Born in Chicago to Indian Muslim immigrants, Zeshan Bagewadi found his way to music on two different roads. His parents’ love for the sounds of their homeland gave him a profound exposure to Indo-Pakistani music as a kid. His father, who was one of few journalists in India to cover Black literature and music in the 1960s and ‘70s, was a lover of classic American music, raising Zeshan on the sounds of blues, soul and R&B. As he matured, Zeshan developed a voice that combined the two cultures like few before him. He recorded his debut album, Vetted, with a mix of originals and overlooked deep soul gems—in three different languages (English, Urdu and Punjabi).
Soul classics, love songs, blues, and a civil-rights anthem are performed with an idiomatically Indo-Pakistani feel, with blaring tanpura and harmonium alongside hard grooves, delicate strings and blaring horns. Floating above it all is Zeshan’s powerful voice as he narrates stories of instability, loss, injustice, and unrequited love through the prism of his family’s immigrant experience.
Watch Zeshan B perform LIVE at Paste.