NEW YORK – After two years of success, Urban Desi is back this year with a new and improved conference, followed by the most awaited desi concert in New York City.
The two-day event, presented by Saavn, will have some new features this year, including a formal gala night with all the guests of the concert and conference, private workshops with dancers and musicians and a pop up shop before the concert.
This year’s conference will not only feature panels with desi musicians but also South Asian leaders in technology, entertainment, business, marketing, education, philanthropy, art and fitness covering eight topics including: A Woman’s World; Made in New York; Entrepreneurship & Start-Ups; Philanthropy and Nonprofits; Health, Fitness & Wellness; The YouTube Frenzy; The Audible Image: Music and Digital Streaming and KALAKAAR: The Desi Artist.
The gala will take place after the conference, on Thursday, March 29, at the Kimmel Center at New York University, and will feature Terry Mardi, the man who coined the term “Urban Desi,” as the keynote speaker.
The pop up shop before the concert, on March 30, at Irving Plaza, will feature Urban Desi designers like Roots Gear, Atif Ateeq, Babbu the Painter and Badal Patel while DJ Sharad and Rohit Sharma will bring out the music before the show.
The concert will bring back artists like Amar Sandhu, Pranna, Fateh, Samica, and Saavn’s Artist Originals (AO) hitmakers Raxstar, The PropheC, and Zack Knight. It will also see new artists such as Sonna Rele, Bambi, Jaz Dhami, Bohemia, Kamal Raja, and Arjun.
Arjun will be performing his debut album in America for the first time.
“I’m really looking forward to finally be performing at the Urban Desi Conference in New York. Year on year it’s becoming a more important and influential event for the South Asian youth in the U.S., giving a top line up of entertainment and inspirational speakers,” Arjun said, at a press conference on Wednesday, March 28.
“This year’s event is even more special for me personally as I share my debut album Closer To Home with fans at UDC for the first time,” he added.
Dhami told News India Times that he is looking forward to perform on the UDC stage this year.
Dhami became a musician when he was 9-years-old and has been making music for the past 10 years.
“The biggest thing I have done so far is the song “High Heels” with Kareena Kapoor,” he said.
Dhami has also been trained in Indian classical music though his beats are Urban Desi.
The concert will also feature local singer Neel Shah who decided to give up his full time job in Data Analytics and become a singer.
Shah has been singing since he was three and won a karaoke competition at the age of 15, “that was like a wakeup call since I won against other contestants who were from India.”
Shah likes singing old Bollywood classics, especially songs of Mohammed Rafi.
The Urban Desi Concert and Conference was started in 2016 by Monty Kataria and Abhinav Chintakunta in association with Urban Asian and Brown Girl magazine and is presented by Saavn, Aleria Arts and Seth Studios.
“The culture and community of the South Asian or Desi diaspora is so vibrant and relevant that we had to bring it all together. This is our third consecutive year and we’re just getting started,” Kataria said.
The conference and gala will be held at New York University’s Kimmel Center on Thursday, March 29 while the concert will be held at Irving Plaza the following day.