AP Dhillon First of a Kind: From sleeping on the streets to selling out arenas

Sweta Gupta
Sweta GuptaAug 21, 2023 | 15:52

AP Dhillon First of a Kind: From sleeping on the streets to selling out arenas

Amid the catchy beats of AP Dhillon's latest track 'With You', Prime Video's documentary series "AP Dhillon: The First Kind" is creating a buzz.

The Indo-Canadian Punjabi singer has unveiled a documentary shedding light on his path to fame, exposing the hidden struggles behind the scenes.

Spanning four parts, the docu-series dives into the world of Amritpal Singh Dhillon, capturing his musical style and journey, from a modest garage studio to the grand stage of Rogers Arena.


The series reveals the subtle struggles faced by individuals on their journey of self-discovery and fame, making it a central theme.

Let's delve into the lesser-known aspects of AP Dhillon's story.

1.    The Genesis of his journey.

  • It kicks off strongly by delving into his journey from semi-rural Punjab to Canada in 2015. 
  • The tale of a desi boy navigating a big Western city, working to establish himself as an immigrant with only two suitcases, unaware of the concept of credit cards.
  •  The 1993 born Dhillon who was a tall and skinny 15-year-old left his hometown of Gurdaspur, Punjab  openly discusses the sensation of being a "fish out of the ocean," during his time as a sales associate at Best Buy.
  • His first night in Victoria led him to sleeping on the streets.

2.    Starting in a garage ft Brown Munde 

  • His initial smash hit, "Brown Munde," caught the hustle and vibe of South Asians globally and resonated deeply in India.
  • Shina Kahlon, Gminxr, and Gurinder Gill, enthusiastic "brown mundes" committed to infusing a fresh vibe of their homeland into their music, remain constants in Dhillon's life, both personally and professionally. 
  • The bond and camaraderie they share are easy to feel, and various scenes depict their shared life stories and youthful enthusiasm to "represent brown people" through their craft, which is heartening. 
  • Observing this crew pooling their limited resources (yes, they started in a garage) to create the viral sensation "Brown Munde," a song designed to be a global anthem for brown folks, is genuinely thrilling. 


All at once, gym-goers and Bollywood stars found themselves grooving to his tunes - a captivating fusion of earthy lyrics and polished beats.

3.    There's always a first time

  • Dhillon known for his unique blend of Punjabi and Western music first familiarized himself with YouTube.
  • His first channel was Run-Up Records with the first track ever called 'Fake'.


  • Some of the most poignant scenes touch on Dhillon's memories of home and the challenges faced by Punjabi families over the years, contributing to the youth exodus from the state.
  • He shares about his grandmother raising him single-handedly, with a touching moment during his India visit post-online fame when he realizes time with her is limited.
  • When he returned to India for The Takeover tour and saw paparazzi at Mumbai airport, it hit him that he had become really famous.
  • It was Literally his first live performance in his short career where even Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh were seen grooving at his Gurugram concert in 2021.



4.    Sidhu Moose Wala and threats

  • A brief scene has him talking to Sidhu Moose Wala on the phone, and he reflects on the impact of Moose Wala's passing. 
  • While the Gurugram concert seems smooth, the show uncovers Dhillon's anxiety due to threats from extortion-seeking gangsters - a side not easily visible on stage.
  • He gets emotional thinking about performing at Vancouver's Rogers Arena and discusses the post-traumatic stress he experienced after facing threats and overwhelming crowds during his India tour.

5.    Behind the glamour

  • Unlike most musicians who follow a common journey to the top-starting with small clubs and theaters before reaching big arenas if they're fortunate-Dhillon leaped from online stardom to playing in front of thousands in his very first show.
  • What truly shines, more than the concerts themselves, is the growing bond between Dhillon and his crew.
  • They pulled up the prep for the Rogers Arena in just a few weeks.
  • Dhillon's frequent partner and fellow member of Run-Up Records, Shinda Kahlon, is a hidden gem who raps and writes lyrics for the music bringing a different vibe to the group.
  • Dhillon and his team organized their North America tour. 

The bigger picture

There's a vibe of "we jumped in without a clue, but we still did it" that carries through, with little moments of genuine openness.

The docu series goes beyond the team's rise to their current status. What truly gives us insight is when he speaks as Amrit, not just AP. We catch glimpses of his doubts, dilemmas, vulnerability, and pressure. 

However, there's room for improvement in delving deeper into 'Amrit.'

"I like Amrit more than AP" he says. "There's AP and there's Amrit. See AP on Insta and Tik Tok. Amrit is like...a regular normal being, you know."

He speaks about his grandmother's significance, growing up with a single parent. Yet, the circumstances of leaving his 'pind' for Canada and why he had to sleep on the streets upon arrival remain unanswered. 

The series does well in showcasing his and his father's emotions. More of that assurance, revealing even stars like AP Dhillon can falter, would have been valuable.

From basement beginnings to foreign land camaraderie, the series portrays Dhillon's struggles, simplicity, and genuine emotions. It captures the journey of uncertainty and dedication that paved the way for his fame.

Last updated: August 21, 2023 | 15:59
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