Music in every breath
Rafi Hossain: Welcome to Uncensored with Rafi Hossain. Today, we are here with popular singer Imran Mahmudul. Thank you so much for being with us. You are extremely popular among music lovers now, and are even compared to Arijit Singh. How do you view that?
Imran Mahmudul: Thank you so much for having me. Everyone has a different way of expressing their love, and I realise that comparing me to him comes from a place of love, so I respect it. However, I think that Arijit Singh is far more talented than I am. Comparing me to him doesn't seem fair, in my opinion.
Rafi Hossain: Can you talk about your journey into music?
Imran Mahmudul: As a child, I used to listen to music on the TV and of different artists and be inspired to follow their footsteps. I started learning music from fourth grade and kept practising. I later found out about a reality show, Closeup 1 Bangladesh. I participated in it for the first time in grade nine, but I got eliminated soon as I was so young. I knew I wasn't good enough yet to win the show, but I had this drive to succeed at some point. Then, I got to know about another reality show, Shera Kontho. I liked the judges there, so I decided to participate. I somehow managed to become the first runner-up even though I never thought I could. From then, my struggle began to establish my career. I was completely new in this scene, so I had no idea about the ropes of the industry. It took me 2008-2009 to slowly find my way and make original music.
Rafi Hossain: We don't see many artists making it who participate in reality shows. How were you able to beat that?
Imran Mahmudul: I can't speak for anyone else. My main target was making original music and taking them to the audience. I worked on my music from 2008 to 2014. I didn't do many stage performances during that time as many people do. I utilised it to groom myself and learn what to do to stay relevant in the industry. That really helped me in my career. I think this is what every musician coming from reality shows should do.
Rafi Hossain: You are very popular among female music listeners and have definitely received many proposals. How do you deal with that?
Imran Mahmudul: I know their love is coming from a place of loving my music, and I appreciate all the love my fans shower me with. It inspires me to work harder on my music. However, I haven't received that many proposals as I'm not on social media often. Even if I do receive some, I very respectfully respond to them.
Rafi Hossain: You have shown interest in music direction very early on in your career which isn't very common. Why is that so?
Imran Mahmudul: When I was in the reality show, I was asked by interviewers what I wanted to do as a career. I would always say that I wanted to be a music director which would surprise them since I'm a singer. However, even as a child, I always wanted to direct music and was really interested in the music and composition. Previously, we used to only make the singers the centre stage at the expense of the music directors. Habib bhai and Fuad bhai were the ones who brought the concept of giving credit to the music directors where credit is due and that inspired me to pursue it. I even got the chance to learn from and work with Habib bhai who I'm a huge fan of. This really helped me.
Rafi Hossain: You have worked with many people, but fans seem to love the pairing of you and Kona. Do you want stick with this pairing or stray away from it?
Imran Mahmudul: It really isn't up to me which pair of me with another singer the audience will love and accept. I have worked with many people, but fans saw something in our pair. The entire credit goes to the audience. Whether I stick with it or stray from it, is totally up to them. I don't think we have much of a hand in it.
Rafi Hossain: People say that some music has a techno or electronic sound to it which they seem to not like. What is your take on it?
Imran Mahmudul: It depends on how we use these sounds. Habib bhai and Fuad knows how to utilise these sounds well and incorporate them into his music. Even if we talk internationally, the song A. R. Rahman received an Oscar for, Jai Ho, has many electronic elements to it. If used correctly, we should definitely appreciate and accept it.
Rafi Hossain: Do you ever approach senior artists to sing to their tunes?
Imran Mahmudul: I have had the fortune of working with Bulbul chacha on a film's song. I haven't been able to work with some artists who I would have loved to.
Rafi Hossain: There is this saying that you aren't fully a singer if you aren't a playback singer. What do you think about it?
Imran Mahmudul: Being a playback singer is the ultimate dream of any singer here. We did not have the concept of albums back when we were little; we used to listen to the songs in films. However, I do not agree with that thought. Films' music does do a lot to establish a singer, but it isn't everything. If a singer doesn't get to sing for a film, their music is still worthwhile. Not being a playback singer can be just as fulfilling.
Rafi Hossain: Have you been able to make music for films?
Imran Mahmudul: Yes, I have made music for a number of films, both through singing and composing.
Rafi Hossain: Is there something specific you have always wanted to be asked in an interview that you have unfortunately never been asked?
Imran Mahmudul: I haven't ever thought of it like that. In my career of twelve years, I would like to think that my fans have been able to know quite a bit about me. Right now, I really don't have anything specific I want to talk about.
Rafi Hossain: Do you have a parting message?
Imran Mahmudul: I would like to request the readers to pray for my wellbeing and theirs as well. During this pandemic, being safe is the top priority. I hope that everybody maintains safety precautions. I would request you all to keep supporting me, so that I can keep making more music.
Rafi Hossain: It was lovely having you today.