Bangla music has been moving through several transformations over the years. The latest trend on the rise is Urban Bengali music. Muzahid Abdullah aka Muza seems to be the next in line enhancing the genre. The talented artist was able to connect with his audience through several hits within a comparatively short period of time. During an exclusive interview with TINDS, Muza shares the story of his musical journey and the becoming of a sensation of the nation.
What was your childhood like?
MUZA: I was born in Sylhet and moved to the United States during 2002 when I was four or five years old. My father was always here and later brought me and my mother. I grew up in Queens, New York and I have been here all my life. I grew up listening to commercial pop music, I would listen to whatever the majority of people were listening to. I have listened to so much commercial music growing up that I now have the ears to identify the commercial sounds and stuff.
Tell us a little bit about your musical journey?
MUZA: As a child, I was not much into Bangla music, but then one day my uncle played some song of Habib Wahid and I was hooked. I was able to relate to him in some sort of way and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I always liked music in general and they had music classes in my school and I used to be very good at it. I am a Leo, so I enjoy the attention, whenever I was singing or was on stage. I am very competitive in general and always wanted to be the best. I would often skip normal classes and spend time in the studio trying to learn new stuffs and I was also very eager to create something of my own. I was not a good singer but what helped me the most was the fact that regardless of what people said I continued and slowly I became better. Then after that, I got annoyed waiting on people to make beats or it doesn’t sound like the way I want it to, so I began learning how to produce.
You’ve released songs in different languages like Arabic, how many languages do you speak?
MUZA: I just love the idea of language being an instrument, for example different dialects give you different types of frequencies in your ears. I like to read music based on their frequencies, like how it hits your ears. French music, Spanish, K-Pop, they all hit you differently when you’re listening to them and I like the art of it. So, it’s less about speaking and more about how connected the music is to your ears. However, I took Spanish for 8 years and since my I am a Muslim, I went to Arabic school and learned Arabic as well. I watched a ton of Bollywood movies and was able to pick up Hindi through that. I’m never afraid to cross borders and combine different languages. I’ve always believed language is the new instrument.
How many instruments do you play?
MUZA: I just play the piano. I just sit at my computer and make everything up. It’s basically all tech, sometimes I don’t even play the chords, I just draw them out.
When did you first think of making Bangla music?
MUZA: The American market is very saturated and it’s pretty hard to get into. So, I wanted to build myself and try something new and different putting whatever I learned into something that the youth will enjoy. I did a Hindi song and sent the demo to Qinetic Music, and they wanted me to do something in Bangla instead. That’s how ‘Bondhurey’ came into existence. It was the first Bangla song I made, literally within a span of 10 to 20 minutes.
How do you feel about the new trend in Bangla music and being a part of it?
MUZA: I feel great that I got to connect to my roots. Being a Bangali I would often listen to Bangla songs at several places and what saddened me is that it all sounded so old and outdated. Everything was beautiful, but the beat is mostly missing and when it comes to music I am all about the beat. The journey was really fun because everything that I learned from the western scene I was able to put into my own native music.
How do you feel about your songs being such huge wedding hits?
MUZA: Growing up, it would bother me that every Bangladeshi wedding I’d go to would be playing Hindi songs – no disrespect to Hindi and Punjabi music – they’re amazing in their own right. But my goal currently is to make really good Bangla songs. The way I was raised, I am very closely tied to my culture, and I don’t want people detaching themselves from it either. ‘Lilabali’ is such a traditional song that even my great-great-grandfather knew about it. And now, the next generation will have a good remix to celebrate with. Bangla music is cool, and I feel great being able to introduce the audience to the cooler versions.
Tell us a little about your experience working with Habib Wahid in your last song ‘Beni Khuley’?
MUZA: It was phenomenal. When I prepared the song and sent it to the label company, they said Habib Wahid might be interested in this. So when that came up I instantly said, forget about my album, if Habib wants to do something with the song, let him. But they wanted me to change the beat of the song, so I reached out to my friend in LA, an extraordinary producer to help me with the song. We worked on it and then later when I came to Bangladesh to shoot for the song, just two days before the label company wanted me to change the beat again. That’s when Fuad bhai came into the scene and helped us get done with the final piece just two days before the music video shoot.
What would you say your struggles are making the kind of music that you do?
MUZA: I wouldn’t say struggles because I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I never have problems when it comes to making new stuff. It’s mostly about finding something that the audience can relate to. Everyone makes songs just to make them, I rather want something that the majority of people can relate to, may it be lyrically, musically, emotionally or instrumentally. It’s less of a struggle and more of trying to find what the mass would appreciate. It is also very important to like what you’re working on because people come in second but you come first.
What can the audience expect from Muza in the coming days?
MUZA: I have been working on a few new projects. I am also working with some new upcoming artists, because a part of making Bangla music bigger and better involves giving the new people an opportunity to help them grow. My goal is to make folk music in different ways and introduce new styles to it compared to the few songs that I have already worked on.
What would your advice be to new artists?
MUZA: I would suggest everyone to be original. Many new artists are often copying other western artists, it’s almost like everyone’s trying to do trap music. My suggestion would be to not chase other people’s music and instead make something of your own. My biggest advice to newcomers would be to pay attention to the frequencies because that’s what hits your brain first, that’s the science behind music.
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