While growing up in an underprivileged household in Orange County, California, singer/songwriter/dancer/choreographer Bobby Newberry was a starry-eyed kid who idolised popstars like Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna, and grooved to their tunes.
“I always wanted to be an artiste. A lot of parents put their kids into classes because they think they should, but in my case, I was the one who wanted to do it! I started dancing by myself in the room and made it all happen,” he exclaims.
But like in India, where kids are expected to have ‘stable jobs’, he too was told to pursue something else. “Though my mom thought I was talented, my grandmother was like, ‘no, you need to be a doctor or have a real career. This isn’t real. It’s a hard life and a lot of people don’t make it’,” he recalls. “But you know what? I felt that anything hard or great or amazing in life is going to be difficult to get. Otherwise, wouldn’t everyone do it?” he wonders.
Bobby’s folks sure are a proud lot today as the multi-talented artiste has choreographed for the biggest names in showbiz like Beyonce, Eminem and Nicki Minaj over the years, in addition to releasing a successful EP, #THENEWBERRYSPECIAL.
His guest vocals on Pussycat Dolls singer Melody Thorton’s acoustic cover of La Roux’s ‘Bulletproof’ were much-appreciated too, and his singles like ‘Sweat’ and ‘Flight to Paris’ had the dancing world sit up and take notice of his innovative moves.
When in India recently for the shoot of his video ‘Chance’, he says that he hasn’t “met nicer people in my entire life.”
“It has always been a dream of mine to come to India and now that I am here, it is just incredible. Shooting for the video was just magical. It was an overwhelming feeling and I thought I was going to cry because it was surreal,” he says.
Featuring reality TV personality Divya Agarwal and actor Garry, ‘Chance’ was directed by Faisal Miya Photuwale and released by The Bucketlist Films.
“Faisal was like a father figure and working with The Bucketlist Films was the best experience in my life. Everyone was so professional, and the quality was so amazing. It was like we were brought together for a reason and this is the story of a beautiful relationship. It’s a beautiful piece of work and I am proud of it. My plan now is to collaborate with more Hindi artistes, do some visuals and video work, and have fun while I am at it.”
As someone who has performed everywhere be it Europe, Thailand, China, Japan, United States, Mexico or Russia, Bobby says India has been the most amazing place so far and he isn’t saying so just because he is here!
“Wherever you go, it’s all about the people you meet and I am so blessed to have met some amazing people here.”
To most of the world, India spells song and dance and for Bobby too, it’s no different. Expressing his wish to work in Indian films and with Indian artistes, he says, “I’d love to work with Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan. They have got a great vibe and I love the way they dance.”
Even as his Bollywood dream is slowly materialising, Bobby has worked with some of the biggest names in the West. Ask him about his favourite and he says each one is a gem. “I am so blessed to be surrounded by greatness. Be it Missy Elliott, Eminem or Nicky Minaj, I respect all these people as artistes and love watching up close how they work,” he says.
Having been a choreographer too on much-watched shows like ‘America’s Got Talent’, ‘The X-Factor’ and ‘Dancing With The Stars’, Bobby says glamour apart, there are many difficult days in the show business.
“Dancing is a very physical activity and, there are times when you are really run down and your body hurts but you just can’t sleep. But the very fact that I enjoy what I do makes it worth it.”