Sometimes it’s hard not to get jealous, the key being to remind oneself that some folks arrive in this world with built-in overachiever buttons.
Take Avkash Mann. When he’s based in Vancouver, which is roughly half the year, he’s able to do the kind of things that most of us take for granted: hit a Starbucks without everyone pointing and whispering or renew his license at the Motor Vehicle Branch without having to sign autographs for a solid hour. The singer-songwriter’s formative years saw him splitting time between Canada and India, that eventually culminating with a stint at Langley Fine Arts School and post-secondary education at University of Toronto.
In India, however, Mann is well on his way to becoming a genuine Punjabi pop star royalty, with this past July’s “Tere Vaaste” having racked up a whopping 12.1 million views.
There’s a good argument to be made that he was genetically blessed for success. After immigrating to Canada and settling in Toronto, his father Harbhajan Mann started performing for Hogtown’s South Asian community as a highschooler. Blessed with movie-star looks and charisma, Harbhajan Mann turned his sights on India with the release of a debut album, Chithiye Nee Chithiye, in 1992, its success leading him to break into and conquer movies. Since then, he’s played everywhere from London’s Wembley Arena to the New Zealand’s Vodofone Centre.
Avkash Mann is proof that sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Not content with conquering one continent, Mann launched a second career as an English artist with last year’s “Away”. He's now seriously focussing on North America with a new single called “Dreams”. Think unapologetically breezy acoustic folk-pop for those lucky enough to believe that, if you stand back and look at things, the world really isn’t so bad.
Especially if you’re lucky enough to be travelling the province with a bestie and a guitar, driving the streets of Vancouver in a vintage convertible, and hanging out in clubs where you can’t throw Tommy without hitting a pinball machine.
In his media release for “Dreams”, Mann suggests that his ultimate dream is to try and make the world a better place by bringing folks together: “We’re living in the age of globalization where people more and more are identifying with different cultures, languages, and music. And I want people to know they don’t have to be boxed into just one thing. It’s a very fluid era that we’re living in now, and I want the people who hear my music to be inspired and motivated to be who they want to be, and to not allow someone else’s label to define who they are or how they express themselves.”
Try not to be jealous, if for no other reason than Mann looks like the kind of guy who'd probably be happy for you if you had the good fortune to be him.