The rasping soloist : Mohammad Irfan

The most romanticised singers of Bollywood, he personifies ‘simplistic attitude to win hearts’. This is how Aditi spoke with Mohammad Irfan (for  , on recording his first track and walking as a one-man army till date.

Most of the time, music is a hobby and doesn’t go a long way for a lot of people. You followed your heart, practiced your hobby and entered the mainstream with it. How did you manage all of it?

As you say, it was a dream that turned ‘too good to be true’. Coming from a middle class family without any background in music; there was no connection in the industry. I used to sing in  a Music Academy in Hyderabad where my Guru Mr. Ramachari recognised my talent at a very young age. He guided trained me in Hindustani Classical music for three years. Soon after, I shifted my base to Mumbai and resumed my music training under a seasoned music scholar. Beginning everything from scratch, I entered the city as a refugee, but have stayed here for long. My decision to make my mark in the industry did all wonder. The determination changed destiny’s game to fetch me to a life I am living.

Though the dream-city welcomed you with arms wide open; did you ever face any challenges while speaking in it common dialect?

I come from a family where we speak urdu more often than Hindi. Since, most of the songs in the industry are written in the same language, pronunciation was always like a smooth ride. It was only when I was new to the city that I was a subject of laughter among my friends at times I got angry. The furious I was, more I vent my frustration out in my Hyderabadi Urdu. Good or bad, I have completely got over my language and speak in mother-dialect only when am at home.

We have seen you do one of the success stories from reality show. Having sung that; for many aspiring singers, it is a long lost dream to work with the most respected music directors. You began your career with Rahman sir. How was it to meet, greet and record with the Sultan of music?

Coming from Mr. Ramachari’s music Academy; all students are mentored under him and Dr. S.P. Balasubramanium. S.P. sir has seen, guided me throughout my journey to being a singer. On winning Voice of India, I went to Hyderabad for the Academy’s Annual show and Balasubramanium sir noticed my transformation. He got emotional and promised me to introduce me to Rahman sir. That is how I bagged the opportunity. Being a huge fan of his work; a mere thought of me meeting Rahman sir give me goosebumps. It is impossible for me to elaborate on my first meeting with the maestro at his studio in Chennai. He made me feel very comfortable on knowing that as my first recording. I remember when I was recording the song Behne de; he went out for some work and said would be back. I recorded the entire song with his assistants and he dis-approved it completely. I was sure that was my last ‘song recorded’. But, he humbly sent me back to the mic and re-reorded the track with thirty minutes. Probably that is the reason he is loved, appreciated and respected by everyone around.

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Any incident you recall when you were mobbed by your fans?

It happens every time we travel for LIVE shows. It s overwhelming to see how they manage to sneak into the backstage and wait for me. Once, during a performance in Pune, two girls breached security and came running to hug me on stage. I spoke to them on the microphone and thus tried to make a memory for both of them too! Small little things in life!

You carry a very poised, calm and composed personality. Does it spark from your music or should we say it is other way round?

My personality definitely reflects the classy and poised ‘my kind of music’. The placid essentiality has been nurtured by my parents, up bring and surroundings. Keeping myself balanced all the time has been a strength that has brought me to where I am today. I genuinely feel whatever I have today by god’s grace has extended further. I need to work harder to live-up to it for years to come.

Of late we have noticed re-creation of old-melodies. You too have done quite a few. Are opening doors for the newer generation to have a taste of evergreen music; or we are unprepared to experiment with new music?

I do not de-test introduction of new songs or their gratification in present era. But I find  the concept of influx of remixes in new motion pictured ‘flawed’. Films are a different discipline altogether with fresh talent which must be pioneered with glistening tracks. Even I have sung a few versions of evergreen classics, but in the non-film category. We produced it on request of the audience. All of this depends on a producers’ study of trends demanded by the audience. However, I feel all of this (at times) is somewhere forced on the audience. They buy what there are offered.

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Everything you do is a gift from god. Recognise your talent and work on improving your skills.

Quick takes

Favorite number sung by you– Harry met sejal for SRK

Any actor you wish to voice someday – never thought like that

Hyderabdi biryani or vada paav – Hyderbadi biryani

De-stress mantra – Listen to music

Your version to define music – connection with god.

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