In a war torn spot like Kashmir where we are just used to the sounds of guns, what inspired you to be part of the world of music?
The inspiration came up from the love we all have towards Kashmir.We have such a beautiful culture and language, this always made me do something that represents us. Indeed our literature and poetry in every way is wonderful. It was since my childhood I was very much interested in the sufi poetry and music we have in Kashmir. It was surprising to many when people were seeing a 10 year old kid sitting in a gathering where sufiyana music was being played. I know understanding that is very difficult but there was some mystic connection inside. I mean that is the age when kids play with toys but for me the preferences were little different. I was the kid who tried hard to understand those beautiful lines. So I think all this was connected since then.
What was the hardest thing you went through regarding your desire to be a singer?
Life is always hard but you need to be hardest.Alhamdulillah the hardwork is paying off. There have been so many things I have come across now I am confused which one to share. So yes it was the time when I moved to Pune for the studies that was the toughest phase. I was just 16 at the time and because of having limited resources and being away from your hometown and family it was so difficult. I used to travel 30kms one side everyday by the local bus and eat after 24 hours which was dinner to dinner. Getting up by 6, catching the bus then college, walk 6 kms to guitar class.No one knew that I was going to guitar class I don’t know if my family would have approved my guitar classes. After guitar class I had to walk 6 more kms to catch the bus and travel 30kms towards home. But I never complained. I think it was the faith that kept me going,I knew that hard work will payoff one day. Then I completed my graduation in computer sciences thanks to my brother who helped me through that phase financially and mentally as well. I was looking out to pursue MBA but then my mother was diagnosed of tumour. That time I was left alone and broken. So to help out the financial condition I started a job with an IT company, the salary was not much that I could help out the family but it was enough for my own survival, so this was the time when i thought of getting into music.The salary helped me to reach out to other artists and venues. I got into local gig scene, started saving money and then Tamannacame up. So yes these are the things and struggle mode is still on. I love what I am doing, inshallah you will be hearing more music from me. And it has been the support from everyone, my family, friends all of my fans and followers that I have been able to keep going.
What was the response of your family when they first came to know about your music?
There were mixed reactions. But your family are the people who love you more than anyone. So yes they are a bit insecure about choosing art, music as full time career. But when you are contributing in a good way and you are standing out for your land, culture, tradition,I think that gives them a little bit of comfort.
How do you feel when you sing and people applaud?
That is the best feeling ever. I have been always thankful to almighty Allah and always felt it as a blessing that people have accepted my music in a good way. And seeing people singing with you on your tunes, that is the best feeling.
What are your main inspirations and influences?
Talking about inspirations, you are best inspiration for yourself. You look at your past and decide the future. And your skills, dedication, hardwork and faith, all these dots must be connected if you want to keep going and want to be successful.
The amazing thing that’s ever happened to you while working on a song?
I was recording the song baalmaraeyo in last Ramadhan. The studio guy called me to record the vocals and I was fasting,I thought let’s give a try and see if I could record.And you won’t believe I completed the whole track in just one and a half hour, and it was perfect.
If you could be in a room with any person for the rest of your lifetime, who would it be and why?
I will choose my grandpa, no other person, just him and me. There is so much literature and knowledge I have come to know from him. And there is some different kind of feeling when you sit with him it’s like you will love to keep listening and don’t say anything, just keep listening for hours. His company makes you stress free and you get to know so many things.
If you could have the absolute attention of everyone on the earth for three minutes, what would you say?
I will say make peace and love each other. We have been made from same soil so let’s not make it harder, let’s make it fertile and sow the seeds of love and humanity.
If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?
I wouldn’t like to brag about myself but I will say more than anything I am a kind of person thatI love them back equally as much they do. So wherever they see me they can come up and talk. And for the sake of this love I will keep serving all of you with my music. Your love will never stop me doing what i am doing.
What do you feel is the best song you’ve ever released and why?
I think the best is yet to come. I believe each and every composition has its own beauty. I love my music so I feel like I can’t compare and judge my music into songs. I’ll say there is equal amount of attention, dedication, hardwork and time paid to the every single song.Hopefully each and every song has got good number of listeners too.
If the people of your motherland had to accept one of your suggestions, what would it be?
Good question.We have got so much of talent in every field whether sports or art but these youngsters are afraid to stand out because the problem is they feel they will be criticised or bullied.So we must appreciate if anyone is doing something good. Nowadays it’s changing. And it starts from your family, relatives, your friends, these people are very important in anyone’s life, atleast these people must learn to appreciate good and stop finding faults. I have seen sometimes the criticism level is so bad that it gets changed into hate. There is difference in criticism and hate. It’s alright if you are criticising but let’s not hate.
What do you look forward to in the next five years?
Inshallah you will be listening more of my music. I will be insha Allah coming up with an album, some singles and some more collaborations.
The Interview Was First Published On Kashmir Ink (A Greater Kashmir Publication)