Asha Bhosle Curated

Padma Vibhushan Awardee Singer

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Asha Bhosle have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Asha Bhosle's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming singers. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • Do you have special interest in the decor of the restaurants?

    When Anand was working on the decor, he added those glass bead curtains as I used to love them and had them hanging at home when my kids were young

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  • why did you start your business in Dubai and not in India?

    The ease of business is there, of course. Dubai was the ideal location because of its cosmopolitan nature as this city has a lot of Indians as well as people from other nationalities… It was the best testing ground for the brand

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  • Do share any special bond with UAE?

    Asha Bhosle is an Indian brand but Dubai understood the value and extended her brand into the food business. So, Asha’s as a food brand is a made-in-UAE brand. And today, Dubai is exporting this brand all over the GCC and the United Kingdom (UK)

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  • How are your fans reacting to your food?

    We have kept growing over the last 17 years. This would not have been possible if our guests didn't like what we are offering. There is a demand for Asha's and my fans seem to like my songs and food as well,

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  • How did you get involved in to restaurant business?

    I loved cooking from my younger days. My children and I even thought of publishing a cookery book, but there were so many recipe books already available in the market that it did not seem interesting. And who reads them anyway? My son, Anand, suggested the idea of a restaurant

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  • Can you share one of the special memories of past birthdays?

    This one time, many fans had come to wish me all through the day. I was with my children Varsha and Anand. As all of us were exhausted, so we decided to dine out. Anand said he wanted Chinese but Varsha was in the mood to eat Indian food. They started arguing in the car, and I said, 'eat whatever you children want, just don't fight!' Finally, we made our way into a hotel, and inside a dark room. Then, suddenly the lights came on, and I find myself in a room studded with my loved ones -- there was (late husband) RD Burman, Lata (Mangeshkar) didi, my mother, (younger sisters) Usha and Meena, (brother) Hridaynath, besides industry colleagues including Hariharan, Shailender Singh, Nitin Mukesh among many others. I was so surprised! We sang and chatted all through that memorable evening. Since that birthday, this year's has to be the special one. I am celebrating with my fans this time.

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  • Has anything changed over the years for you?

    Every morning I wake up to music even today, I do my riyaaz for an hour every day. Riyaaz is not a task for me, it is my lifestyle. I carry an electric tanpura even when I travel, and for one hour, wherever I am, I have to do my riyaaz. That is my way of starting my day, there is no other way for me. If God has gifted me a voice, I should keep nurturing it. Regular riyaaz beautifies and maintains the voice. Iska koi shortcut nahin hai.

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  • Why did she decide to celebrate her birthday away from her very own city Mumbai this time?

    Every time I come to Dubai I get so much love from fans. Every year on my birthday, people from here make video calls to wish me. They come to my restaurant here and look for me. So, I thought why not celebrate my birthday here this time? For me, it was more about meeting fans at my restaurant, arranging food that I specially curate for our menu, and also have a good time

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  • Can you share some of your special birthday memories ?

    This one time, many fans had come to wish me all through the day. I was with my children Varsha and Anand. As all of us were exhausted, so we decided to dine out. Anand said he wanted Chinese but Varsha was in the mood to eat Indian food. They started arguing in the car, and I said, ''eat whatever you children want, just don''t fight!'' Finally, we made our way into a hotel, and inside a dark room. Then, suddenly the lights came on, and I find myself in a room studded with my loved ones -- there was (late husband) RD Burman, Lata (Mangeshkar) didi, my mother, (younger sisters) Usha and Meena, (brother) Hridaynath, besides industry colleagues including Hariharan, Shailender Singh, Nitin Mukesh among many others. I was so surprised! We sang and chatted all through that memorable evening. Since that birthday, this year''s has to be the special one. I am celebrating with my fans this time.

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  • what are your favourite dishes?

    I designed the menu which is a combination of veg and non-veg cuisine. I love cooking and feeding people, and I really take special care of what should be on the menu. For instance, in the biryani section, I specially included fish biryani and kesar biryani. Sultani kebab is one of the recipes I got from Lucknow. It is prepared in an old style of cooking

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  • Why did you decide to celebrate your birthday away from your very own city Mumbai this time?

