(Original Photo By: Austin Heppler)
A lot of times we hear the phrase “it’s in your blood” when it comes to a talent or ability that comes naturally to someone. The same can be said for Sanjoy Deb or, better known by his stage name, Sanjoy. Coming from an extremely musical family and background, it was easy for Sanjoy to learn the ropes and find himself well versed in the art of music. After becoming well acquainted with percussion instruments at the ripe age of four, he slowly built his repertoire into the electronic side of the industry.
Coming to the United States was a difficult adjustment for 11-year-old Sanjoy. Moving all the way from Bangladesh where he had already faced a number of societal struggles, to a new country with an entirely different culture was a lot to handle. Luckily, Sanjoy was able to use a laptop he was given as a gift to channel his thoughts and begin creating the sound we know him as today.
“Bangladesh is a Muslim country. We were not Muslim so we faced struggles at an early age. I wasn’t accepted in my friend groups. I went through it at a very young age there and again when I moved here because I was really a social wallflower. I didn’t know how to speak English properly when I moved here. I didn’t wear clothes like the kids did here, I didn’t listen to the music, etc., so I was put into a corner and felt very isolated. I’m really glad that I didn’t deal with any depression then when I know there are a lot of kids that do. I used music as my outlet.”
Since then, Sanjoy has been taking in every single moment and experiencing it to the fullest. From remixes here and there making their way out into the college party culture, all the way to producing music for Bollywood films, the young artist has absorbed every opportunity and influence he has been given in order to create the perfect sound.
Although, creating the sound he thinks fits perfectly is only half the battle. For Sanjoy, establishing a fanbase that really connects with him is one of the biggest obstacles an artist can face.
“Getting people who can relate to you, how they can relate to you, and things like that can be a struggle. It’s really more of just me figuring out how I can be a relatable artist outside of my music. When people hear my music, they should know it’s mine, but they should also connect to my music and me on a personal level. So how can I find that one thing that someone can latch onto? That ‘something’ is different for every person too.”
One of the ways Sanjoy intends to reach people on a level higher than the music itself is by calling in some of the heavy hitters in the industry for both inspiration and the learning experience it would offer. With hopes to one day work with artists such as Skrillex, Diplo, and other role models like Slumdog Millionaire producer, A.R. Rahman, Sanjoy could one day expand his music all over the world.
“I think my music is very peaceful and positive, and I would like to use that to spread peace and positivity in the world as much as possible. Mixing cultures as well. I would like to see more people bringing their cultures together.
…The electronic industry needs someone they can relate to. They need a face for where I come from— there aren’t too many of us. I was actually the only artist from Bangladesh at Miami Music Week. I would like to be a role model for people. The industry needs a figure they can relate to and say ‘okay this is the face of my music’ or the ‘voice of my music.’ I would love to be that person for them.”
As Sanjoy sculpts the message of his brand and continues to work on how that translates to his fanbase, the effect he has already had is tremendous— even from day one. Little did he know that at one of his very first shows, he conjured a connection that would follow them all the way through his career so far.
“I played Purdue University six years ago, which was one of my first shows outside of California. When I played there, there was this guy who asked a girl to dance to one of my songs at that event. I played at an Indian royal wedding this spring 2016 and there he was, six years later with the same girl. We took the same picture we did that first night and he tweeted it to me saying ‘six years then and now’ or something like that.
That’s a memory someone has attached to me and my music. That’s one of the best gifts an artist can ask for because I just want to make people happy. When they can feel the same thing that I felt when I was making the song it’s amazing. I’m not there to explain the song to someone so when they can actually get it, it’s amazing because it just shows the power that music has. As an artist you have the power to make that connection and I think that’s a blessing.”
Stories like this are the ones that often keep us going. Things rarely come easily when we chase our dreams, so it is truly these small moments of joy that make it all worthwhile.