AP Dhillon© GettyImages

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: AP Dhillon

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Ananya Shankar

Why he matters: It’s no party without the beats of ‘Brown Munde,’ and there are no ‘Excuses’ for a playlist missing the sultry tunes of ‘Summer High.’ Today, the world grooves to the sound of this Punjabi sensation, who’s proven time and again that good music always finds its own crowd.

It’s unsurprising that Punjabi music officially streams on every platform today and is performed on every stage, right from Coachella to Lollapalooza. But amid the dozens belting out crowd-pleasers to our desi beats, there’s one artiste who stands out, his sound resonating with people from across the globe — Amritpal Singh Dhillon, better known as ‘Brown munda’ AP Dhillon.

An enigmatic Punjabi artist who lives halfway across the world from his homeland, his rise up the charts has been phenomenal since his 2019 debut with ‘Fake’ and ‘Faraar.’ This, despite starting out with no major marketing resources (or Bollywood connections!) and no penchant for oversharing on Instagram. Dhillon is living proof that the right blend of brilliance and diligence can take you places.

AP Dhillon©GettyImages

Being his own biggest critic, his music comprises a certain breadth and depth that few today manage to achieve. And earlier this year, he made history as the first-ever Punjabi artist to perform at the prestigious Juno Awards in Canada.

This Indo-Canadian artist seamlessly blends elements of hip-hop and R&B with his Punjabi vocals to create a new, electrifying sound that’s distinctively his — and the very sound of the diaspora.

“I see myself changing the sound of our music,” the elusive musician shared in a rare interview with Forbes.

Discussing his role as a singer, songwriter, rapper and producer, alongside the goals he’s held from the get-go and his initial failures, Dhillon reflected on his desire to change the sound of Punjabi music worldwide. “My favourite part is creating something out of a single thought and watching it having an impact on the masses...” he added.

The key to his phenomenal success was Dhillon’s fearless experiments with his tracks, also collaborating with other talented artists like Gurinder Gill and Shinda Kahlon. In fact, this revolutionary Run-up Records trio has manifested several chart-topping hits, performing them during ‘The Takeover Tour’ across six cities in India in 2021, with stars like Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt also grooving to their beats uninhibited.

With his latest track, ‘True Stories,’ he’s shone the spotlight on his route to new styles and fresh takes, leaving us in eager anticipation of his next performance, that will be sure to leave us buzzing long after the curtains fall.

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!