    Every time I come to Dubai I get so much love from fans. Every year on my birthday, people from here make video calls to wish me. They come to my restaurant here and look for me. So, I thought why not celebrate my birthday here this time? For me, it was more about meeting fans at my restaurant, arranging food that I specially curate for our menu, and also have a good time

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  • Which singer can become a legend like you in the current music industry?

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  • Tell us about your restaurants which you have opened in Dubai,Kuwait,Abu Dhabi with name Asha's?

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  • You are the most recorded artist in the world.How does it feel to hold such a record?

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  • Some of your favourite films?

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  • What are your views on Dilip Kumar?

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  • Who is your favourite actor?

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  • Do you ever thought of doing acting?

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  • Who is the pillar of support in your life today?

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  • Was RD Burman the greatest music director of our industry?

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  • Do you like experimenting like RD Burman?

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  • Talk us about your relationship with Pancham Da (RD Burman)?

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  • Will you mentor young singers?Will you train them, help them come up with original songs or with improvisations as you did?

    I want to do that, but the new generation... they are very stubborn... they don't care if you tell them something. They will say, 'Okay, Okay, I know that' if I say don't eat curd, that it is bad for your voice. Or don't eat acidic stuff, it's bad for you, they will say, 'We will eat what we like.' So, they are like that.They don't want to spend time. They don't have patience. It is all about commercial for them.

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  • What about the talent you see on these television shows? Aren't you impressed by any of them?

    They are only singing our songs. They are listening to our songs more than 50 times and memorising and singing them. They are singing correct when they are singing them 50 times over.So I am thinking, they can copy, but they are not original.For them, it is just a business, this kind of singing -- copying and singing the songs.

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  • Who was your best music director?

    his is very difficult because every music director, they give some good songs -- three to four songs. But they are very nice songs and every music director does that -- Madan Mohan, Jaidev, Shankar-Jaikishan, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, S D Burman.They all gave good songs.But R D was very different. His music was always ahead -- 40 years, 50 years (ahead). He was always ahead of his time and until now, he is popular like anything.Every music director copies him now. Every singer sings his songs on stage. So, he is a very popular music director and he has got a very different style.Madan Mohan also has a very different style. We, who are classical based, can sing everything more than others. When you hear the song, we understand it better.

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  • Who were the jazz greats who were a big influence you? Were you influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong and such legends?

    Yes, yes. We used to love all of them. I have listened to all of them -- every one of these musicians and singers.My first hero was Frank Sinatra. I knew all the songs, My Way, New York, New York... Also, I loved Dean Martin, and also I loved that man... the black singer with them.

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  • You started of sort of the same way, but quickly made your mark by fusion songs, and then songs with a Western touch, a mix of of light classical.Some people strongly criticised this as impure, contaminating Indian classical music and crass commercialisation. How would you counter such criticism?

    People criticised me very much at that time, but I think they are hypocrites because they liked those songs, they would sing those songs, they would listen to those songs, but they write all the time that she is singing bad songs and all that.I did not care about that. I don't pay attention to that. I had to survive. I had to take care of my three children. I had to work, I needed money at that time. So, I don't care about what people would say.I want to work, and I sang any song I got.I don't care about people judging me... I care about music and that is all I wanted to do.

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  • How much of an inspiration was your father Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar and your sister Lata Mangeshkar in your taking to singing from such a young age and then in your entire singing career that has spanned over six decades?

    Oh, my father, he was my guru. He is with me until now. Always, I feel he is with me,. Didi (elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar) is also my inspiration but I did not copy her.I always did my own style because if I sing like her, then people, I don't think, will like that.I had a different style, a Western style. Anywhere I go, I will adapt that style.That's why people love me, because I am singing all types, all styles, all languages.People say, 'Asha sing Bengali, Asha sing this and that' and I am singing like that. So you feel young. Makes me feel young. If you feel young inside and in the mind, then the mind is working your body and that makes you feel young. If you said, 'Oh, I am old, I am old,' then I will feel very old.

