Mangaluru: Upakara, the Kannada song sung by Javed Ali, the hit Bollywood playback singer and Archana Ravi, for Sandalwood’s 2016 hit film release ‘Shivalinga’, brought Javed’s hitherto rarely heard husky voice and its racy, but easily hummable tune and thumping beat into the drawing rooms of Kannadigas around the world.
Born and brought up in Delhi, Ali started singing with his dad — a popular qawwali singer, Ustad Hamid Hussain. Javed is a student of the famous Ghazal singer Ghulam Ali who not only guided him but also gave him a chance to sing. Christened Javed Hussain, he changed his name to Javed Ali in honor of his Guru.
From jingles and title tracks for TV soaps, Javed gradually moved to films. He has been singing for Hindi movies since 2000. He shot to fame in 2007 when he sang the song Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein (Music : Pritam Chakraborty) from the movie Naqaab and thereafter had another hit like Jashn-E-Bahaara from the movie Jodhaa Akbar(2008). He has done very well for himself in combination with Music Maestro A. R. Rehman.
Recently, he performed at the City’s premier mall, Forum Fiza Mall, and wowed the sizeable crowd of youngsters that gathered there. Oh! How they loved his music. One could see it in their reactions and anticipation.
After the show, Javed spoke exclusively to News Karnataka’s Special Correspondent, on a wide range of issues related to the music industry and told her, how music is moving towards monotony among other things.
Here are some excerpts from the interview
1. You really did something special when you sang the song ‘Upakara’ for the hit kannada film Shivalinga starring Shivraj kumar. Tell us about your experience.
It was a wonderful experience. In terms of musicality, the song was very tough, though I enjoyed the process. I developed a good equation working with V. Harikrishna, the composer of a song.
Incidentally, Javed Ali has also sung for the Tamil film industry - "Chinnanjirusuga Manasukkul" alongside Bella Shinde and "Siragugal" for the Tamil movie 'Kungumapoovum Konjumpuraavum' composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
2. Is it difficult to be a multi lingual singer? How do you manage the transition from one language to another?
A song may consist of words, but must be sung with feeling or it will not have any meaning. Song supervisors guide me through the pronunciation, while the composer helps me understand the feeling inherent in the words and the tune. Initially it seems difficult, but once I get involved in the process, it becomes easier.
3. You have worked with many popular music directors. Who has been your lucky one?
Yes its true, I’ve worked with many music directors, and I do want to work with many more, for you can learn from each one of them.
Working with A R Rahman sir and Pritam da have always been favourable to me, for my work got recognition and appreciation when I was associated with the duo. I am very thankful to both of them for giving me such beautiful songs and melody.
4. How do you manage the competition?
Earlier, there were three to four singers in the industry and people had to depend upon them. Today, everyone wants to be a playback singer and the industry is spoilt for choice among more than 3000 singers.
I believe in healthy competition and I am ready for it as I upgrade my skills continuously. I follow music trends and keep abreast of what moves and what doesn’t.
However, in the end, I believe, that what is meant for me will be mine.
5. Now-a-days, the use of English words in vernacular songs is something of a trend, more so words that represent sensuality or sexuality. Do you feel that this is necessary?
Generally I don’t think it’s necessary. Often it is used to attract listeners, but it cannot sustain the popularity or longevity of a song. For that, the melody and the treatment of a song must be superior. I am not against the use of such words in the song though, if it suits the scene it seeks to describe, and the tune.
6. I’ve always felt that there should be soul in a song. What’s your view?
Times have changed. Today, you will find only a handful of movies that have those kind of soulful songs that characterized the 90’s, when most songs were meaningful and melodious.
Nowadays, most songs are similar in tune, lyrics and beat. When I hear a song, I get that feeling of familiarity – as though I have heard it recently, maybe a couple of months ago!. Music in some ways has become monotonous because people like it that way.
Music of the 90’s is poles apart from the current genre. It’s a cycle, and it may return to that soulful era, when people are ready for it.
7. The music scenario has undergone a substantial change - new technology, amateur singers (actor/actresses), recreation of old songs etc. Do you like where things are headed?
These changes in music are a reflection of what people want. These days, people want rhythm and new sounds, and even remixed old songs – they like the tunes but in a new avatar. They do not bother much about the ‘sur’ ‘taal’ or pitch of the song.
New technology has provided average singers with a golden opportunity. All you need is a good voice texture, and technology will add that lift and gloss to your voice. Actors and Actresses too tend to give it a try, and use their popularity to draw listeners. No harm in that, but in a sense, music lovers are missing out on the real thing.
8. Are you keen to explore other music genres?
Of course. Personally I would like to sing romantic songs, Sufi and Ghazals. I also want to work on rock songs and classical music. I would also like to bring out an album. At the moment there are a few private projects in the pipeline.
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