Ready to experiment

western influences

versatile Adnan Sami

The album, made in collaboration with Asha Bhosle, catapulted the British-Pakistani singer to stardom. Today, not only is he one of the most talented musicians in the Hindi film industry, but also a singer who has many hits to his credit. Come to think of it, almost every song that he has sung — Kabhi to nazar milao, lift kara de, Tera chehra — has been a chartbuster. A rare achievement for any singer.

Adnan Sami, pianist-singer-composer, is back in the news. And this time, for a good reason — he will be judging the popular television show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs. Sami started learning music at the tender age of five. Born to Pakistani parents in London, he grew up in the UK and loved to spend time in India during his summer holidays. That is when he got to know Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and learned to play the santoor from the maestro. But his career in music actually took off when he was identified by Asha Bhosle, at the age of 10, during an R D Burman concert.

He is now judging a kids’ reality show. Is it difficult? Sami explains, “It is! It is almost impossible to tell them that they did a bad job. I started my career as a child artiste, so I know how bad rejection is for a child. They just cannot take rejection. At the same time, it is my duty to tell them where they went wrong. Especially when they are trying to pursue music as a career.” He reminisces, “When I was a kid, there was no pressure on me to perform better than what I was doing. Perhaps that is why I could explore different genres of music. I try to think of myself while commenting on a child’s performance on the show,” says Sami.

“For kids, it is good to be competitive, but it should never reach a stage where it leads to aggression. Unfortunately, due to parental pressure, kids tend to become extremely competitive. It is sad because we destroy a child’s innocence and childhood with such constant pressure to excel,” says Sami, whose son is also an upcoming musician. “I am a parent myself and I know how proud I feel to see my son perform. I look at my son from a father and a musician’s perspective. As the former, I like everything he does. But, as a musician, I have to point out the technical problems with his singing,” he explains. “My father has always been a source of inspiration. He never pressurised me to perform. I try to inculcate the same values in my son. I want him to have his own space. I don’t want my son to restrict himself to any particular genre. That has been my philosophy as well,” he adds.

Reality shows, the talented singer feels, offer a very good platform to showcase young talent. “When I was a kid, I used to listen to my own music and correct myself wherever I felt I was going wrong. Thanks to reality shows, youngsters are trained and nurtured by experts from the music industry. It is such a rare opportunity and a boon for aspiring musicians,” says Sami.

So, what next? “Very soon, I will be launching my next album and also composing for a Yash Raj film. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to talk about it right now. But you will hear from me soon,” says Sami.

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