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After Jay Sean and Juggy D, itís time for Veronica, the Rishi Rich Projectís only female member, to release her debut album. On a promotional visit to India the singer-songwriter talks to The Record about her brand new album, making it in the music industry, doing her own graffiti and more. And if you ever wondered who takes longer to get dressed, Jay, Juggy or VeronicaÖ we got her to tell on that too!

The Record: Tell us about your debut album Theen.
Veronica: The sound is basically a mixture between the East and West. In two words, itís Ďurban desií Ė so its R & B, hip-hop, and pop mixed with bhangra and traditional vibes.

TR: Do you have any favourites off the album?
Veronica: Iíve got so many! Hey Ya, Dil Lagiya, Sitarey, Sajna - Iím just going down the whole list. [Laughs] Sitarey is very deep lyrically and was written about somebody very close to me. Iíve performed it live on the BBC Asian Network. I went down with Rishi and he played live keys and I sang and people are really digging that song. This is actually an exclusive because Iíve never said this was such a personal song before. [Laughs]

TR: Being a new artist, were you determined to direct the sound of your debut album?
Veronica: Absolutely! Iím really lucky to have found a record company that believed in me so I can be free and they just put you in the studio and let you create what you feel. Thatís the best way to do it really, instead of having all these restrictions like ĎYou canít have a pop sound, or a bhangra sound or whateverí. Going into the studio with a free mind was really important. It was a mutual thing before I got involved with the project. They knew that this is how I want to take it so it worked out great.

TR: The song Indian Girl is interesting. Tell us more about it.
Veronica: We used a sample from Yeh Vada Raha in it. Itís one of my favourite songs and we integrated that into the track. Lyrically itís really about how I feel Iíve struggled as an Asian female in this industry, in the music business. Itís not all as glamorous as it looks, there have been hardships, and itís about how Iím just going to get through it and just hold my head up high, and kind of just aim for the sky.

TR: Was that like having two strikes against you Ė being Asian and being female?
Veronica: Yeah absolutely! I would agree. If I was a guy then it would have made it easier. Because people look at you and go, ĎOh sheís a girl whatís she going to do?í or ĎYouíre not supposed to be here, you should be at homeí. Or ĎYou should have a different kind of profession but it shouldnít be musicíÖ So yeah if I was a guy it would have been a different case.
Itís gotten a bit better now. Itís not something you think about because you donít think the prejudice will be there but you get into the market and think ĎWhy do I keep getting doors shut in my face?í I had to work harder.

TR: How did you get people to take you seriously?
Veronica: I produce my own music, Iíve co-produced my whole album, Iíve done lots of writing, not just for myself. Iíve written on Jay Seanís Stolen, which charted at number 4 on the UK charts, so that was very good grounding for myself. Then Iíve been on [the Rishi Rich Project song from] the movie Hum Tum which sold like 5 million copies and I was on Kya Kool Hai Hum as well. So all these things add to what youíve done and make a difference. You feel proud that youíve finally got to this step with your achievements. On the Asian network my album was number one for two weeks and I am the first Asian girl to get that slot ever! So that was, oh my God, itís such an achievement! And hopefully Iím opening doors for other female artists like myself.

You can read the rest of our feature on Veronica in the July 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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