Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, known for delivering hit Bollywood songs like "Mitwa" and "Yeh honsla", believes that compact discs are getting phased out by the digital platform even as there is a spate of demand for music now.
The singer with roots in classical music is ready with his third album "Muh Dikhai", which will be released on March 20 on Times Music.
"It's an album, which is coming out after five years. I've not worked on any specific genre in this album. There are more Punjabi songs this time for a change and I'm excited about the response from people," Khan told IANS in an email interaction from Lahore, Pakistan.
Asked why he chose to launch "Muh Dikhai" here even as albums are not doing well in India, Khan said: "CD as a format may have gone down, but music consumption is at an all-time high. The difference is that it happens digitally now."
"I've been inundated with fan messages for the last few years asking me for a new album and new content," said the singer, who has performed across the globe including India, Singapore, Britain and Dubai.
The former Fuzon band member entered Bollywood with the popular number "Mitwa" in 2006 and has since then won hearts of many an Indian. He says singing Bollywood tracks takes up a lot of time which is one of the reasons why he took five years to come up with a new album.
"Bollywood and tours take up most of my time. So, there was hardly any time for my own project. But I'm very happy with my work in Bollywood. I've been blessed with some really great tracks and I've worked with the best music directors and some really good compositions," said Khan, who has worked with Indian composers like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Salim-Sulaiman.
Bollywood projects mostly mean singing someone else's compositions. Instead of considering it as a restriction, the artist in Khan takes it up as a challenge.
"Normally, I'm always offered tracks by producers for movies which they feel are made for me. I never feel restricted because singing another music director's or composer's composition is a challenge. You have to meet the requirement and the mark the composer has set for you in that track; so it is a great experience," said the "Aankhon ke saagar" hitmaker.
"Sometimes, when you do not want to sing a particular melody, it becomes an issue because I don't like to tell a composer that I don't like the composition as I feel every creation is that composer's baby. That hasn't happened very often with me, so it's fine," he added.
But he still has the urge to create music for movies.
"Yes, I'm a composer myself and would love to compose for movies some day. 'Kherheyan de naal', which is my composition has been used in 'Tevar'. But I will compose for a movie, the day I receive a meaningful offer," he said.
The 50-year-old, who believes music is "in my blood and my DNA", is a frequent performer in India and says visa authorities have always been kind to him.
"Even the Indian embassy has been very helpful and cooperative with me in giving visas and making my work here possible almost seamlessly. I do follow all the regulations put down by the authorities and they have always been supportive in giving visas," he said.
The artist from across the border might have a large number of fans in India, but he is yet to be honoured with any of the prestigious Indian awards for his talent.
"I won't say that since I haven't bagged any yet, they are not important at all. They have an important place in every singer's career. But not receiving them doesn't stop your creativity or you creating good music," said Khan.
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected])