Shiraz Uppal has once again been roped in by the Oscar winner music director A R Rahman to sing the title song of Bollywood film Raanjhanaa that made a mark at the box office by crossing INR 100 Cr within 3 weeks of its release. Shiraz with his perseverance and talent continues to win more and more fans. He was recently spotted in the success party of this movie in Mumabi along with Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Dhanush, Abhay Deol, Aanand Rai (Director) and the whole team. He has remarkably handled the energetic and love struck lyrics by Irshad Kamil and seems to be at the peak of his performance by conveying the madness and energy to this dancing Rannjhanaa (Dhanush) has shown. Shiraz has done a wonderful job while having fun with the rapid-fire lines and breathless vocal rhythm like “tan thirke thirke, mann behke behke, tera keh ke keh ke khud ko” composed by A R Rahman, which sticks with you long after the song. Rahman has beautifully captured that Banarsi spirit with dholaks and guitar riffs that layer the track besides having a great sense of choosing the right voice for the right song.
Shiraz Uppal shot to fame with his super-hit ‘Tera Te Mera’, followed by the hits like ‘Mann Ja Ve’, ‘Jhuki Jhuki’, ‘Saiyan Ve’ etc. When Shiraz composed & sang ‘Roya Re’ for Mahesh Bhatt’s Dhoka, Mukesh Bhatt’s words were at that time, “This song can do wonders for both of us” proved to be prophetical as Roya Re went on to become one of the biggest hits of 2007. His 4th pop album ‘Ankahi’ was released simultaneously in India and Pakistan. It was well appreciated by music lovers in both the countries. One reason why one welcomes Shiraz’s music is that he uses his talent towards creating more diverse compositions. This album was also composed, produced and recorded by Shiraz in S.U Studios. The hit song ‘Rabba’ from this album was made a part of John Abraham’s film ‘Aashayein’ and Shiraz Uppal won the Indian Mirchi Music Award 2010 on this song for being “The Best Upcoming Music Director”. Sunday Plus in an exclusive talk with Shiraz Uppal asks about his recent projects and some of his most memorable events of the past. Following are the excerpts of his interview:
Sunday Plus: You were recently seen at the success party of Raanjhanaa in JW Marriot Mumbai, How did you enjoy this celebration?
Shiraz Uppal: It was an amazing event. Many of the Bollywood stars along with the team of Raanjhanaa gathered to celebrate the extra ordinary box office success of the film which crossed INR 100 Cr. I found them very liberal and large hearted in appreciating the good job done, without any prejudice. They admire and respect the talent wherever they see. They were not only congratulating me for the title song of Raanjhanaa topping the charts but also acknowledging the success of ‘Roya Re’ and ‘Rabba’. Anil Kapoor also remembered A R Rahman for choosing my voice in ‘Shakalaka Baby’ for his film ‘Nayak’ released in 2001.
S+: After chasing your dreams for years, you had the proud privilege to perform at One World Peace Concert 2012 in New York with A R Rahman, how would you describe that experience?
SU: It was a very spiritual experience as I sang along A. R. Rahman two of my favorite qawalis of him ‘Kun Fa Ya Kun’ and ‘Khuwaja Mere Khuwaja’ in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse NY last October. It was amazing to perform for 30,000 American audiences, setting the whole crowd feeling the spirituality in that serene arena. The other artistes performing on the same stage were Dave Mathews, Natasha Bedingfield, Philip Philips, Cyndi Lauper, Nelly Furtado, Whoopi Goldberg and others. Dalai Lama, being the guest of honour, also addressed the audience on peace. The most unforgettable moment of my life was when the Quranic Verse ‘Kun Fa Ya Kun’ and Durood on our beloved Prophet ‘Sallalla Ho Alaihay Wasallam’ were sung along by the whole audience which gave me goose bumps. Moreover I had the consolation of being a part of the concert that aimed at promoting peace in the world.
S+: How did you like working with Shoaib Mansoor as you composed & produced the hit track ‘Hona Tha Pyar’ sung by Atif Aslam for the movie ‘Bol’.
SU: I had been following Shoaib Mansoor’s work since the comedy serial ‘Fifty Fifty’ ‘Sunehray Din’ & ‘Alpha Bravo Charlie’ and I believe he is blessed with super talent and is for sure one of the best film directors in Pakistan. It was a pleasure working with him. ‘Bol’ was a great experience and a challenge at the same time as there were different composers for different songs. Alhamdulillah ‘Hona Tha Pyar’ was termed as the best song from the movie.
S+: Tell us about S.U Studios where you compose, arrange and record your songs. How does it feel when you produce songs for others?
SU: Composition and production is my passion and primarily I wanted to be self sufficient having all possible facilities that one can dream of having in a studio. Up-gradation of the studio is a continuous process and remains at the top of my mind. Wherever I go, especially to the US for concerts, I am always in search of the latest music gear and softwares. At the end of the day I find all is spent whatever I earned there but frankly speaking it’s never a bad bargain. Beside my own songs I do welcome projects not only by the multinational companies but my colleagues as well. When I accept a project, then it’s my project. I put all my energies and efforts to do justice to it that is why people have faith in me. When a project is being negotiated, initially my new clients tell me that I am asking for a higher price but Alhamdulillah at the end they appreciate it was worth it. I believe in spreading knowledge and feel much satisfied by passing on whatever I have learnt till now. I encourage new talent and the youngsters and extend my support and guidance in their projects, which I never got when I started my music career.
S+: What is your reaction when someone hurts you?
SU: Initially I tend to forget; if I don’t succeed I forgive. I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and understand other person’s situation and do not hurt him back.
S+: When do you get the inner satisfaction?
SU: When I succeed in planting hope in any hopeless heart; when I can make someone’s burden lighter; when I can cause a laugh that chases some tears away; when I can sacrifice something for someone else. I think my day is well spent and that gives me the inner satisfaction.
S+: What are your upcoming projects?
SU: There are couples of projects that I am working on both in India and Pakistan but I will surely disclose them when the right time will come, that is what I learnt with experience.
S+: What do you think is the key to success for a new artiste?
SU: Only struggle provides you the chance of success but addition of faith in Allah Almighty converts this chance into guarantee. Success is nobody’s inheritance. You can earn it with hard work in any walk of life. New discoveries and new experiments are very important. To gain perfection in any field, one has to work with dedication, devotion, persistent determination and perseverance. Every singer should sing in his original voice, those who try to copy others cannot become great singers. Only practice can take one to great heights.