DJ Imanbek has officially become the first Grammy winner from Kazakhstan and from the former Soviet Union in general, outside the classical and choral categories.
The 20-year old Imanbek Zeyekenov is from northern region of Kazakhstan, a small town called Aksu. He has been engaged to music production since 2017 when he was 16. While studying at a railroad college in Kazakhstan and working in rail transport, he continued being dedicated to his hobby.
In March 2019, the young music producer released an unofficial remix on Saint Jhn’s “Roses”, and in the span of a year, the song organically spread organically within the Russian speaking audience in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and then reached global music charts in Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, India, Sweden and promptly became number one on Shazam worldwide.
Based on the success of the remix, the original track, which was recorded in 2016, appeared again on the US Billboard chart and the UK Singles Chart. Today the “Roses Remix” has more than 1 billion streams on Spotify and 235 million views on the Saint Jhn’s official YouTube channel, beating the original song’s performance.
Imanbek was nominated in the ‘Best Remix’ category for the Grammys last November and over the weekend, his remix of “Roses” was announced as the winner of the Grammy Award.
In his acceptance speech, the Kazakh artist expressed his gratitude, “Thanks my mom, thanks my Dad, thanks my team, thanks my label Effective Records, thanks my manager Kirill. Thanks Grammy!‘. Later he said on his Instagram:’The best thing for a musician is to get a Grammy, we made it!”
Since the release of that remix, the artist has gone on to work with David Guetta, Afrojack, Don Diablo, Zara Larsson and Rita Ora, with whom he released an EP Bang earlier this year.
There is no doubt that Imanbek is an inspiration for many young musicians to follow their own passion no matter where they come from and what the circumstances are. Listen to his “Roses” remix below: