In Canada: Diljit Dosanjh Makes Punjabi Music History at Vancouver’s BC Place

On Saturday night (April 27), Vancouver witnessed Diljit Dosanjh make history. The artist kicked off his Dil-Luminati tour with a sold-out stadium show at BC Place to a crowd of 54,000 people — making it the largest ever Punjabi music concert outside of India.

The show leaned into its historic accomplishment, with an ominous voice preceding Diljit Dosanjh’s entry, “Remember, firsts are always special and what you witness here will never be repeated.”

In over two decades in the music and film industry, Dosanjh has solidified himself as a global star. Last year, he was the first Indian-born Punjabi singer to perform at Coachella and has recently made strides for international music amassing hundreds of millions of streams on collaborative tracks with Sia, Saweetie and Camilo respectively. More recently, Dosanjh is fresh off the critical acclaim of his performance of the titular Amar Singh Chamkila, a Bollywood biopic about the life and death of the controversial Punjabi singer who was killed at the height of his fame in 1988.


With anticipation palpable in the air, Dosanjh delivered a high-powered 27-song set with charisma and an undeniable star-power that easily captivated the record-breaking audience. It was an unabashed celebration of Punjabi music and culture.

The artist has a deep connection to Vancouver. Several of his popular Punjabi films that accelerated his career like Jatt and Juliet and Honsla Rakh were filmed across Greater Vancouver, making this moment that much more special for fans who have been longtime supporters far before his recent international successes. 

“Now, Punjabis have made it to stadiums,” Dosanjh said. “The next generation won’t be able to say that this has never happened before. Now for generations to come, our kids can dream even bigger.”

During his performance of “Vibe,” the singer scooped up a young fan from the crowd who was dressed in signature Diljit Dosanjh attire, inviting him to dance with him. As the boy, understandably intimidated by the size of the crowd in front him, got more comfortable, he broke into dance himself. It was his hopes for the next generation coming to life right in front of him — a child who can now literally see himself on stage performing for a stadium of fans. 

Dosanjh’s tour continues with arena dates in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Los Angeles and more, and another stadium date at Toronto’s Rogers Centre on July 13. – Jeevan Sangha


Rising Canadian Stars Chani Nattan and Owen Riegling Make International Moves 

Punjabi powerhouse lyricist Chani Nattan is the next signing to Warner Music Canada and Warner Music India’s joint venture, 91 North Records. Nattan will join fellow Punjabi-Canadian artists Karan Aujla, Jonita Gandhi and AR Paisley on the label, which was created to support South Asian artists.

Born and raised in Surrey, B.C., Nattan has already broken through to Punjabi music audiences around the world. In 2021, Nattan teamed up with Inderpal Moga and released “Daku” — a heady Punjabi hip-hop track that has garnered 247 million views on YouTube, and became one of the most streamed songs on Spotify India. With Sukha and Punjabi singer Gurlez Akhtar, Nattan’s “8 Asle” sparked a viral TikTok dance trend and charted on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.


Nattan marks the signing with the release of his new song “Facetime,” alongside frequent collaborator Inderpal Moga and iconic Punjabi singer Miss Pooja.

Nattan uses a traditional Punjabi duet style, typically consisting of a playful back and forth between a quarreling couple. “Facetime” blends those old-school Punjabi vibes with the hip-hop elements that he is so heavily influenced by, Nattan tells Billboard Canada.

“The beats are different but the heart and soul of it maintains the sound of Punjab and its concepts,” he says. “It’s about honouring our roots while embracing the evolution of our music.”

Meanwhile, Canadian-based management and production company Workshop Music Group has announced a new partnership with talent representation company The Familie to co-manage rising young country singer-songwriter Owen Riegling. The Familie’s client roster includes Machine Gun Kelly and Avril Lavigne and it recently launched a country music division.

Now boasting over 50M global streams for his songs, Riegling won the 2022 Emerging Artists Showcase at the CanCountry mega-fest Boots & Hearts, then signed his record deal with Universal Music Canada. Last year he was selected for Apple Music’s UpNext Program and is now part of Spotify’s Hot Country Artists To Watch and Amazon Canada’s Breakthrough Artists to Watch 2024. – Jeevan Sanha & Kerry Doole


Toronto Chinese Restaurant Gets a Boost from Kendrick Lamar’s Namedrop

Toronto caught a few strays in Kendrick Lamar’s “Euphoria,” the first of two diss tracks aimed at hometown star Drake. While listing all the things he hates about Drizzy, Kendrick takes a moment to slip into an exaggerated Toronto accent complete with local slang and a surprising reference to a popular late-night Chinatown restaurant: “I be at New Ho King eatin’ fried rice with a dip sauce and a blammy, crodie,” he raps.

CityNews spoke to New Ho King owner Johnny Lu for a TV segment. Playing him the track, they get his live reaction to the nametrack: “I see, Kendrick’s a good guy. Oh my God!” he says.


CityNews also caught up with residents who are fans of Kendrick who made trips just to give the fried rice dish a try. “I came all the way from Markham just to see this fried rice,” one says. “Kendrick Lamar, man. You gotta pay respect to K. Dot, man. Ever since he dropped the diss track I was like, ‘I gotta visit this place.’”

The reference may have had a darker meaning than just fried rice, with some fans believing it was a sly reference to Drake’s 2009 armed robbery. Toronto rapper Sizzlac, who was rumoured to be part of the robbery, once filmed a music video at New Ho King, which may be how the restaurant hit Kendrick’s radar. But New Ho King is reaping the rewards. Since the track dropped, New Ho King has been showered with five-star reviews on Google and Yelp. – Richard Trapunski

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