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Amaal Malik

He started at the age of 15, is a music composer, singer, music producer and a lyricist. At the young age of 32 has over a 100 songs to his credit and says this is just the tip of the iceberg called “Amaal Malik”

FACE’s Managing editor, Nehs Sachar Mittal tried to know more about this man who claims to be “known to everyone and no one”.  

1. You started assisting  your father and several composers at the age of 15… and today you have composed over a 100 songs just at the age of 32! Would you advise all budding musicians to start early to get a head start?

It has truly been an amazing journey. I started assisting composers at the age of 15-16. Amar Mohile, Sandeep Chowta, Salim Sulaiman, the journey has been incredible. All these years of working under such great musicians and first-hand musical experience from my grandfather, uncle, dad, has molded me into who I am today. But the most simple advice my dad gave me and I want to give everyone is, come prepared always, try to make headway into a career and reach a position of success, it can only happen if you’re prepared when the opportunity arises. That’s what my father helped me to believe. I learnt music the right way, I started learning how to produce music, how music is recorded, how to work with live musicians and all these things have come in handy for all these songs I’ve been able to create. It has been truly amazing. So, the best advice would be come prepared and work hard towards the profession you choose, if music composing or music production is the path that you take, then see tutorial videos that are available online. It’s a great time for young budding musicians to be able to do that because back in the day when I started, there were no videos to refer to and it was just very new, there were just forums and no easy way to learn anything. Today everything is in front of you, all you have to do is search for it and you have answers. Prepare yourself for your journey and always believe in yourself when it even gets difficult. In today’s day and age, it does get difficult because we’re all looking for validation as artists and sometimes, we don’t get the attraction someone else has. It can slightly depress the younger generation of musicians but I think if you keep doing good work and you know your craft, you will be unstoppable. It’ll take time, the journey is tough but the reward is priceless. 

2. Your body of work has such varied songs… from mainstream masti to ones which are pure melody. Which genre do you enjoy composing the most?

I love composing romantic balance and that’s something I believe to be the reason I was born. To bring people together, to make people fall in love and I have obviously diverted to the different subjects I’m really grateful and lucky to have been able to do the score of movies like airlift, MS Dhoni, Saina Nehwal’s biopic, Sarabjit, Kapoor and sons, Golmaal, Badrinath ki Dulhania, so I think every time I was given a new space to discover, musically, lyrically, and even in terms of arrangements, so I would like to thank my directors and producers for bringing me such opportunities to me and the space to do something heartfelt and something that stands the test of time even if it’s a dance number. Mainstream music is also called commercial music but I never try to compose in a way that oh this is what works, this is what will not work. What works the most in terms of music is your honesty, dedication, towards a song, and if you feel it and you have managed to make even one person feel that melody, feel that lyrics, then I think the battle is half won already.

3. Does being a singer require a different kind of preparation? As compared to being a composer? 

To be a singer it’s nearly impossible to be able to sing if you don’t have a little bit of training. I think sometimes there are opportunities where you as a composer get a chance to sing for yourself. Mostly the demo tracks made by composers are sung by them but it’s most important to be a good listener and observer and that too can help you learn how to sing. A little bit of Riaz is always necessary. Both composing and singing are difficult and highly demanding professions. To be a singer and go to the studio and deliver a song to the composer’s liking and to be a composer and to compose music that works for the label, the director, producer, actor, it’s really difficult. You should know that things aren’t going to be easy and you need nerves of steel to last and be able to withstand the pressure this career comes with. Preparation is always needed in every department, it’s a god gift for me to be able to sing but it’s the duty of an artist, someone who has been blessed by almighty with some great skills of singing or composing you should hone your skills and work towards it. I grew up listening to a lot of  Kishore Kumar sir’s songs, KK, Shaan Sonu Nigam, and I’ve worked with some of the most amazing singers, Shreya, Sunidhi, Arjit Singh, Armaan, everyone has a unique style. The more you listen, the more you learn. You may not understand all the music that people do but you will be able to find one artist that gives you that belief that this is my style and this is the kind of music I like and I can do. Listen to everyone but have one artist that you look up to and you want to imbibe their character and approach out of those artists. It’ll always go a long way. 

4. Your debut album, if rumor is to be believed, was dreamt by you at 15 and was delivered at the age of 30… is that true? Tell us more about the single – “Tu mera nahin”… and the experience of shooting a video for the first time?

“Tu Mera Nahi” was the 16-year-old Amaal Malik’s dream and it was not a reality back then to be able to do music independently, feature yourself and have people accept you, so the only alternate route was the film industry and my father’s dreams rested on my shoulders so I took up that route and I would safely say that I’ve delivered most of those dreams. That’s when I’ve decided that my parents are really proud of the achievements both brothers have made, they’re really happy with the love that we have from the audience and so many fans write to me “come visit me for my birthday” from even different countries, they celebrate my birthday by doing charity and when I did “Tu Mera Nahi”, it was a self-realization that I was always meant to do this, I just didn’t know that it would take this long. There was a lot of nervousness since it was my first music video, a lot of expectations from my listeners, my fans, but that’s what drives you, that you have so many people vouching for you so you just have to get in there and do your best.

5. In an interview you had said that “you don’t have Friday, Saturday nights. You never make it to Sunday brunches” your music is everything. For a creative person like you… how do you unwind and maintain work-life balance?  

