A Calgary musician bumped Drake out of the iTunes Top 10 album chart in Canada earlier this month, but he’s making an even bigger splash in India.
Neal Chatha, who goes by the stage name The PropheC, dropped his latest album The Season on Thursday. It entered the iTunes Canadian Album Chart at number 10, which put him just below artists such as Avril Lavigne and Ariana Grande, and ahead of Drake.
But the album found an even bigger audience in India – the country where his father was born. It topped the iTunes album charts there for several days.
Growing up in Calgary, PropheC’s father saw some musical talent in his son, and enrolled him in classical Indian voice lessons at the age of five.
“For the first 10-12 years of my life, I was just in the classical Indian world,” he said. “Once I came to junior high, I learned about hip hop.”
He ended up mashing those two genres together, and he describes his style now as The Weeknd meets Bollywood.
“I’d say it’s kind of like a huge mish-mash of my parents coming to this country,” he said. “It’s a clash of those two sounds.”
PropheC got his degree in marketing in 2015, but once that was completed, he threw himself into music full time, and it has paid off.
In the past few years, he’s seen much of the world, performing in clubs or larger venues to as many as 6,000 people.
“I’ve been across Canada, US, India, UK Norway, Germany – everywhere except Australia, which hopefully will be later this year,” he said.
His latest album features 13 tracks, all of which he wrote and recorded himself. He also just released the first music video to go with the album.
The only other musician on the album is his father. The man who started PropheC on his current career path.
PropheC said the album was written after a breakup, and he channeled that emotion into his songwriting.
“I wanted to put all those emotions into that album,” he said. “This is why a lot of people connected to it. It’s kind of what they’re all going through as well.”
He said his team talked him into adding some more up-beat tracks after they heard the first cut, and the result has so far been a hit with fans.
Hearing feedback from fans is easy. He counts over half a million followers on various social media platforms, and his music videos have chalked up several million views.
PropheC has just built a new home studio, where he writes and records all his own tracks.
“I record mostly out of there, but I do go for mastering,” he said. “I’ll go to London to finish my records, or I’ll go to Toronto.”
He has worked with Universal Music and Sony on certain tracks, but remains independent for now.
“I kind of prefer working on an independent basis. You have more control and you don’t have people calling you all day telling you that you have to make this kind of music. You have your creative freedom.”
Although he says some fans have recognized him on the street in Calgary, he has yet to do a show in his hometown. It’s something he hopes to do later this year.
While his career takes him around the world, he said he loves returning to Calgary each time.
“I feel like I’m leading two lives where I go out, live my dreams, be PropheC for a day, and them I come back and I’m just Neal, walking my dog down the street.”