Music is my first love: Hesham Abdul Wahab
April 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM

In 2007 when Hesham Abdul Wahab took the stage of Indian television channel Asianet's 'Idea Star Singer' little did he realise that in less than five years time he would be associated along with the legendary British singer and songwriter Sami Yusuf.

Hesham's dreamy voice on his debut album 'Qadam Badha' is already making waves among music lovers across the globe. The 12 songs featured in his album in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Malayalam and Hesham composed English in collaboration with Yusuf's record label Andante Records. These songs are drawn from devotional music.

Hesham who hails from Indian state of Kerala was picked up by Yusuf when he was a student of sound engineering in Dubai. The young singer had previously contributed as playback singer to films such as 'Traffic' and 'Urumi'. A huge fan of musical genius A.R. Rahman, Hesham says music has always been the number one priority in his life.  

Excerpts from the interview

It's always a dream come true for any singer to have his own album. Your first debut album 'Qadam Badha' is already released worldwide. Tell us about it?

'Qadam Badha' means "Step forward". As you said it's a dream for any new singer to have his own album in order to create an identity. I am very thankful to the Almighty, my family and my record label Andante

But for me, more than a singer, I was able to re-invent and discover a learning musician in me.

I am a dreamer who likes to bring my music to the world to create harmony and peace all around us, in a special way. Having said that, 'Qadam Badha' has become more special when I was blessed with Sami Yusuf's magic touch in it.

I am very proud that I got to do something traditionally inclined. The album consists of 11 tracks with one track dedicated to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Rafeeque Ahammed, Faez Choudhary, Shiyas Abdul Wahab and Aekata Warrier have penned the lyrics for my album.

How was your experience in recording it? How challenging was it to make an album of your own?

It took me 3-4 years to make this album. The experience involved was deeply of a learning character. The musicians involved where quite patient and understanding as we had to go through several phases due to the album being produced in the Middle East and India  simultaneously.

It is always a challenge when you make a new product and present it to the world. You have to push it and you have to work for it day and night.

The album we understand has songs that have a Sufi touch. You have taken a journey through many of the famous late sufi poets in this album. How did you do this? Have you done a research while working on this project? Share with us that experience.

Sufi or Sufism by itself is a very delicate topic. I would rather speak about how it influenced me and my album. I always wanted to do something traditional and close to the earthy sound I envisioned growing in far apart from the worldly sounds. Andante Records welcomed this concept wholeheartedly as they too are not the typical record label.

They promoted dignified music that was rooted deep within and had a historic richness that could touch people of all ages. Bulleh Shah, Jalaluddin Rumi, Amir Khusro where some of the mystic poets that moved me since years and I thought this was the right platform to respectfully share their lines to the world with a touch of my sound and music.

That was how Qadam Badha started taking shape. It was not easy as this was the old Punjabi language. I had to go through several sessions with some of my contacts in North India to study and practice the language. Faez Choudhary from Pakistan, who has also written a song for my album, helped.

You have been associated with British singer/songwriter Sami Yusuf. How did you get noticed by his label Adante Records?

I had performed You Came to Me on a reality show earlier and happ

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