Affectionately known as ‘The Singing Policeman’, Kulbinder Rai was born in the Punjab and came over to England at the age of nine. His father passed away when he was 12, and as a youngster he helped to support his family by taking up a job as a paper boy, doing two rounds in the morning and two in the evening.
After college, he became an aerospace engineer and started working part-time as a special constable in 1994, where he earned three medals for his outstanding contribution to the police force including a Queen’s Gold Jubilee medal in 2002, a Long Service medal in 2004 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
He was married in 1977, and is a father-of-two. His passion for Punjabi Bhangra music led him to start singing professionally, and he released his debut album titled ‘Khangoora’ in March 2008. This contained a mixture of duets and solos, then ‘Mr Singh’ was released in 2009 with just solo tracks. He has also released three separate singles in consecutive years from 2011-2013.
Kulbinder has recorded two songs in Mumbai with a live 20 piece orchestra which was a dream come true; one single has already been released and the other is due out before Christmas. He has also sung with huge names in Asian music such as Sukhshinder Shinda, Jazzy B, Nirmal Sidhu, Raghav and Rafakat Ali Khan to name but a few.
In 2009 his wife Sukhninder was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and after a year and a half battling the disease, she unfortunately passed away. During her illness, Kulbinder wrote an emotive love song to tell her how much she meant to him and what it would mean to lose her. This inspired him to get involved in charity work, and he decided to use his music to raise money for organisations that help those affected by cancer.
Over the years, he has raised a substantial amount for a number of good causes including Cancer Research UK, Loros and Macmillan Cancer Support, and all of the proceeds from his second album and new single ‘Rohb’ went to Cancer Research UK. After ‘Mr Singh’ he decided to give 25%-30% of his performance fees away, which soon changed to 50% and has sometimes even been 100%, and Kulbinder often turned down huge gigs with big names to perform at charity concerts.
Now that he is concentrating wholly on his music, he has dreams of launching a career in Bollywood, and is planning to return to India later this year. His songs attract a wide range of people, with both Asian and non-Asian audiences who appreciate the international language of the music. He has performed all over the world, from Paris to Vancouver, and has sung at many different types of events in both the UK and abroad.
Kulbinder writes some of his songs, and has songwriters to assist him and arrange the final compositions. He has also worked with some of the top producers & directors in the Punjabi Music Industry, such as, Kuljit Bhamra, Nirmal Sidhu and Kam Frantic. He has now given up his job as an aerospace engineer and will be retiring from the police force in the upcoming weeks, and he has an exciting venture this year with a new single out later in 2014.