Rahat Fateh Ali Khan | The 43-year-old qawwali singer speaks with Shalini Saksena about his latest music video, what keeps him grounded and why he loves doing live shows as a free bird
Tell us about your latest song? You play a role in the music video too...
The song Dhadkane is produced and curated by Shamir Tandon with JetSynthesys Music Boutique. It is a OnePlus playback non-film music property of YouTube. The song is set in Los Angeles and is about a boy and girl where the two come to a party. The girl is in LA to see Hollywood. That is where I step in; I am the singer. It is not as if I am acting in the video just that I am there due to a scenario that has been created.
How was the experience?
I now understand how tough it is to act. Hats off to all the actors out there. I find my job — that of a singer — so much easier. I suppose the actors feel the same way— may be they find singing difficult.
What made you act in the video?
Like I mentioned earlier, I have not acted. I am just doing what I do best — sing. Usually I sit with a harmonium and sing with a lot of emotions. But this video was a little different hence needed a different setting. The only difference is that you will find me standing and singing at a party. It is not as if you will find me crying.
How has your journey been so far?
Ups and downs are part and parcel of life, especially if one is an artist. It is important that these ups and down take place. It is a learning curve for us. One is able to pinpoint one’s mistakes. I enjoy these waves. Everyone wants to have a continuous up. But what is the reason why there is down? He needs to correct it so that he is back up again.
What does music mean to you?
It is an experience for me. Each person — whether he can sing or not — has sur. The way one speaks, it has a sound which is hidden within. This becomes different for artists like us because we understand the sound, we love our art and it loves us back.
As a playback singer what changes have you seen in the industry over the years?
I am not a playback singer per se. I am in Bollywood by chance. John Abraham gave me a song in Rocky Handsome (Aye Khuda). I had released an album which was put in a situation. There are other actors too whom I would like to thank — Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn. These actors convinced me to enter as playback. But I am just a singer by profession.
What do you prefer — live shows and or music videos?
I love to perform live. It gives me so much freedom. I can do so much more. Sometimes I get a window to express myself and I go for it
What keeps you grounded?
Yeh zameen mujhe kheench ke rakhti hai. It tells me to remain attached to my culture.
What do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of world music— whatever I like. I also listen to artists like Bade Ghulam Ali saheb, Lata Mangeshkarji, madam Noor Jahan, Asha Bhonsleji, Kishore da, Rafi saheb. From the latest songs that are doing rounds, I like Fitoori from Bajirao Mastani. Then there is a song from Padmavat that I really love; I listen to this song all the time.