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News |  12 May 2018 13:00 |  By RnMTeam

That performance with AR Rahman changed my life: Jeffrey Iqbal

MUMBAI: Knowing of an America born and bred, who is fascinated by Indian music, makes an Indian proud. Jeffrey Iqbal is one such prolific artiste, based out of Big Apple city and engaging with Indian Music.

When asked what inspired him to engage with Indian Music, Jeffery exclaims, “I can’t really describe what it was. I assume it was my environment. My parents were big Ghazal and Qawwali fans and they took me to see some of the legends in these genres. Watching artists like Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh, Zakir Hussain, Nusarat Fateh Ali Khan Sahib, and the list goes on. My older siblings also took interest and learned classical and light music, which also inspired me.”

Thereon Jeffrey began his journey and exploration of Indian Music. “I have been lucky to sit and learn with many amazing teachers and singers. All of which have thought me bits and pieces of what I know and what I do. Much of what I have learned is also by observing. I have had basic Hindustani Classical training but haven't gone in the deep like many of my peers. I think that by not getting too deep, I have been able to think outside the box and not hold on to any one style but rather look at music as emotion rather than technical,” shares the singer.

He is inspired by many Indian singers and musicians, as he says, “There are so many amazing people that have dedicated their life to their craft and I would say that I look up to them. The usual names come to mind like Shankar Mahadevan, AR Rahman, Vishal-Shekhar, and the list can go on and on. These people have touched the world with their heart and emotion in the form of song. I look forward to do more of the same.”

Jeffrey Iqbal had a chance that most of the Indian based singers can only dream of, he performed live with the maestro A R Rahman, In 2007, Jeffrey was selected by A R Rahman -- the Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy award winning composer of Slumdog Millionaire -- during a televised talent search to appear on Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, an experience he recounts with extreme fondness. “It was amazing. He was very calming and down to earth. That performance with A R Rahman changed my life. I realized then that being on stage is something I was born to do. I had a dream at that very moment. That one day, I would be in an arena like that one and all those people would be there to see me. I've been fortunate to have glimpses of that dream come true by having my own concerts around the world, but the best is still yet to come, and I absolutely cannot wait.” This appearance and selection made him the first America born artiste to represent USA on the most prestigious South Asian-televised singing competition. 

A pro at mash-ups and covers, Jeffrey recently did mash-ups for Dil Diyan Gallan and Halka Halka Suroor, which was shot in Thailand and India both. “While in Thailand, we shot many upcoming and now released music. Between my mash-ups and original songs, you will soon see the fruits of my teams’ hard work. My most recent mash-up of Dil Diyan Gallan and Halka Halka Suroor had some shots of Thailand, but mostly shots of India.”

Speaking of future, the singer says humbly, “I think my dream is to just touch people’s lives and spread happiness and love with music. Singing for big movies and working with the greats will always be something I would love to do, but in the meantime, I will work on my own music independently and take control of my destiny. I am excited to work with other producers, directors, composers and music directors.”