1. You used to be a child star. Please tell us about how you learnt to sing at such an early age.
My mother used to sing, and I used to play the tabla. My mother caught me in action one day when I was playing the tabla and singing out loud - she realized that I have a talent, and she gave me the basics. She was my first teacher. Later on, I learnt from the late Ram Gopal Mahanta formally.
2. What are some of your most memorable achievements as a child singer?
I first performed in TV in Ferdausi Rahman's 'Esho Gaan Shikhi', in 1975, at the then DIT TV Centre. She is still running that show. In 1977, I performed in Notun Kuri, winning the first prize in the 6-9 age group singing, “O Amar Bangla Ma Tor Akul Kora Ruper Shova,” my biggest achievement as a child singer. In the same year, Samina Chowdhury won the first prize in the 9-12 age group and the interesting coincidence was that she chose to perform the same song! I was a regular performer in television programs between the years 1977 and 1984.
3. Why did you leave the world of singing?
In 1985, after my HSC, I left for USSR to study, and after 11 years there I came back to Bangladesh and followed up with an Interior Designing Diploma Course at Exterior-Interior Pvt Ltd., and started interior designing work. I worked at Interior Heights as an Interior Designer between 1998 and 2004, and I currently offer freelancer consulting services to various real estate companies, offering theme based designs.
4. That's a pretty long gap, how did you find your way back to the world of singing?
I informally restarted practicing and singing, and getting involved. In 2007, we started the 'Ganer Dol, Praner Dol' group, where like-minded people without any age bars can get together once a week to sing. The group was not formed for professionals, but rather for singing for personal reasons, be it recreational or to simply meditate through music, and I found my way back into singing through this group.
5. You also worked on a musical album recently, how did that take shape?
I am also part of the 'Notun Kore Amra' singing group, and we released an album titled 'Kotodin' in 2012 featuring the group. I sang the title song, also called 'Kotodin'. Feedback's Pearo Khan composed the music for it. I prefer contemporary music, with soft melody and a strong emphasis on lyrics. I also received some modeling offers for TVCs over the years, and have done some work in that area.
6. What are you working on at the moment?
My current work in progress is a song based on a poem written by Kobi Mohadeb called 'Shaha Bebodhan', and Nirjhor Chowdhury is composing music for it, and hopefully the song will be complete in a month or two. I am not trying to reach out to the masses with my music. What I really want to achieve is a small group of listeners who really enjoy my music, and my target is to bring out about 4 new singles every year. Maybe I'll be compiling the singles into an album every 2-3 years.
7. Other than singing, what else are you passionate about?
I am also a photographer - it's a passion. I am currently taking photographs of one-story houses in Dhaka – which is a rare sight to find, and will become rare over time.
8. Where would you like to see yourself ten years from now?
I will definitely continue making songs. In the long term, I hope to somehow work for special needs children, maybe I'll have an organization for them or maybe my songs will come to their benefit, I don't know exactly - but sometime along the line I hope I can do something for them.
Interviewed by Zakir Mushtaque