Old school and college days of an unknown singer Zubeen…
I used to roam with my father as he was a magistrate. So I had my schooling in three languages, English, Bengali and Assamese. But at the end of the day it was fun. It basically made me the bohemian and restless Zubeen that you see me today.
Who was your guru at that time?
My first guru was my mother and then Pandit Robin Benerjee taught me tabla for many years. From Guru Ramani Rai I learnt about Assamese folk music also.
How were you inspired to leave Assam? Was s/he the same person who inspired you to sing?
Leaving Assam was just like a quick decision. I came to Mumbai to mix my album in 1995-96 and I stayed for few months. Afterwards, I tried to stay here as long as
possible. But I was always feeling for Assam. I still try to be in Assam for at least one week every month. I never liked the filmy life in Mumbai. I always feel about the expectations of my North East people. I’m here to represent them and their culture i.e. our culture. So, I have miles to go to make them even prouder.
Your journey from Assam to Mumbai…
That was a different kind of journey. When I came to Mumbai, I was fully established as a singer and music director in Assam. So I had a solid platform to back me. Basically, I never struggled in Mumbai. Whatever struggle I did, I did it in Assam. I started playing keyboards for 50 bucks in my college days. After that I played with most of the singers there. Slowly I started composing and singing. Then I did my first album Anamika in 1993. It was a super hit. After that I started running restlessly.
How did you start your struggle? Please tell us about your struggling days. Including your meetings with producers or other media persons…
As I came to Mumbai, after getting established in Assam as a singer and composer, I did not have to struggle as such. I was already a well established star in Assam with all my Assamese songs which gave me a big support.
With whom did you use to share your sad or happy moments at that time?
Mostly with my close friends. That time was very crucial.
How did you plan your struggle?
I never plan anything. I work with my natural creative instinct.
Experience of your first recording day.
That was in Guwahati. It was wonderful and full of fun. I recorded 8 songs in the span of 3 hours.
How was your first taste of success?
Success has no taste. It can be felt. I felt it from my very first day in music because I am born musician which itself I received as legacy from my family.
Please say something about your first album Anamika that gave you a solid base to your career.
I was composing songs from my school days. Anamika was a compilation of my best compositions. I took a loan of 40 thousand for it. It was risky because I was only 20 at that time, but I was confident because I knew I had a different style in my songs. That's why people loved it.
You sang few Hindi songs before 'Ya Ali'. How did that happen?
I sang one great number in Fiza for Ranjit Barot. He was like a mentor to me at that time. He helped me a lot like a big brother. Also Anand Raaj Anand and Annu Malik knew my talent and offered me some wonderful works. I will never forget them.
'Zubeen the musical sensation', how does Zubeen personally react to that?
I like to be sensational always. But I regard myself as a simple musician who is always hungry for creation.
What kind of music do you prefer?
I prefer world music, folk music.
Are you comfortable in singing or composing?
I am comfortable with both singing and composing. Singing is in my blood. Composing is my extension.
What is the future of Zubeen the singer and Zubeen the human being?
It’s critical because I am extending myself in too many things, like filmmaking, social service, wildlife projects and some other business. So let's see. But for me dreams are unlimited because I am an eternal dreamer.