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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Britney goes bhangra for comeback
Britney Spears
Britney Spears is hoping to reinvent herself again
Britney Spears has turned to Indian bhangra rhythms for her comeback song out later this year.

The song features Spears singing and rapping over music and rhythms from rural India and has been remixed by British Asian producer Rishi Rich - himself celebrating a top 20 hit in the UK this month with Dance With You (Nachna Tere Naal).

Rich has previously remixed songs for Westlife, Ricky Martin and Craig David.

"The Britney song came to me as a really commercial pop song," Rich told BBC World Service's The Music Biz programme.

"The song was great, but what I sent back to them is a real street edge with a bit of Asian influence."

Reinvented Britney

The Indian influence is the latest change for Spears, who has previously gone from pop princess in pigtails to sex kitten.

Craig David
Rich persuaded Craig David to sing in Punjabi on a successful remix
Spears - who has had a year off to reinvent herself - is described as being "over the moon" with the record.

"I actually didn't want to put too much Asian in it, because I wasn't sure what they wanted," Rich said.

"Steve Lunt, who was the A&R for the records in New York, just went 'we want more, just put all in - we'd rather you put it all in, then we can take little bits out'."

"That's what he wanted - he wanted the full Asian thing."

Rich said that while bhangra had been established in the UK for a while, it has only just begun influencing music in the US and therefore Spears would be seen as at the cutting edge of musical change there.

"Bhangra in America has just kicked off, and it's not as big as it is here," Rich said.

"People are loving the sounds and they want that sound."

Passing phase?

Rich added that he felt the demand from music bosses for bhangra-flavoured hits was a response to the huge amount of manufactured music dominating the mainstream.

Mis-teeq dropped Rich's work from their last album
"If I step back from the industry, I'm sick of all this Pop Idol/ Fame Academy stuff because it's all just bland music," he said.

"I think that you need something that is going to be more innovative. I think just generally if you mix Asian music - with Egyptian music or Spanish music or pop music - you get a different sound.

"I think that's what people are looking for now. Gareth Gates' new single is like a Spanish song - it's an R&B kind of thing because people are looking for something different now."

While bhangra's recent explosion into the UK mainstream may not last, Rich is simply happy it is now getting the exposure and airplay it deserves.

"A year ago I did a bhangra track for Mis-teeq - but it didn't go on the album," he said.

"I bet the record company are regretting that now. But at the time it wasn't happening.

"It could be a passing phase, but for me I'm not worried because I know that's not just what I do."

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