When did Akhi Alamgir first hit big among the fans? Which album or song led to it?
I've been singing playback since 1994, and my first album was launched in '97. My second album was launched in '98, titled “Bisher Kata”, and it was a hit. I had no idea of it's popularity though, until my first live performance where the entire hall erupted in applause when my name was announced. Greats like Shefali Ghosh and Syed Abdul Hadi and others were there, and it was surprising that so many people knew who I was and cheered at my performance. That was when I realized my popularity with the fans.
Music comes hand in hand with glamour nowadays. You're a good singer, and quite glamorous as well. What are the pros or cons to this?
The pros outweigh the cons in this matter, as the presence of many TV stations has made music as much of a visual experience as it is an auditory one. Music videos are coming up as a trend, so artists have a nice window to expose their glamorous sides as well as their singing talents to form an entire celebrity persona. However, sometimes the glam factor gets more preference than the actual talent as a musician and that hampers the industry a bit.
You've won the National Film Award at a very young age for your acting performance in “Bhaat Dey”. Why not one for your singing yet?
Well I've never targeted for it. Every artist has a unique style, and mine is that I only go for a performance when someone asks me to make an appearance; I don't go forward and propose for shows or albums and whatnot. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it just isn't how I do things. So I've never targeted and sent in my work to the panel to be considered for a National Award, and hence it has not happened yet. However, I'm not sad or unfulfilled about it. The industry and the fans have given me a lot more than I ever expected, and that makes me very happy and content as an artist.
How do you see yourself in terms of your style and fashion sense?
I'm a very fashion conscious person, but I don't really like to follow trends. I prefer creating my own style which would suit my persona, age and the environment I'm in, while being comfortable to wear. I have a weakness towards wearing sarees as I feel my height complements that look for me.
You seem to be busier nowadays with stage performances. Doesn't that strain your voice?
As I have already said, I don't go to people and ask to be included in live performances, I do them because people ask me to perform, and such requests come about more often than not in recent times. Since the fans want it, the organizers ask for it and I am happy to oblige. It is, however, a false notion that live performances cause voice strains. The equipments that are in use nowadays are very advanced and hence, cause no issues whatsoever.
Who are you inspired by and what do you prefer to do besides singing?
I like listening to Lataji, Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin, Shahnaz Rahmatullah and their likes as I grew up listening to them. However, I don't follow anyone when it comes to singing. I follow my own style and try my best to keep their compositions and movements original when I pay tribute to their works. Apart from singing, I am an avid reader and have needed glasses since class 6 because of it. I love being surrounded by books and reading is more of an addiction for me.
Interviewed by Zahid Akbar and Narrated by Showbiz Desk