Interviews

LOUDEST EXCLUSIVE: Coke Studio Artist Alif On His Music Journey

By Ojasvi Kapoor
August 01, 2023
LOUDEST EXCLUSIVE: Coke Studio Artist Alif On His Music Journey

Having gained recognition for his melodious and evocative voice, Alif made a significant impact as a Coke Studio artist, where his performances received widespread acclaim. His unique ability to fuse traditional Kashmiri folk music with contemporary elements has earned him a special place in the hearts of music enthusiasts worldwide.

Alif's artistic endeavors have not gone unnoticed, with accolades such as winning the hearts of millions through the Coke Studio platform and being honored at esteemed events like the Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival.

From his early beginnings to the present, Alif spoke with heartfelt humility, cherishing every step of the way. Reflecting on his past, He couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the experiences that have shaped him as an artist and as an individual.

Edited excerpts:

Q1. Can you tell us about your musical journey so far and who your biggest inspiration is?

My musical journey has been a gratifying one, and I'm truly thankful for the experiences it has brought me. More than being inspired by something specific to pursue music, it was music itself that saved me and helped me find my true self. The strength and solace I gained from it motivated me to continue on this path. As an artist, the journey is endless, and there is always room to learn and face new challenges. I started this journey a long time ago, and looking back, I remain humble and grateful for everything.

Q2. What is your process of writing songs and how do you envision them?

I believe there is no fixed template for writing a song; what matters most is the result you achieve. When I teach songwriting and poetry, I always tell my students that the first priority should be to satisfy themselves with their creations. If you find it satisfying and meaningful, then it is worth pursuing further, considering the audience comes later. Songs have the power to evoke various emotions and moods, and that's the essence of their impact.

Q3. Tell us about your new song "Fitna Fitoor"; you have come up with a new song after 10 years?

Yes, "Fitna Fitoor" is a song that was created 10 years ago, but each song has its own timing for release. The song revolves around the concept of chaos and madness. It delves into the idea of how much madness one needs to overcome the chaos in life, making it a compelling theme for the song.

Q4. When did you realize that you wanted to pursue music as your career, and did you consider other options?

After completing my engineering and MBA, I had the option to work as an engineer, but I was passionate about music. I made the choice to pursue music and continuously learn and grow within the industry. It was a decision that resonated deeply with me, and I have been committed to it ever since.

Q5. How did growing up in the valleys of Kashmir shape your childhood, and do you think this upbringing is reflected in your music?

Growing up in Kashmir had a profound impact on my life, especially in terms of the language I think in. My mother tongue is Kashmiri, and I write songs in Hindustani, Urdu, and Kashmiri, which reflects my upbringing and cultural influences.

Q6. Does "Fitna Fitoor" paint the journey you have had as an artist in India?

Absolutely, "Fitna Fitoor" mirrors the journey of every artist. There is an inherent fear of success and the limelight that makes artists hesitant to shine brightly. The song encapsulates the artist's inner battle with self-sabotage and the pursuit of a meaningful journey where everyone can find their place to shine.

Q7. How did you create your album "Siyaah," and how did the idea come about?

"Siyaah" is a result of numerous songs I have written over time. As time was passing by swiftly, I felt a sense of urgency to share these creations with the world before it was too late. The album is a collection of songs that not only inspire me but also have the potential to inspire others.

Q8. Nowadays, reels are trending, and songs become viral hits quickly. Do you think record labels are no longer necessary?

Utilizing platforms like reels to promote music is undoubtedly beneficial. However, we must be cautious not to become slaves to technology. It is essential for audiences to appreciate and consume new and diverse music, not just what is trending. Record labels can still play a crucial role in promoting and supporting artists' work, bringing a unique perspective and expertise to the table.

Q9. Can you tell us about a memorable performance collaboration that significantly impacted your artistic journey?

One of the most memorable performances was in Aden, where I performed in front of an audience that didn't understand my language. Despite the language barrier, their courtesy and willingness to listen were overwhelming. It was a humbling experience, and it reminded me of the universal language of music that transcends barriers.

Q10. As a singer-songwriter and poet, what challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?

Being an artist comes with daily challenges. I have struggled with self-sabotage, comparison with others, staying continuously inspired, and keeping my skills updated. To overcome these challenges, I remind myself constantly of my passion for music and the purpose it serves in my life. It's essential to focus on self-growth and remain dedicated to the craft.

Q11. Congratulations on winning the Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival! How was the experience?

Thank you! It was an incredible feeling to be recognized and honored at the Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival. Such recognition motivates me to keep pushing the boundaries of my art and continue creating meaningful music.

Q12. Can you share any upcoming projects with us?

Certainly! We have "Siyaah" parts 3 and 4 coming soon, which I'm excited to share with the audience. Stay tuned for more music and artistic endeavours!

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