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Former Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara to Executive Produce Indian American Musician Zeshan B’s New Album

Former Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara to Executive Produce Indian American Musician Zeshan B’s New Album

  • Like his previous albums, “O Say, Can You See” delves with political and social-justice topics along with elements of classical, jazz and Urdu music.

Indian American singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and recording artist Zeshan Bagewadi, known professionally as Zeshan B, has teamed up with Preet Bharara for his forthcoming third album “O Say, Can You See” The former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York is executive producing the album to be released on June 26. Variety describes it as a melange of “political and social-justice topics along with elements of classical, jazz and Urdu music.” It takes on “a more-refined perspective,” the entertainment portal adds, crediting it to Zeshan’s friendship with Bharara. The two are said to have first met in early 2022.

Bharara agreed to come on board the new album because the 36-year-old musician has a voice that is just out of this world,” he told Variety. “All this other stuff is great, but it’s undergirded with his magical, transporting voice and musicianship.” He decided “to get involved in Zeshan’s career after seeing him perform at a book launch event.” He was “just floored by the music, his voice, and the message in those songs.”

The songs in “O Say, Can You See” were written in “the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, the 2020 election, the January 6th insurrection, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” the 36-year-old told Variety. He credited Bharara for teaching him about the justice system. He said he “always admired” Bharara, even before they met, “because I felt that he embodies something important.” He has always “fought for justice, and has paid the cost for it,” Zeshan said of Bharara. And according to him, “That’s really the measure of someone: if you’re willing to speak the truth and do the right things, even when it doesn’t suit you.”

Zeshan’s rendition of Bill Withers’ 1972 classic “Lean on Me,” helped him get accepted as lead of “this entirely Black gospel group” in high school.

Before he met the former federal prosecutor, Zeshan felt “a lot of rage over all the things that are going on in the world,” he told Variety. While his earlier albums were “a sort of sophomoric way of channeling that rage,” his “discussions and interactions with Bharara made him realize that “yes, it sucks for people of color, but it also sucks for everybody right now. Everyone’s hurting, everyone’s feeling the loss of something, there’s an enormous income gap, and the big problem is climate change.” So with “O See, Can You See?” he “tried to craft things that were more universal”

Bharara, who is a partner at law firm WilmerHale, currently hosts two podcasts — “Stay Tuned” and “Café Insider.” The highly regarded lawyer, who was dubbed as “one of the most consequential prosecutors in American history” by The New Yorker, focuses on investigations and criminal litigation matters. He was nominated by President Obama in May 2009 to become the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. His nomination was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate in August 2009. While serving as U.S. Attorney from 2009 to 2017—one of the longest-serving appointments in the history of the SDNY—he oversaw more than 200 Assistant US Attorneys, who handled cases involving civil rights violations, cybercrime, domestic and international terrorism, financial fraud, gang violence, narcotics and arms trafficking, organized crime, and public corruption.

Zeshan grew up listening to both Indian and American music around the house. He told Variety that through all the “R&B, jazz, gospel,” his parents found “a creative solution to a challenging medical condition Zeshan had as a boy.” “It’s called echolalia, which is when you compulsively repeat things that people have said,” the Chicago native explained to Variety.  “It was problematic in many ways, but my parents found a way to socially reward me for it because it turned out that I could imitate singing.” His rendition of Bill Withers’ 1972 classic “Lean on Me,” helped him get accepted as lead of “this entirely Black gospel group” in high school, he said. 

See Also

His breakout album “Vetted” was released in April 2017 “to commercial and critical acclaim with the album debuting at #8 on Billboard’s Top 10 Albums (World Music) and peaking at #1 on iTunes’ World Music chart,” according to his website. His hit single from the album “Cryin in the Streets” “has garnered praise from several media outlets for its musical finesse as well as its relevance in America’s current socio-political climate.”

He made his US television debut in August 2017, “with a rendition of his hit single, “Crying in the Streets” on CBS’s Late Night w/ Stephen Colbert,” and was followed by his PBS NewsHour special (“Groovin’ for Change”).  Since then, he has made frequent appearances at iconic music venues and has performed for two U.S. Presidents — Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he appeared with his wife Dr. Alexandra Roybal on MSNBC Morning Joe to shed light on COVID’s impact on minorities and musicians. This was followed by the May 2020 release of his album, “Melismatic”. In 2022 and 2023, he n completed artist residencies both at the Doris Duke Shangri-La Museum in Honolulu and at Lincoln Center. He currently bounces back and forth between Chicago and New York. 

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