Ophthalmologist creates a passion for life and practice through his music

May 1, 2008

Inder Paul Singh, MD, thanks his father for introductions to two of his passions-ophthalmology and music. His passion for music takes him to new venues all the time. He is an accomplished keyboardist, composer, producer, bhangra/hip-hop re-mixer, and DJ. He is a member of the Chicago band, Funkadesi.

Inder Paul Singh, MD, thanks his father for introductions to two of his passions-ophthalmology and music. He practices ophthalmology in his hometown, Racine, WI, at The Eye Centers of Racine & Kenosha Ltd., with his father, Dr. Kanwar A. Singh.

His other passion, music, takes him to new venues all the time. He is an accomplished keyboardist, composer, producer, bhangra/hip-hop re-mixer, and DJ. He is a member of the Chicago band, Funkadesi.

Dr. Singh has loved music since he was a child watching his father do Elvis impersonations. "My father did his Elvis impersonation at a big-deal hospital benefit here in Racine," said Dr. Singh. "He was great! He used to blast Elvis throughout the house." The elder Dr. Singh would hold jam sessions on the guitar with the younger Dr. Singh and his older brother.

Dr. Singh credits his high school music teacher for any formal training he's had, but he plays mainly by ear and by feel. "I blossomed, musically, in college," said Dr. Singh. "I discovered that I love to be creative and write music."

He plays the electric keyboard and loves that this instrument's technology allows him to compose different tracks and play them together to produce an entire song in his studio.

His first album, recorded in St. Louis, MO, while he was an undergraduate at Washington University, was titled "Inderspeak." The name was given to him by his friends to refer to his tendency to speak rapidly.

When he was in medical school in Chicago, he went to see a new band called Funkadesi perform. He loved their blend of Indian, Funk, and Reggae. They needed a keyboard player. "I introduced myself and jammed with them at their next rehearsal," said Dr. Singh. He joined them in 1995.

Funkadesi's third album, "Yo Baba," will be released on May 9. Dr. Singh wrote and produced half of the songs on the new album.

The band members' diverse multi-ethnic background and the group's mix of musical genres makes it universally appealing, according to Dr. Singh. "Funkadesi's music is enjoyed all over the world. It bridges cultural, socioeconomic, and religious gaps. Band members are Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims. We don't feel the differences on stage. We are the 'United Nations of bands.' "

The band's website ( http://www.funkadesi.com/) describes them this way: "Funkadesi's one-world sound, roots-watering vision, and positive vibe makes the band a unique and compelling musical force."

Funkadesi, the four-time winner of the Chicago Music Awards, has played all over the country. They performed at a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Barack Obama and quote the presidential hopeful as saying, "Funkadesi really knows how to get a crowd going. I can't say enough how energizing this band is. There's a lot of funk in that desi."

Dr. Singh balances his passion for music with his family and his career. He's a married father of two but finds time to record and write after hours. "My wife understands it's my passion," he said. "I could never let it go."

And his father/boss only worries when a gig keeps him out late. But the younger Dr. Singh will choose to give an ophthalmology talk in Miami even when the band has a concert in Chicago.

"I've been in practice with my father for 4 years, so I'm young. But I think my creative side makes me a better doctor," explained Dr. Singh. "I can communicate, perform, get involved. I appreciate patients' diverse backgrounds."

He thinks that having an interest outside ophthalmology helps patients connect with him. "It really resonates with them," said Dr. Singh.

Dr. Singh likes to listen to all sorts of music, especially fusion styles where different sounds and creative elements come together. Just like in his life, where medicine, music, and family have all blended into a funky beat.