The first edition of Channel 9′s “Power Voice” competition saw 40,000 contestants showing up to prove their singing skills. Following rounds of elimination, the top six singers remained in the competition, directed by Tanvir Khan. The team of six recently came to The Daily Star office to share their stories.
Zakia Sultana Cornia was born in Magura and raised in Dhaka. Learning the ABCs of music from her mother, she is now taking extensive lessons from Ustad Sanjib Dey. Cornia, whose favourite singer is Runa Laila, wishes to see herself one day as a leading singer of the country. “I want to entertain the crowds through stage performances,” she said. Asked about her favourite memory from the campaign, she said the group going to Old Dhaka late at night to try out the special delicacies was a special day for her.
Ismat Ara Eva is another contestant who has been singing since childhood. Originally from Khulna, she is now taking lessons from Ashok Chakrabarty. Eva dreams of singing memorable songs. Sharing her experiences in the competition, Eva said, “For a performance in the competition, I once sang a Runa Laila song, which was tuned by Satya Saha. Runa Laila complimented me by saying that Satya Saha would’ve chosen me as a singer, if I were there at the time of the original recording. Coming from an internationally recognised artiste like Runa Laila, the compliment is one of the biggest achievements of my life.”
Also from the southwest region of Bagerhaat, Shamim Hasan Shamim is a skilled singer, with 13 years of training — from the local Ankur Academy. For him, a lot of hard work and dedication was needed to reach the top six. Shamim also had stories to share from his experiences in the competition: “Runa Laila was very pleased with my performances, when I rendered a song in the ‘Folk Round’. Asked about his aspirations, Shamim replied that he wishes to reach out to the rural people with his songs.
Atikul Islam Raju, a Dhaka resident who is also part of the top six, was trained at Bulbul Lalitakala Academy, and considers Ustad Sanjib Dey as his guru. The ambitious singer wants to reach out to Bengali-speaking audiences all across the globe, and carve out a niche for himself. Raju has mixed memories from the competition so far. He was elated after receiving rounds of applause for the performance of a Sonu Nigam song in the “International Round”. But there were also teary moments when another contestant, Masum, was eliminated from the competition.
Raju’s Dhaka neighbour is Mehedi Hasan Sajal, whose singing guru is his grandfather, Baul Sadhok Deen Islam Shah Chishti. His childhood dreams of singing are taking wings ever since Sajal reached Power Voice’s top six. He said, “I aspire to establish Bengali songs in the international arena. I also plan on forming a band and staying involved with music till my last breath.” He also thanked the Creator for keeping him alive in the competition so far. “There are constant fun moments during the competition. The simple adda and fights between ourselves are part of the fun times,” Sajal said.
Afroza Belly, from Chittagong, is last but not the least of the top six of the competition. She has been a member of the Port City’s Blue Birds band since 2008, playing the drums and singing on stage. Asked about cherished memories from the competition, she said, “The top 11 in the competition did a play on the stage for fun. I played the role of Runa Laila and enjoyed every moment of the performance.” Like all other established artistes, Belly’s wish is to contribute to music on a national level.