Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Photo courtesy Harman Dulay

JUNO Awards 2021: Rising docuseries

By Rachneet Randhawa, March 23 2021—

As affiliated with the JUNO Awards, Rising takes a unique look at the process of creating music and the role it plays in overcoming challenges. One of the feature profiles was Fateh Singh — also known by his stage name Fateh DOE. He is a Toronto-based Canadian rapper, songwriter and music producer of South Asian descent. His genre melds Punjabi and Hip-Hop culture and has emerged from a movement of artists hailing from Brampton, Ontario, and around the world who are fusing hip-hop and other world and popular music genres.

Originally having grown up in California, he later relocated to Canada to actively pursue his rapping career. Those early days experimenting with instrumentals whilst mixing various tracks shaped his adoration for not only the spoken word vibe of music but also hip-hop culture. He recalls being given support through his family at a young age. For instance, he was encouraged by being given a recording microphone, turntables, rap albums and being taken to the studio on field trips growing up. This is uplifting as he mentions how the South Asian diaspora stereotypically tends not to support and invest in the arts for their children as immigrants who face an incredible amount of struggle to ensure their survival.

Forging his own path despite the lack of South Asian representation in the media and the adverse obstacle of having no role models from a similar background, he persevered. He claims the “wave of exposure” he experienced in Brampton including becoming immersed in Punjabi culture — like truly learning the language — allowed him to realize that there were many first-generation youths like him who enjoyed a diverse palate of music including the combining of bhangra rhythm with rap. It was a coming-of-age fusion he had to heed to.

Unfortunately, despite his early success, he did not find he received the support he would have expected, especially from his own cultural community. Surprisingly, it reached a point in which the way his image was portrayed in the mainstream media was not accepted. He was usually being overlooked in music video placements simply because it was not the look that would sell. Of course, he fought back and garnered clout to the point where they set a new precedent by rebranding in a way that still felt true and authentic to his persona. At the end of the day, the backlash from cyberbullying only made him more resilient. He claims the turning point was when he became serious and dedicated to his goal to solely focus on pursuing a rap/singing career. It was then he came across Dr. Zeus, a British-Indian super-producer who guided him and ultimately changed the game for him. The launch of Singh’s debut album Bring it Home ignited his immediate gain to recognition and fostered the best of both worlds blending the Punjabi language with the intricacies of hip-hop and rap instrumentation. It was here he found his one-of-a-kind and yet extraordinary voice and identity. I recall discovering the artist’s music a handful of years ago and knew his music would garner recognition. 


Interested in learning more? Check out the full recording of the Rising docuseries here. The JUNO Awards 2021 are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year and are set to officially stream on March 27.


Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet