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Indie-pop didn't enjoy a long stay in India. The days of Alisha Chinai's blockbuster song Made in India were gone, and the genre had stopped being the force it was in the '90s. Bollywood began spewing 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 joyful exuberance and love ballads with Asha Bhosle, such as Kabhi to nazar milao and the fun composition Lift karadey, won him many admirers. 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 a mediocre album titled Kisi Din (2007), 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 inspired me so much. Coming to terms with grief has taken its own time. And now that I have learnt to live with it, I wanted to release some new material," says Sami, whose album features diverse styles while retaining his signature love ballads and his up-tempo humorous songs.
Sami says it's imperative for an artiste to keep growing. "I have ventured into different genres — from Indian classical to jazz, and even Latin styles," he says, adding that his music is the merging point for everything he has heard.
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, adding that the 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's trials and tribulations.