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Ricky Kej becomes first Indian American to be nominated for a Grammy in the New Age Album category

Born in North Carolina, Kej now lives in Bengaluru.

By The American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: The North Carolina born, Indian American composer and music producer Ricky Kej, 33, who is now settled in Bengaluru, has been nominated for a Grammy Award at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for his album Winds of Samsara, a collaboration with South African flutist Wouter Kellerman.

Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman
Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman

Kej and Kellerman have been nominated in the Best New Age Album category. Winds of Samsara, Kej’s 14th studio album, had made a debut at #1 on the US Billboard New Age Albums Chart earlier in the year in August, marking the first time an Indian-origin musician had made the cut in the category.

The album also peaked at #1 on the Zone Music Reporter Top 100 Radio Airplay Chart in the month of July.

Kej, whose parents are of Punjabi and Marwari origin, had moved back with his parents to Bengaluru when he was eight years old. He is an American citizen. Though he has composed the soundtrack for five feature films in the Kannada language, and is credited with over 3,000 placements for radio and television jingles, he is best known for composing the music for the 2011 Cricket World Cup opening ceremony, held at Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Winds-Of-Samsara-CoverWinds of Samsara was recorded over two years by Kej with over 120 musicians from five continents. The album weaves themes of world peace. It also spotlights the musical, cultural and political connections between India and South Africa from Mahatma Gandhi to Nelson Mandela.

“It is especially a proud moment for me to be nominated for a Grammy and to go down in history with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Enya and Enigma. It is exhilarating to represent my country in such a respectable forum.,” said Kej in a statement.

“This album is a dream come true for me, as it has challenged us as artists to push borders and to have the one common thread truly be the universal language of music. A recognition such as this humbles me and motivates me to continue spreading the message of peace and harmony through my music” he added.

The Grammy awards will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 8.