequoia Emmanuelle

illustrate, Mandeep Dhillon recorded and released her first song in just over a year

  • author, Lehman and Manish Pandey
  • Role, BBC Asia Network

If you search for Mandeep Dhillon’s work, you’ll find a wealth of performance work.

Ricky Gervais’s Afterlife, Peacock, Sidestep and the recently concluded CSI: Vegas.

But now she’s turning her creativity into something different.

After releasing his new song Roll It Up, Mandeep told BBC Asia that being described as a musical artist “feels really good”.

“Ask seven-year-old Mandeep what she wants to do and she will definitely become a musical artist.

“But then I obviously went into acting, which is great and I’m enjoying my career so far,” she said.

“Let yourself feel pleasure and pain”

The desire for music was always there, and she describes Roll It Up as a “deep song” that is very personal.

“I’ve been through a lot in my life, a lot of pain in my life. So being able to turn that into art is great.”

“Roll It Up” is about a loved one’s near-death experience, Mandeep said.

“Many of my friends are dealing with mental health and addiction issues. I’ve seen this so closely…even myself, I’ve dealt with addiction issues in the past.

“But it’s a whole process to go through and work through your trauma and heal your inner child,” she said.

Image Source, Getty Images

illustrate, Mandeep plays Sandy in “Afterlife”

The song, she said, is “a story for this person… to let them know that no matter what I throw at you, I will always be there for you.”

“I hope people understand it.”

When asked about her own experience, Mandeep said she was “happy to share” but it was a “long story” to be told later.

“When people listen to my EP, they might understand…”

Mandeep said she chose it as a storytelling medium because she “loves it and it’s been healing.”

“I’ve always written about bars or poetry,” she said. “This has always been a way for me to express my feelings.

“Music has the power to heal. I feel like it’s the most global language in the world.

“Music has been healing for me. So I pray it heals others too.”

Pursuing a new musical path can be quite daunting, but Mandeep said she felt a sense of faith in a “higher power.”

“If I didn’t have faith in God, I think my experience would be very different. The only thing I can describe is God’s plan for me.”

Image Source, Getty Images

illustrate, “I probably annoy everyone on set because I’m always singing, rapping, and writing songs.”

Mandeep says she has taken a lot of musical influences.

“I love Bollywood stuff, so you will find [that] In many of my melodies, I don’t even realize it.

“I love Punjabi music, Bhangra. And I grew up listening to Bashment and Dancehall, and in the last 10 years, I love Afrobeat music… I love all kinds of wonderful music.

“Even Celine Dion,” she added.

Mandeep is originally from Hertfordshire and now lives in Los Angeles. But returning to the UK has made her feel more connected to her British Asian identity.

“I was surrounded by people who were similar to me, with the same upbringing, the same stories, the same identity crisis,” she said.

“It was nice to see myself walking around the city with a group of people.

“I feel like this is happening more and more on screen and in music, in all forms of art.

“I think there are more of us, or maybe people with power, who are more willing to let us finally tell our stories.”

For those hearing her music for the first time, Mandeep has a message.

“Have fun,” she said.

“Allow yourself to feel whatever you want, whether you feel happy, sad, in pain…I hope this makes you feel as human as possible.”

Listen to Ankur Desai’s show live on BBC Asia Network Monday to Thursday from 15:00-18:00 – or listen here.

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