Montreal Times - - Front Page - By: Jill Clark / mtl­

An­other Mon­treal artist has made a name for them­selves on in­ter­na­tional level. Bharat Kapoor—known on stage as Mr. Bolly—re­cently per­formed to a 25,000-per­son crowd at de­siFEST in Toronto. Mr. Bolly is an en­er­getic ur­ban artist with rap, R&B, and pop hits, and a self-pro­claimed per­fec­tion­ist when it comes to per­form­ing.

Mr. Bolly cred­its his cre­ative par­ents for his life­long in­ter­est in mu­sic. “They would invite friends over to sing and play drums,” he said. “I was in­flu­enced by their cre­ative­ness. My dad was a chef, and my mom was cre­ative with cloth­ing and de­sign.”

His own mu­si­cal jour­ney be­gan at age 15 while hav­ing fun with friends. Bounc­ing words and rhymes around the room, his friends en­cour­aged him to pur­sue the arts more se­ri­ously. Kapoor was amazed by how clas­sic lan­guage arts—like po­etry—could trans­late into rap.

Kapoor en­rolled at Con­cor­dia Univer­sity for arts. “I wanted to learn more about writ­ing po­etry and English lit­er­a­ture, and public speak­ing,” he said. “These things would help me im­prove as an artist.” He took act­ing classes as well to learn per­for­mance skills.

After Con­cor­dia, Kapoor took time off to travel and “find him­self.” His jour­ney led him to open mic nights and mu­sic gigs around the world. Even­tu­ally, he fol­lowed the arts home. “The more I looked out into the world, the more life brought me back to Mon­treal.”

Through his stud­ies, trav­els, and ca­reer, Kapoor has learned that life doesn’t al­ways lead where you ex­pect it to go. When he re­turned to Mon­treal, he part­nered with Sorin Pave­le­sco to open BTB Mu­sic. Kapoor put his own mu­si­cal pur­suit aside for the pro­duc­tion com­pany. “I lent my tal­ent out to oth­ers that were fur­ther ahead than me,” he said. Kapoor was frus­trated with his own ca­reer, so he turned to writ­ing songs for other artists in­stead.

While run­ning BTB Mu­sic, peo­ple be­came cu­ri­ous of his own tal­ents that had been set aside. “The per­son be­hind the scenes moved to the front,” Kapoor said. Now, Mr. Bolly is work­ing on a hand­ful of ex­cit­ing projects in­clud­ing a mu­sic video and al­bum to be re­leased later this year.

His re­cent suc­cess is the re­sult of years of hard work, and ful­fill­ing his dream of per­form­ing at de­siFEST in Toronto. Mr. Bolly’s song ‘Vic­tory’ is an an­them that pays homage to this jour­ney. de­siFEST is an in­ter­na­tional pro­gram for South Asian artists. While many artists are from Canada, in­ter­na­tional artists are booked as well. Mr. Bolly hoped to per­form at de­siFEST for years, but the or­ga­niz­ers told him that he wasn’t ready yet. This year, de­siFEST con­tacted him and gave him a 7pm time slot. “My road to de­siFEST was very emotional be­cause I wanted to do it many years ago, but I never had the chance to do it,” he said. “I got busy with my own projects, but they were keep­ing an eye on me.”

Mr. Bolly spent weeks pre­par­ing with his col­lab­o­ra­tors, Ch­haya De­wan and Stephen Voyce, who per­formed at de­siFEST with him. Their chem­istry shines when they take the stage. “They loved our per­for­mance,” Kapoor said. It was de­scribed as soul­ful and positive, with lots of en­ergy.

Although Mr. Bolly loves to sing, he loves to per­form even more. “It’s ex­hil­a­rat­ing,” he said. “It makes me feel like a child. It’s like heaven and earth is crash­ing. My in­sides are up­side down. I have but­ter­flies. It’s the ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time.”

Per­form­ing for a crowd the size of de­siFEST is a rush on an­other level. “The adren­a­line takes over. It’s lifechang­ing. I never want it to end,” he said. “After we got off the stage [at de­siFEST] we told each other we want to do this ev­ery day.” He thanks the or­ga­nizer, Sats B, for the op­por­tu­nity. “Toronto gave us a lot of love.”

Mr. Bolly finds his in­spi­ra­tion from Hol­ly­wood and Bol­ly­wood film. “My at­tire and my char­ac­ter is very Bol­ly­wood,” he said. He doesn’t look like a typ­i­cal hip-hop or rap artist. He cites Char­lie Chap­lin and Raj Kapoor as spe­cific in­flu­ences.

When writ­ing his songs, Mr. Bolly draws in­spi­ra­tion from his own life. His hit ‘Vic­tory’ was cre­ated in this way. He took con­trol of his own life to find suc­cess. The an­them ac­cu­rately rep­re­sents his own vic­tory. It’s a les­son many peo­ple need to learn. “Any­thing is pos­si­ble,” he said. “I worked hard at it ev­ery day.”

To listen to Mr. Bolly text ‘bolly’ to 555888. Or watch him live on July 5th at Metro Berri at L’Es­calier and St. Cather­ine East from 9pm on­wards.

Mr. Bolly per­forn­ing at de­siFEST in Toronto

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