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  • Do you do anything like yoga to keep fit for high-energy stage performances?

    Every morning, I do my breathing and say 'Om... Om.' That is yoga, then I am going on walks every morning.

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  • What do you do to keep your vocal cords in such great shape?

    My voice, I am keeping well because every morning, I do classical music rehearsals, always training my voice. That's how I have maintained my voice because if you are not doing practice always, then your voice will go.

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  • What is amazing is that you have endeared yourself not only to Indian/South Asian American communities here, but also to mainstream audiences.Many Americans, including longtime diplomats who have served in India, students, business people who have traveled and lived in India over the past several decades are your appreciative fans.What do you believe explains this?

    I don't know. Maybe because I am singing every style of Indian songs and language and mixing it up with the Western style also, and changing the voice and all that to suit the various styles.I have sung in all languages and so every people know me -- Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu.I think American people also like to listen and dance to Indian music, especially Bollywood music. So they want to see that and hear the songs and that's why I think they also like my songs.

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  • You have toured the US several times , performed at some of the major centres in this country, including the Kennedy Centre. What made you keep coming to the US?How would you describe the Indian Diaspora's continuing enthusiastic response to your performances over past decades?

    I have been singing for the last 72 years, so Indian people all over the world know me from their childhood. Even though they are here, they don't forget Indian music and my songs. I am with them always because in some ways, we grew up together. When I come here, they want to see me, I want to see them because they have been here for so many years, and for them, it brings back a lot of memories. It is nostalgia for them, about when they were young, when they fell in love and then for some, love and lost (chuckling). So they can remember all those things in their life. They can also remember India and they feel like they have been transported back to India.

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  • What kind of a musical equation do you share with Lataji?

    We talk about a lot of things, aside from music. But when it comes to discussing songs she says she doesn’t understand what’s happening with regards to the creation of music. She tells me that she and I have both been a part of good times and done qualitative work. She even wonders if musicians of today can come close to the kind of work we did earlier. We both feel that today’s music isn’t very high class and we don’t even discuss it that much. You will still be amazed if you listen to numbers by the likes of SD Burman, RD Burman, Madan Mohan, Shankar-Jaikishan etc. Evergreen numbers were penned by lyricists such as Shakeel Badayuni and Sahir Ludhianvi. But today, do you see anyone writing like that?

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  • It’s very rare that labels are interested in marketing or promoting ghazal singers as compared to pop singers or Bollywood music.What are your thoughts about this?

    I visit weddings and I see that from elderly women, to the bride, to small children- everyone dances. This proves that everyone wants to dance and couldn’t before because of circumstances. Now that they can, dance songs are being made to cater to that. No one is bothered about listening to the song nor do they understand the lyrics. They just want the beats. Maybe they will themselves realise that now this trend is being overdone and they would wish to listen to some different music. Maybe then, things will change.

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  • Do you think the genre of ghazals is dying?

    Everything is changing today from the kind of clothes we wear to the kind of food we eat. But the same shouldn’t happen with music because the ghazals that have been written, created and the way they are sung, holds a lot of importance in the field of music. People don’t have time to listen to classical music but ghazals can be listened to. There are many ghazal singers who can’t be surpassed such as Mehdi Hassan. Ghulam Ali too falls in the same league. Because of modern technology such as the television, people have started living a fast-paced life. They don’t have the time to sit down and listen to music.

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  • Most people are still addicted to the old film music. Why do you think that is?

    Though music has undergone a change, people still remember songs from the older times. They even wish to listen to the same tracks on stage today. This might be the case because of the meaningful lyrics or the melodious tune to the songs or the quality of the voices in them. Singers sang those numbers with a lot of feelings. Today, no one has the voice quality of Lata didi, Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi or Kishore Kumar. The feelings with which these singers sang in those times, are missing these days. Today, one can only find fast music and noise around.

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  • Why do you feel the quality of music has dropped today?

