Ibrar Tipu is a singer and a music director. His theme song for the World Cup Cricket “O Prithibi Ebar Eshe Bangladesh Nao Chine” was massively loved and listened in 2011. As a singer and musician, he has sung many songs and can play more than twenty musical instruments.
1. How did your career as a musician begin?
I grew up in a very culturally enthusiastic family in Syedpur. My siblings were skilled in classical music, dance and tabla. Watching them play, I started playing tabla at the age of four - that surprised many. For me, this was a natural response to being in that environment. Later on, I enlisted myself for the 'Notun Kuri' program at Rangpur Radio Station. I came up second in the final competition of tabla in 1985.
2. You started with tabla first. How did you come to singing and music direction?
Following my success as a tabla player, I wanted to learn playing more musical instruments. I started learning to play the guitar back in 1989 from a band named The Blues. Before that, I attended Indian classical music classes in 1983 - 84. I really got attached to music when I was admitted into Dhaka International Music School. There were Korean as well as Bangladeshi teachers there. It helped me a lot and changed my attitude. Today I know music to be a fathomless ocean. I am discovering new flaws that I have and I am trying to overcome them. Presently, I can play more than twenty musical instruments.
3. When did you start singing professionally?
My first album was released in 1998 – it was called 'Kuashar Prohor'. Later on, my first solo album 'Chena Ochena' was released in 2005. One of my albums 'Chai Tomay' was highly appreciated by the audience in 2011 because, I suppose, it contained the song 'O Prithibi Ebar Eshe Bangladesh Nao Chine'. Singing in movies began in 2007 with a duet with Samina Chowdhury in the movie 'Tumi Amar Shami'.
4. Who have you enjoyed working with the most?
I like working with everyone, especially senior artists. Senior artists and singers help me learn new things. I would say I am flexible at learning newer things and I learn from every possible source. I have enjoyed working with Runa Layla, Kumar Bisswajit, Fahmida Nabi, Parshi – to name a few.
5. How would you assess the present condition of our music industry?
I cannot assess the present condition properly. I know many unskilled people are working here and they don’t even dedicate themselves to newer learning. Anyone and everyone is writing lyrics and becoming singers. Still, I am positive about our music industry. I believe it really does not matter if the singers are not very talented, because in the music industry everything is in the hand of audience. Those who do not have talent will not survive here. Ironically, I think it is very hard to understand the audience's mind; they keep changing their choices so fast that a popular song of today loses traction tomorrow. I also do not think it's a good idea for an artist to sway with the whims of his or her audience; rather a musician should use his creative instinct to create his own fan following.
6. Do you think marketing and distribution is responsible for piracy? How does it affect the industry?
Our marketing system is not quite effective in stopping piracy. It needs a central management system; preferably steps should be taken by the government. The government can stop the illegal sites that provide opportunity of free download. I would say piracy discourage the musicians to release their albums. This will lead to a stagnant situation of the music industry, which ultimately, might cause a collapse in our industry, jeopardizing our cultural identity. A country without cultural identity, I must say, does not have an identity at all.
7. Who are your favorite singers?
It is difficult to remember all of them right away! But names of Runa Laila, Shreya Ghoshal and A.R Rahman come to mind right now. I also like Elton John, Michael Jackson and Norah Jones.
8. What are you doing these days?
I have been working with movie songs. I am working on a duet with Parshi for the movie 'Blackmail'. I am also working on a song for the movie 'Chokher Dekah' by PA Kajol. For another song, I am working with Jazz Multimedia; for an unnamed movie. Simultaneously, I am working on a few music videos of Rizia Parvin's next Rabindra Sangeet album.
9. When do you plan to release your next album?
I've been working on my next album for some time now and its nearly complete. Hopefully, it will be released during the Eid-ul-Azha holidays or perhaps later on, close to the Valentine's Day of 2015. I think the audience will like the album.
10. Where do you see yourself in the future? Do you always want to be a musician?
I would like to continue working as a musician always. I aspire to win the Oscar Award for music one day, and I also hope to be able to establish a music school someday.