Former railroad worker from Kazakhstan Imanbek Zeykenov – aka DJ Imanbek – on March 15 became the first musician from Kazakhstan to be awarded a Grammy award. He won the Gramophone for Best Remix.
The remix of the single «Roses» by rapper Saint Jhn brought Imanbek a victory at the most prestigious music competition in the world. The remix appeared in March 2019. Later, Imanbek admits that he did it, not fully knowing all the functions of the recording program and working on a whim. Zeykenov did not even change many of the samples, he used settings close to standard in the effects, and he changed the key element of the track, the overstated vocals of Saint Jhn, so that the copyright holders of the original song could not find fault with the copyright.
In the middle of the same year, «Roses» in Imanbek’s version, without any effort on his part, becomes viral on the social network «VKontakte», gradually going beyond the social network, and then outside Russia. The remix becomes a worldwide hit, Zeykenov signs the Russian label Effective Records. By the end of the year, there seems to be no place on earth that doesn’t have the sticky chorus of «Roses».
Imanbek Zeykenov’s attempts to contact the artist on Instagram failed, and he received no response. A remix of this song has appeared on a large number of charts across Europe, including Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. The song version took the third position on the Shazam World Top.
On March 14, 2021, it was announced that Imanbek won the Best Remix nomination at the International Grammy Award.
The prototype of the remix itself was performed by Saint Jhn in the rap style, which today is considered one of the most popular in the world.
The Official Recording Academy’s Guide to the Grammy Awards, published in 2010, said the Best Remix award goes to those who «took previously recorded material and were able to add or modify it enough to create something new and unique». «Roses» in Imanbek’s version fully corresponds to this description: the original Saint Jhn sounds completely different – slower, calmer. After all, it doesn’t look like a dance hit at all. Imanbek really managed to reinvent this track, largely due to the change in the rapper’s voice – as a result, this remix became much more popular than the original. Among the rest of the nominees in this category, it really was the most impressive transformation of the track.
Imanbek became the first Grammy laureate from the post-Soviet countries and, in particular, from the Republic of Kazakhstan. The young laureate’s plans include a further creative career.