Steven Kapur, better known by the stage name Apache Indian, is a UK vocalist and reggae DJ. He is noted for a distinctive vocal style that is a ...
fusion of Asian, West Indian and English cultural elements. Apache Indian was one of the earliest UK artists of Asian origin to make an impact on the UK charts with a series of hits during the nineties. Born into a family of Indian origins, Kapur was born and grew up in Handsworth, West Midlands, a racially mixed area with large Black and Asian communities, home of reggae bands such as Steel Pulse, and by the early 1980s he was working with local sound systems and wearing dreadlocks. By the mid-1980s he had trimmed his hair and began to make a name for himself as a dancehall deejay, and he recorded his first single in 1990, "Movie Over India", initially a white-label pressing, until it was picked up by the reggae distributor Jet Star. The single mixed ragga and bhangra and was hugely popular among audiences of both genres. Two further singles followed in a similar vein, "Chok There" and "Don Raja", bringing him to the attention of the major labels, and in 1992 he signed a recording contract with Island Records.
With the collaboration of his cousins Simon & Diamond (Diamond aka DJ Swami), he introduced the new hybrid sound of bhangra raggamuffin – also known as bhangramuffin – to the world with his first album No Reservations, recorded in Jamaica and produced by Simon & Diamond, Phil Chill, Robert Livingston, Bobby Digital and Sly Dunbar) in 1993. It was followed by Make Way for the Indian, (produced by Sly & Robbie, The Press, Mafia & Fluxy, Pandit Dineysh and Chris Lane), which featured rapper Tim Dog and spawned the hit, "Boom Shack-A-Lak". By 1997 he had been dropped by Island and his next album, Real People / Wild East (produced by Harjinder Boparai) proved to be his most experimental album, and also featured more Indian elements than the other albums. In his heyday, he also made an appearance in the Tamil film, Love Birds, dancing alongside Prabhu Deva.
Lyrically, Apache Indian usually sings in Jamaican patois, and is known for his sharp social criticism – ("Arranged Marriage" featuring Natacha Atlas; "Mention") as well as his party tracks ("Boom Shack-A-Lak", "Jump Up").
Apache Indian has recorded with Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, Wreckx 'n' Effect, UB40, the United States chart topper Sean Paul, Maxi Priest, General Levy, Brian and Tony Gold, Shaggy, Yami Bolo, Boy George, A. R. Rahman, Sameera Singh, Asha Bhosle and Pras of the Fugees, Malkit Singh, Davinder Singh, Kaptain Laadi and, more recently, with Jazzy B (self proclaimed as the Crown Prince of Bhangra) on the album Dil Luteya and Aman Hayer on the album Groundshaker II. He has also recorded a song with Mukhtar Sahota on the album 4 The Muzik, with backing vocals from Am'nico. The most recent collaboration he did was with Mirza Mc on the track, "Lick 2 Shotz", on the album, Ruff n Ready.
Reggae singer Sean Paul, who has been on the top of Billboard charts with his single with Beyoncé Knowles, toured the U.S. with Apache Indian.
For his first album No Reservation, he had signed a recording contract worth £250,000 with Island Records – one of the largest sums paid for a debut album by a non-white artist.
"Boomshackalack" was featured in five different Hollywood movies, including Dumb and Dumber. It is also featured on the soundtrack for Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, along with artists such as Fatboy Slim, The B-52's, 2 Unlimited and New Radicals.
His single "Om Namaha Shivaya" features on the Putumayo World Music compilation album, World Reggae which is a collection of reggae tracks performed by artists from around the world.
Apache Indian was also nominated for the Central Britain Media and Arts Asian Jewel Award in 2004.
Apache Indian is not fluent but can speak a few words of Punjabi, which makes his collaborations with Bhangra artists a regular endeavour. Two of the productions on Sadhu – The Movement which featured Alisha Chinai were produced by DJ Fricktion.
Apache Indian has also been involved with numerous multicultural initiatives, such as appearing on stage as special international guest performer at Toronto's Dundas Square as part of the 'desiFest' May 2008 South Asian Heritage Month celebration, Canada's Wonderland 'Canadian-Indian Music Festival' July 2011 and Toronto 6 degrees club's 'Luv to Bhang' 5 year anniversary July 2013.
Kapur has collaborated with the South Asian pop artist Rebecca Nazz and Canadian producer Vikas Kohli of Fatlabs on the song "Indian Boy".
Apache Indian's latest music video was shot at Apache's bar "Cham Cham Mirza Mc featuring Apache Indian" The song is from the album Mirza Mc Wicked n Wild.
Apache Indian is poised to release a new album titled IiWiI (It is What it Is) in 2013, collaborating with Canadian pop singer Raghav on vocals and legendary producer Jim Beanz.