Dubai musician Fahmil on his humbling rise to popularity

Dubai musician Fahmil on his humbling rise to popularity

By Neha Mahamood

Published: Wed 28 Aug 2019, 11:08 AM

Last updated: Fri 30 Aug 2019, 11:10 AM

Local band on The Rocks' lead vocalist Fahmil Khan has his sights set far. Coming from an engineering background Fahmil decided to put the tech away to pursue his passion for music. A self trained vocalist and guitarist, he is currently the lead singer and guitarist for his band On The Rocks.
Known to mainly play Pop, Sufi, Retro and Contemporary Bollywood songs, Fahmil has come a long way from playing small jam sessions at local cafes to performing alongside music legends like Deepak Dev.
Having performed all over town on many occasions he says Dubai has helped him grow professionally and personally. "I have seen Dubai trans-form and evolve and it never ceases to amaze me. That is what inspires me to grow and change myself. It has been great in accepting me in a field that is competitive but also given so many aspiring musicians a platform to showcase their talent particularly in the last two years where there has been a dramatic change in the music scene.Living and growng up in Dubai has taught me nothing is impossible!" he says.
ahmil opened the Vishal Shekhar's Ishq Wala Love concert at the Dubai World Trade Centre earlier this year and has performed on various platforms in the city such as the Rooftop Royal Ascot, Bar Baar Dubai, Dubai Cultural and Development Centre and many more. We caught up with the artist to know what drives his passion.
You were an engineer who turned to music. What drove you to make such a huge career change?
I have always been passionate about music. What started off as occasional strumming on the guitar from YouTube tutorials led to casual jam sessions at local cafes. Things escalated from there and by word of mouth I was given the opportunity to perform at private gigs as well as popular venues around Dubai. It was then that I realised I was getting paid for something I loved doing and didn't really seem like a chore. Engineering was about connecting with equipment, circuits and technology. music on the other hand connects with emotion and people. That was the game changer for me!
Growing up who were some of your inspirations?
The most inspiring and influential people to me would have to be Mohammed Rafi, Kishore da and definitely my role model Sonu Nigam.
Do you feed off the energy of the audience or do you hone in on your skill and wholly immerse yourself in the act of singing?
My performance is driven by the energy received from the audience. Every song I perform is based on the reaction from the crowd. When I perform I do get wholly immersed in my singing as it is only then that you can connect and reach out to people in the most authentic manner.
With so much of today's entertainment industry focused on money making, how do you want to stand out with your music?
I try to be true to myself at Fahmil's favourite five songs: 1. Ehsaan Tera by Mohammed Rafi 2. Mere Mehboob by Kishore Kumar 3. Teri Bahon Mein Hum by Sonu Nigam 4. Kalank by Arijit Singh 5. Aadat by Atif Aslam all times and that reflects in my performance. I usually make an attempt to blend retro songs with current ones that make my mash ups catchy and nostalgic. I hear a popular song and I try to improvise the groove by implementing various strumming techniques based on my perception of that song. Recently I worked on an original composition Oye Rabba that I am incredibly happy about especially since it has been released. I am now looking forward to the release of my latest original Kehta hai Dil.
You seem really active on social media. How important do you think is it to have a social media presence today?
Social media is of utmost importance in today's day and age. It is a way of reaching the masses in their own comfort zone.Not everyone who likes my music can attend my gigs so I ensure I post my performances and constantly update my newsfeed to reach a network of people who can still catch glimpses and feel like they were part of it. I have grown through social media and it is through this and the wonderful people who listen to me that I have gained new opportunities. It has truly been a humbling experience.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to transition from a non-musi-cal background to pursuing their passion?
It is all about passion! Passion, patience and perseverance. Don't give up on your dreams ever. Resilience is the name of the game.
Looking back at your journey, is there anything you'd do differently?
Life is about moving forward and though looking back for me is never an option, I wish I had started this musical journey a lot earlier than I did. But then again everything happens in good time.

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