    A couple of years back when songs with lyrics such as ‘Munni’ and ‘Halkat’ were created, I felt that the standard of music had really dropped. These days however, there are nice and slow songs being made. But even these songs aren’t like the ones we sang in the earlier times. The songs that we sang back in those days were soulful and had a quality to them. Today, songs aren’t that beautiful.

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  • Back then you created lot of independent music but the genre is non-existent today.

    Non-filmy is difficult today because people don't bring out CDs, records are gone. People are selling old stuff today.

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  • How was it like working with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan?

    Working with Ali Akbar Khan sahab was particularly challenging. To sing such highly classical songs of his gharana was tough. It had a difficult laya and taal (tempo and rhythm) and there were so many ragas and difficult ones like Sankarabharanam.

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  • Did you also learnt music from Ustad Akbar Ali Khan?

    Yes, I had also learnt music from him. He had composed for the film Aandhiyan (1952) and I had sung for it. I got to know him during this time and started learning music from him but he didn't have much time, nor did I, so I couldn't learn much. Working on this album, people told him 'Why are you getting a playback singer to sing classical music', to which he said ‘only she can sing this and nobody else’. He trusted me.

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  • You have done so many collaborations with Leslie Lewis, Code Red, Michael Stipe, the Kronos Quartet. What led you to cross over to new genres and make new experiments?

    I always wanted to do new things. If you don't try out new things then you will be left behind. I collaborated. My son Anand Bhonsle has always supported me in these things. Had he not supported me, I wouldn't have been able to do such work. He is always there. Even on social media platforms like Twitter, he guides me.

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  • Umrao Jaan was a landmark film in every aspect. It was a milestone in your career as well. Do you think you ever got to sing those kind of ghazals again in your career?

    Nobody makes those kind of songs. It was a different film. Rekha ji was part of it. Khayyam sahab who composed its music was a fine musician. Its lyrics were extraordinary, the story, the direction...and when all these things came together, it just worked out very well. Umrao Jaan had all the songs by me. Had Khayyam sahab wanted, he could have chosen someone else to sing other songs but he didn't because he wanted one voice for the heroine through the film. Today, there are no songs for the heroine. It's usually dance songs and duets. But yes, there came a film called Begum Jaan in which there was a song like that but the film didn't do well so the song also didn't do well.

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  • Some of your best songs came from your work with the legendary musician OP Nayyar like “Aao huzoor tumko”, “Jaiye aap kahan jayenge” “Haule haule chalo”. What was the understanding between you?

    His first film was Cham Chama Cham (1952) and at that time I think I was either in Filmistan or Bombay Talkies. His second film was Aar Paar (1954). Both these films were being worked on simultaneously. When he made me sing for Mangu (1954), he felt that I can sing his style of songs. Whatever new he wanted to do, he felt, could be done with my voice. Geeta ji (Geeta Dutt) used to sing, Shamshaad ji (Shamshaad Begum) used to sing but their style was different. I used to sing in different styles which is why I think I got to sing for him more. When it comes to your profession, nobody gives you work because of your relationship but on your merit.

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  • Was it a conscious decision to sing for different heroines, vamps and character artistes?

    Yes, it was by choice.

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  • Earlier in the film music industry, every actor had one voice. For instance, Manoj Kumar and Mohammad Rafi, Raj Kapoor- Mukesh. But you sang for different heroines, vamps and character artistes. Was it challenging?

    Do you remember Navrang? Mr.C Ramchandra and Bharat Vyas had done the music and V Shantaram ji had made the film. There was a song picturised on the nautch girl and I sang the whole song with a twisted mouth “Aa dil se dil milale, oh rasiya”. I also sang the song picturised on the heroine. So, at that time, I had to do these things. If you are not singing for the heroine but for someone else, you had to work on the required expressions and it used to be difficult.

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  • Many of the dishes in your restaurant originate from your own Indian recipes. Do you enjoy British food?

    've had fish and chips a number of times, but I always think it's lacking a bit of spice. The dish could do with a bit of chilli. I'd enjoy it more with a bit of chilli!

