After a Pause

Indie-pop didn't enjoy a long stay in India. The days of Alisha Chinai's blockbuster hit Made in India were gone, and the genre had stopped being the force that it was in the '90s. Bollywood began spewing out some interesting tunes, but it was difficult to keep up. Then, Adnan Sami happened.

The overweight singer, composer, writer and the fastest pianist in the world, Sami's exuberance and love ballads with Asha Bhosle such as Kabhi toh nazar milao and the fun composition Lift karadey, won him a lot of hearts. The melodies were brilliant, the lyrics a little soppy sometimes, but all together they gave the nation a chance to groove to the sound of indie-pop music again. Five years after Kisi Din, Sami is "lighter" and happier and has now released Press Play (Universal Music, Rs 150), which has opened to mixed reviews. "It's taken a long time. But the last five years had me quite busy. There were a lot of tours and concerts, after which I decided to take a break. I also lost my father, who was an inspiration. Coming to terms with grief has taken its own time. But now I have learnt to live with it," says Sami, whose album features diverse styles while retaining his signature love ballads and his upbeat humourous songs.

There he was, a five-year-old, drawn inexorably to the piano in his house in Portugal, which Sami was not allowed to touch. He played it anyway and fell in love with the instrument. "It just happened," says Sami, who adds that it is imperative for any artiste to keep growing. "I have ventured into different genres from Indian classical to jazz, and even Latin styles," says Sami.

Sami's album opens with Ali Ali, a Sufi track, which is a strong track and has been interspersed with the azaan. "It is for the first time that the azaan has been used in a song," says Sami, who adds that the complete process of creating this song was extremely satisfying. Ali Ali is followed by a mellow love ballad Roya (also his wife's name) and Baba, a tribute to his father. There is also a tongue-in-cheek Tere baap ka kya jaata hai and has Sami using humour to deal with life.

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