Have you contemplated having another career?
I haven’t actually given it a thought, but if things were to go differently, I’d have studied medicine.
What are your earliest memories of music? Any anecdotes to share?
While at school in Muscat, I was a part of the theatre group. We performed The Sound of Music on our annual day and I got to play Maria in the reenactment of the classic. Not only did I have to sing, which I was already good at, I also got an opportunity to act. The play went on to become a huge hit.
How easy or difficult is it to experiment with different styles and genres of music?
I wouldn’t say it’s very easy because each style has its own approach to it. The technique and frequency of riyaz needs to be changed according to each style. For instance, if I have a recording or a live performance, I have to stop my classical training for a while as it strains the vocal chords. Once the concert is over I resume it. So there are frequent breaks in between.
Where does your inclination for ghazals stem from?
I’ve always felt that ghazals are a part of me. I get a totally different vibe when I sing ghazals. I feel that the language and the music blend beautifully in this form. There is a sense of total freedom in it which calms the mind and soothes the soul.
Has generation gap ever created differences with music directors over style or technique?
I have always liked recording with the older generation music directors. For them, we are all kids and they treat us really well. The biggest advantage is that you get to learn a lot of techniques while working with these legends. Also, when you consistently sing for a director, you get to know his composing pattern and recording style. That improves your output as a singer. Today, a lot of technology is used in the field of music and that’s made the process easier. But only the output matters at the end of the day.
Any two values you never compromise on, as an artist?
I wouldn’t compromise on the artistic aesthetic for commercial gains. Secondly, getting into the profession of music ought to be by means of merit and not influence.