Composer Ricky Kej is well known for his compositions for film, advertising, world fusion, global chillout, and new age recordings. His music has appeared on nearly 100 compilations from all over the world.
Born in North Carolina, Kej moved to India when he was quite young. Music was not his first pursuit; indeed, he didn't begin to pursue it until he was in his twenties. He studied dentistry in college and began playing guitar in rock bands. Though he graduated as a Dental Surgeon, he moved directly from that career path toward music.
Kej's initial successes in music were in the advertising field. He produced over 3,000 jingles during and immediately after college, landing spots with Levis, Air India, Blaupunkt, Microsoft, and dozens of others.
His debut album, 2003's Communicative Art: Lounge from the Bay, was successful after various tracks appeared on nearly two-dozen international compilation albums.
Kej issued his breakthrough second and third albums, Kamasutra Lounge: Music for Seduction, Vol. 1, in 2008 and its follow-up, Kamasutra Lounge, Vol. 2 in 2008, for Water Music. These recordings, a seamless blend of Indian folk and Bollywood-style music wed to new age and global chill electronic music, made him an in-demand producer and composer. That same year, he wrote his first film score for Accident. His second and third scores for Venkata in Sankata and Crazy Kutumba appeared in 2010. The same year he was nominated for an award at the Cannes Film Festival for his jingle for Nike.
In 2011, his score for Ondu Rupayalli Eradu Preethi was released and he issued his debut album for Virgin India, entitled Fiery Drums, immediately followed by Mesmerizing Flute and Santoor. Their popularity with club audiences and new age internet radio raised his profile even further. Music from both albums was used in film and television in Europe and Asia. That same year, he produced, arranged and mastered Bollywood Remixed: Indian Film Dance Grooves for Water.
2012 proved a watershed year for Kej. He issued two well-received albums in Punjabi in the Club and Bollywood in the Club, and was named India Rules - Artist" by VH1 for his video "Arabian Sea." He also composed and released "Jaya Hain Kannada Thaye," a song for an Indian wildlife conservation video. The tune became a wildly popular anthem in Kanataka.
Kej founded his own label, Raveolution Studios, in early 2013. Its first release was a deluxe edition of Kamasutra Lounge, but it was followed by the new recording Shanti Orchestra and its single, "Forever," which won him a Hollywood Media Award in the New Age category. Fiery Drums 2 and Ballad of Maya followed the same year.
In 2014, Kej spent much of his time working on advertising jingles, appearing as a judge and guest presenter on Indian television programs; he released Winds of Samsara in collaboration South African flutist Wouter Kellerman. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi