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Interviews |  24 May 2016 15:07 |  By RnMTeam

I hope to return to more film projects when I return to Mumbai: Rashid Ali

MUMBAI: We knew him best as the singer who swept the nominations in practically all the music awards in 2008 and 2009 for his chartbusters from 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na'. Then came the deal with A R Rahman when the composer signed on Rashid Ali as the first artiste for his KM Musiq label. For the last few years, Ali has been based in the UK, doing shows and honing his jazz guitar skills. Ali took time off to talk to's Mallika Deb about his musical journey, his inspiration and much more. 

How did ‘Call Me Rashid’ happen?

‘Call Me Rashid’ was an album conceived by A R Rahman. While spending time in London, I happened to play him my original songs which he loved - they were unique with elements of Indian, jazz and international styles and very much centred around one voice and one acoustic guitar. He had listened to a couple of my songs initially and had planned to compose the rest of the album himself but since the body of my work impressed him so much, he let me carry on and finish the album along with another Rahman acolyte, Raqueeb Alam. The album entitled ‘Call Me Rashid’ has my own compositions along with an original arrangement of a folk song from Azerbaijan called ‘Ayriliq’ (meaning separation). This was the first time Rahman ever produced another artist on his own KM Musiq label and since he believed in my talent, he took it upon himself to initiate the idea of this solo album, along with producing and releasing it.

Tell us something about your singing style.

I feel my singing style has a natural fusion element derived from the versatile palette of diverse musical genres both Indian and international that I have and do listen to. I don't think of a particular singer or singing style when I sing. Whatever comes out are the emotions and expressions that I feel at that moment, depending on the song.

What motivates you?

My mother Farida Ali has been my inspiration all the way through. What motivates me is creating music often whilst playing around on the guitar. I like to imagine the tune from start to finish and to come up with unique stuff. Also, the desire to become better through sheer hard work and practice inspires me. But above all, my love for music is the dominant driving force of why I pursue it.

What are your priorities apart from music?

Time is precious and although music takes up most of my time, my two beautiful children are also a huge priority in my life.

Are you working on any commercial projects that you can talk about? 

I am currently doing a UK tour and hope to return to more film projects as well as to more fun and interesting collaborations when I get back to Mumbai. There is also a new and different venture on the cards which I am excited about pursuing.

You have not just performed in India but also internationally. How different is the experience?

International audiences are often accustomed to and enjoy innovative and different genres of music although it is our own Indian audiences that show their gratification more.