I don’t necessarily believe that you should get out and have a great time only on Friday & Saturdays or Sundays, I think that’s every individual’s own choice, the entire world thinks this way at least 80 % of them do, that the weekend are for slaying it and partying and living it up , but I don’t have any days off, I work every day, there is something or the other happening at my studio , so that keeps me occupied. My friends come over few times and I have time to hang out with them and mostly we are always thinking about the next song, working on another single or like working on some film and now that I am also hosting for a TV show called ‘Ravivaar with Star Parivaar’ so I’m juggling in quite a few things, so there are days sometimes I go out on Monday and party. it’s quite possible that I’ll be out on the Monday night or sometimes out for a Tuesday brunch so there is no rules to follow, I think work comes first and to balance my creativity I obviously unwind I get out for the drive or spend some time sitting alone writing a few lines sitting at my window or terrace , it’s just the wind speaks to me & poetry flows, melody flows through me so I feel blessed that I do that and music anyway is something that will arrive in your life and stay with you till the end of time, I think people may forget cinema, they may forget several things that they see, but music is something that what it made you feel you can never forget, it brings back people’s memories that’s how powerful it is, how can I say that I’ll not work today , not make a song or do music and I’ll go out today and party, that’s not a kind of person I am at all, obviously if I am free I don’t mind once in a while but not every weekend.

6.  Is being from a music family a boon or a bane? 

Being from a musical family is obviously a boon, creatively I was guided through my childhood by legends like my grandfather ‘Sardar Malik’ my dadi’s elder brothers who is a beautiful lyricist who is a legendary Hasrat Jaipuri who has written Ehsan Tera Hoga ‘Badan pe Sitare’, some great great songs, some great poetry back home, great compositions from my father, my uncle helped me throughout my career. So creatively I had a lot of music presented to me as a young child and I kept grasping it, I still listen to a lot of music and adapt. But the only difficult part here would be the time when I debut and people wrote me off in an instant and tagged me as not being the chip of the old block and can’t make commercial Hindi music and doesn’t have what it takes. These things slightly bothered me because people still judge a book by its cover even now and I think that’s really harsh to do to a young 22-23 year old musician to his first step in his journey but that’s how it is, I did not have a clean slate, I had a very filled up slate with such legendary musician such legendary songs that are created in my family and I somehow got a lot of support from my parents and my teachers all the people that I have connected with, while creating all the soundtracks of my career. I would like to thank all of them for rewriting that script which a lot of people in the media had written and made me feel really bad about myself, So it feels great that I could carve out my own space and not be someone who is just known as so and so’s son, today people know me for me and me for my music which is really beautiful. 

7. Is it true that after you did ‘Jai Ho’ – for Salman Khan, you almost quit? Could you pls share with the readers the story?

After ‘Jai Ho’ , I think all these articles came out about me not being a good composer, when I was signed for ‘Jai Ho’ a  lot of producers walked up to me literally saying that they want to work with me really soon and the minute the music tanked they all stopped answering my calls and I had nowhere to go, I went back and tried being an assistant again for composers, I started studying MCom. but somehow life has different plans and ‘Sooraj Dooba’ and ‘Naina’ happened and didn’t let me quit, I decided that people are saying such bad things about me as an artist and my music no one what’s to work with me coz I hadn’t delivered great stuff yet and the struggle was real it was difficult and I decided that I will go and sell burgers in new zealand but I’ll not work in the music industry and the film industry.  Then some great things happened and some great people walked this journey with me and I think I just kept my head down.
Start doing what is right, just start working towards these dreams that have been fulfilled today for me, for my family, for my father. I think I am glad that I did not quit I have to be really really thankful to the song ”Sooraj Dooba hain” and the people who selected it Vicky Singh the director, Bhushan Kumar the producer, they really believed in a young kid who wasn’t titled as anything yet but just had one good song with him and it’s always about that one good song. If you have it, it can change things and turn the tide in your favour and that’s what I prayed for, I kept saying this to myself that if “Sooraj Dooba Hain” works I won’t compromise on any of my music and I will give my best to everything to every song and I am glad that it did worked and I am glad that I could create this wonderful journey in music and live my dreams, live my family’s dreams it’s beautiful, life coming a full circle.

8. You have worked with some pretty big stars and singers… Has anyone ever played a seniority card on you?

Not really, I don’t think anyone has ever played a seniority card on me, they were rather sweet with me, I had worked with Sonu Nigam Sir, he is really hard working, in spite of being such a legendary singer, he kept giving me takes till I was satisfied. That’s the thing about great musicians and artists that they will give their all. I don’t think anyone has ever made me feel that, Obviously there may be times when I made a suggestion to a senior singer maybe they took it then or maybe they kept it in their heart that they didn’t like my suggestion, I have no clue because no one ever told me that listen I am senior to you and this is how it is done. If I have in some way made anyone feel in a way I didn’t mean to, I always look out for my songs and sometimes in that process you can get a little difficult with the musicians and singers because only you who is the creator can envision what you want out of that song and melody. So most of my singers have complied and have delivered to my requirement for the song.

9. You have a whole entire cult fan following called “amaalians”…any secrets about you they don’t know and should?

I think my amaalians know a lot, nothing is hidden from them. They know how much they are loved, they know so many facets about my life, they know me as a human being, and they love my music.What I want to tell them is not a secret they already know it, I want to say a big thankyou for being my family after my family, being through me in my ups and downs of my career and always checked upon me, my health, whenever I release a song, they message me saying ‘don’t worry, we are listening to it, we are gonna give all our support, we are gonna make it a big hit’ and all of these things are truly beautiful as I say this as  – DJ Khalid’s hashtag #wethebestmusic and mine is #wetheblessedmusic. 

I feel like I have got these little angels on my side, young boys and girls who are amaalians today, there are such young kids who are amaalians ,There is a young kid who messaged me saying she was 9 when she heard me first and now she is 16 so it feels surreal to be someone whose made music is a part of their lives and their growing years, I am glad that they love me and support me this way, I don’t think that this happens for anyone that easily and in my 7-8 years of career it feels like for me it has been 18-20 years the love and support is immense, it feels so beautiful.

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