Rising Desi Star Master-D is on a Bangla Music Mission

Published May 29th 2015 

Montreal-based producer and musician Subir Dev a.k.a. Master-D has built an impressive career by fusing sounds and ideas. He’s a member of successful South Asian urban-pop trio The Bilz & Kashif, who have released three albums via their own Bilz Music since 2006, has produced music for platinum-selling R&B artists, and even created film scores.

“Throughout these years, my music has developed and evolved without barriers,” summarizes Dev in conversation with TD Music.

Master-D’s fanbase developed right along with him. The Bilz & Kashif became part of the worldwide urban Desi scene through hit songs like "2Step Bhangra” and “On the Dancefloor,” which racked up millions of video views and earned radio play internationally.

Dev says he feels well connected to “fans across the globe,” but he’s also a fan of Montreal.

“The multicultural mix and diversity is just amazing,” says Dev of his home base. “The varieties of talented musicians allow for a lot of experimental music projects. The Desi community, including the Bengali population, is quite small though.”

On a mission to spark what he calls a "Bangla urban movement,” Master-D recently broke out as a solo artist.

“I always wanted to do a Bangla solo album, but was too engrossed in other projects,” explains Dev. “Being part of The Bilz and Kashif, I toured the world, gained a lot of experience and improved my skills in music production. Now it’s time to revolutionize Bangla music. I want the Bengali community to be proud of their culture and at the same time appreciate a new voice for their generation.

“I have been living in North America for many years now, and have noticed that not many Bengalis listen to Bangla music; most of the new generation listens to R&B, hip-hop, and dancehall. So I thought ‘Why not fill that void and make them proud of who they are?’ by creating Bangla music with a trendsetting edge. That’s why I decided to fuse urban with Bangla.”

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Early Master-D singles “Aye Raat” and “DesiChick” were released independently and earned online adoration as well as radio play in Canada, the U.S., Bangladesh, the U.K. and beyond. Based on this interest, Universal Music India signed Master-D and will release his debut solo album later this year.

“My sound just took off in the Bangla community, and when Universal took a listen to the album, they were surprised as they had never heard anything like the ‘Urban Bangla’ songs before,” says Dev. “It is a dream to be signed to a major label for any artist and for me it feels like a great step toward the revolution of Bangla music.”

Master-D’s first single for Universal, “Tension-Stress” featuring vocalist Bohemia, is out now, with second single “Phenomenal” soon to follow.

First, he’ll appear in Toronto at the ninth annual desiFEST, presented by TD and taking place Saturday May 30 from 11am to 11pm at Yonge-Dundas Square. The free concert features more than 20 artists, also including desiFEST founder and host Sathish Bala a.k.a. SatsB.