Music Is Peace

Fazle Ali Khan comes from a classical music background. The great-grandson of Padma Bhushan Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, his passion has steered his career towards music, culminating in a music academy in the name of his venerated ancestor. At the opening ceremony, Fazle sat down with You & I to discuss life and work.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m just starting to explore myself. I am unsure where I stand as of yet, as everything is completely new. But all I can say is that at the moment, I am thinking about various paths. I am simultaneously into business, music and events. It’s a fun and wild rollercoaster ride.

How and when did you start singing?
I may have a lineage of music in my blood, but it is all because of my mother. She has been pushing me towards music since I was 11 years old, something which continued into my teenage years, which is when I became serious about music. I held my first concert when I was 16 years old, which started a series thereafter, increasing by the year.

What types of music do you enjoy?
I like to listen to jazz and house, though I have always tried to experiment more with classical and lounge music, or heavy metal. I hope can create something from these. I’m currently working on a project which will be announced via press conference once it is done.
Is there a concert that stands out in your memory?
It has to be my opening concert for the academy, which is a tribute to my great-grandfather, where I simultaneously performed with my father and other well-known artists. Accompanying my father was a little difficult because he is at a higher level than me, which makes it tough to give the audience the same experience and satisfaction he does. But the best concert I have had was in New Delhi, where I performed for a celebration of the Commonwealth Games. We had a huge crowd listening to us (compared to what we usually get), and after experiencing that, putting on a solo performance was difficult to manage.
Which of your works do you rank as the best?
Every song I’ve written goes hand in hand with a situation in life, or an emotion. It may be just a few lines, but they require great effort to express within limitations. I have written a couple of songs on my own, and my personal favorite is ”Mahiya”, which was the first song I wrote that delves into folk music. The other one is ”Tum Naraaz Ho”, which I will always be attached to.
What sort of challenges have you faced in the music industry?
Being a part of this industry is very difficult at present, as we have a lot of talent in the country. So many people are coming forward, including actors who are singing for their own movies. The need for a vocalist is decreasing, which is intimidating. This may be due to advanced recording technology, which has made it easy for anyone to come out and sing. But at the end of the day, you can always tell the difference as every person has his or her own style.
Who do you consider as your mentor?
My father is the one who is genetically responsible for my foray into music, and he has also provided me with guidance in vocal training. I have inherited his style. My mother has been a great source of support and given me a push forward, but she is also my best critic, which has made me what I am. My parents have both played equally important roles in my career and life.
What is your vision for the next five years?
To have an academy or university here in Hyderabad, which would have all instruments available. I also hope to have our own recording studio and record label, to give opportunities for others to showcase their talents across the world.
Do you have any message for the aspiring musicians reading this?
We should not forget our roots. We must promote our culture and decrease our tendency to adapt Western culture, and try to know our traditions in order to pass them down through the generations. We must bind them through music, for music is peace.    

– as told to Shreya