Responsible for launching the career of transatlantic R&B star Jay Sean, British Punjabi songwriter and producer Rishi Rich is perhaps the most influential figure on the U.K. Asian pop scene. Born Rishpal Singh Rekhi in Croydon, London, he began playing various classical Indian instruments from a young age, landed a job as a runner in a recording studio at 11, and signed a record deal with his friend just two years later under the guise of 2Kool, who released several albums before disbanding in 1997. After forming the duo VR1 with soul singer Veronica, he signed a solo deal with Bally Sagoo's Ishq Records label and released his debut LP, Simply Rich in 2002, which earned rave reviews for its unique fusion of contemporary R&B and bhangra. He continued to develop his innovative sound on Hindi remixes of various pop singles, and after penning hits for Mis-Teeq and Craig David, he discovered former doctor Jay Sean, who sent him a demo of one of his early tracks. In 2003, he teamed up with the singer and Juggy D under the name of the Rishi Rish Project to score his first U.K. Top 40 single, "Dance with You," and a year later produced the former's debut album, Me Against Myself. In 2006 he released his collaborative sophomore outing, The Project, and soon after developed his own production company with entertainment entrepreneur Waleed Jahangir, which went onto develop artists like H-Dhami, Mumzy Stranger, and Veronica Mehta, while in 2009 he was given a special "Commitment to the Scene" accolade at the Asian Music Awards. ~ Jon O'Brien
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