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  • Is there a connection between singing and cooking for you?

    Yes, definitely - because if you can sing well then you need to eat well, and if you eat well then you usually enjoy cooking. Cooking comes from the heart - it should be made with love, for others to enjoy, just like singing. I sing from the heart, with love for others to enjoy. I love cooking as much as I love singing - that's why I have my signature dishes at my restaurant.

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  • Your older sister is the equally famous playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. Has there ever been any rivalry?

    Lata has a very different singing style to me - we are very different in other ways too. For example, she likes to have long hair and I like mine short. But we're very close - we have never competed with each other. There's a lot of love between us and I thoroughly enjoy singing with her.

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  • Is there anyone you'd like to duet with?

    Barbara Streisand - I'd love to sing with her.

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  • Many people around the world enjoy your music - what do you listen to?

    I enjoy listening to many genres of music from light classical to western such as Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and The Beatles.

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  • What do you think of the song Brimful of Asha?

    I've heard it many times and I like it. I'm flattered and amazed how people who don't even know me have featured me in a song - and people who didn't know of me before, now know of me through this song.

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  • You've also acted - do you wish you had acted more?

    No - I'm not too keen on acting. With singing you get lost in the music - I go into another world when I'm singing. But with acting the directors are always stopping to adjust the lighting for example. It spoils the flow - so no I don't have any regrets.

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  • What is your favourite Bollywood film?

    I'm not keen on films which depict a lot of violence. I prefer films and dramas based on families and relationships - films which focus on love and harmony. They're the films which have the best songs too - a song for the mum, a song for the son etc… I can't pick one single film out. I've seen and worked on so many - how can I choose one single film? It's too difficult!

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  • You've been the playback singer for dozens of Indian female actresses - do you have a favourite?

    Yes, Madhubala was a beautiful person, both in her looks and personality and I was really fond of her. But I enjoyed working with all the leading ladies really.

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  • What are your favourite memories from your career?

    I always enjoyed singing and working with the late Kishore Kumar. He was a legendary playback singer, an actor and a producer/director. It was always both a challenge and a positive experience working with Kishore - I knew that if I was singing with Kishore Kumar then the recording was going to be something special.

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  • You've worked in the music industry for so many years - do you still get nervous before a performance?

    Yes I still get nervous from time to time. All artists do and I think being nervous is a good thing when you're about to perform. It helps with the performance. But once I get into the song, the nerves disappear.

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  • Wasn't your relationship with RD Burman strained later?

    Not exactly.Wrong people around him misguided him.Any successful artist loves chamchas.They tried to separate us.When I couldn't tolerate it anymore,I explained the situation to him.He realised it

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  • How do you feel when people compare you with Lata?

    Good and bad.No can match her.It is an honour that people compare my voice with hers.But bad,because we are two separate identities with different kind of voices.

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  • How different are you from Lata?

    She is older by four years,she is like my mother.We have kept our professions separate from family life.

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  • What about the men in your life?

    The childrens have grown up,and I feel uncomfortable if someone points out the hard times I've had. Ganpatrao and Pancham (RD Burman) are no more.I had a unique relationship with Pancham.He was a great music director who exploited my vocal chords like nobody could.We both loved food,music and the good things in life.And yet maintained our privacy,by choice.

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  • Was there no disappointment?

    Initially,when I got into world of music,I was treated like an underdog.But I couldn't have backed out.

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  • What's your mantra for success?

    Take risks.Never say die.It has worked for me.My priorities were children,then music.Whatever came my way to help me,I took it.The rest I dumped ruthlessly.

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  • Who do you give credit for your success?

    My parents and God.I believe in destiny and the philosophy of karma.Many people have contributed,but I struggled alone.For the latest success,the credit really goes to my children.

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  • How is your voice still so young?

    Riyaz,45 minutes every day.Actually,you sound as old as you feel.I always felt young at heart.

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  • What motivates you to sing at this age?

    I constantly need something new and challenging.

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