Tariq is a young singer and music composer from a town in the north western province of Sri Lanka called Puttalam. A talented singer from a young age, his first breakthrough came on July 31st 1997 at the Puttalam cultural hall where he won recognition for the best recitation on the Milad – Un – Nabi celebration for reciting Qirat. During his early days, Tariq used to sing songs as a session artist, becoming serious in this music business from 2014 onwards. He has sung in variety of languages such as Tamil, Hindi etc.
A few of Tariq’s songs can be downloaded and heard online. In October, 2014 he released his first track as an instrumental version. It featured on digital music stores world-wide and gained good reviews. He also gets support and coaching from Suma Venkatesh and Vidya Subramaniyan (carnatic vocalists) where he started learning Hindustani classical music. Tariq loves to sing in other languages as well, such as Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. Currently he is working on a Hindi album where the lyrics are penned by Mr. Yashdeep from Delhi. In a recent interview, Tariq brought us closer to his art.
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
Tariq: I have been focused on music professionally for the past two years. It started with a piano instrumental. I would say the piece of instrumental music was my first breakthrough. I didn’t expect that the music would get good reviews, but it gave me a turnaround in my career.
I have been singing since 2009 as a karaoke artist. It’s just practicing and recording your voice – nothing else! But, when I started composing for my first tune, I felt something tremendous happen.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Tariq: It all started from Playback singer Karthik. He is the biggest influence in my career. I have been listening to him since his first song. He inspired me a lot. I have recorded a number of songs with my voice, which he has sung. These helped me get some exposure.
- Who are your music gurus?
Tariq: Suma Venkatesh a well-known carnatic vocalist. Initially I started learning Hindustani classical music from her. She has helped me improve my career to the next level. I feel it is better to get proper guidance from experienced people.
- Why are you considering Indian film music?
Tariq: I always feel there something different and unique in Indian film music, especially North Indian music. It is only that I’m giving priority to involve Indian music, although I’m interested in few western genres as well.
- What are your thoughts on visual media and YouTube in general? Do think that video is an appropriate marketing tool for your music?
Tariq: Now YouTube is one of the leading hubs for all level of musicians. No doubt! It’s not only that you are getting paid but also you gain the popularity from views, and much more.
Music video is so popular nowadays and it’s the primary way to spread you music to create an unlimited fan base. ‘Action speaks louder than words’.
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio environment?
Tariq: Obviously, my first preference is to spend time in studio environment, although I like to perform live with a fusion band as well. Working in a studio environment with an audio engineer, mixing engineer, instrumentalist, lyricist and singers is really interesting.
- Tell us something about your lyrics and music in your releases. Do you handle both by yourself or do you work with other composers and writers?
Tariq: I can work as a singer and composer, but I never wrote a lyric before in any occasion. I worked with multilingual lyric writers for a couple of recordings, they worked tremendously well. I admired their works in many occasions. So it’s always better to find the right people. I also worked with some singers and composers as well for different soundtracks.
- On which one of your songs do you feel you personally delivered your best performance so far, both technically and emotionally?
Tariq: I feel I didn’t deliver the best yet. Probably, it would be in my album which will be released soon. Sometimes you have to wait in order to get your best track recorded. Although music is loved by most, there are people considering lyrics over music. So it depends on the story that you are portraying.
- How do you market and manage your music career? Do you have a management team to assist you or do you control everything by yourself?
Tariq: I have been approached few times, but I it’s better to find someone to do this separately. I feel I need to do more in music in order to market properly. Once I’m on a good move, I’ll definitely consider someone.
- Outside of your home country, how has your music been received?
Tariq: Considering the digital distribution figures, it sailed throughout the world very well. However, most of the reviews came from Sri Lanka.
The important thing is to know that the music is loved by anyone regardless of the genre. Although my target listeners are mostly in Asia, people from various parts in the world showed their interest in the music which I delivered.
- What type of music that you are involved apart from Indian film genre?
Tariq: Trance, R&B, POP and Fusion music.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Tariq: Yes. The biggest opportunity is interconnecting anyone through social media nowadays. So, Connecting people, Digital distribution, Marketing are primary strategies in music in general. I have had good experiences working with lyric writers and fellow artists online. I don’t have ideas about “Copy-and-paste” artists. It is better to get the copyright for your product, even for a minute soundtrack, so this will keep the original artist’s rights. Copyrights, confidential agreements, verified accounts are recommended for any celebrity to isolate ourselves as original.
- Have you sung any song as a karaoke version apart from Tamil & Hindi? And how was the experience of doing it?
Tariq: There’s one song in the Telugu language. I literally enjoyed it, even though I’m not conversant in the language.
- Could you tell fans what your latest single and/or album release is and where to find it?
Tariq: I wanted them to Google it. But in order to find out official releases, my Facebook page and Twitter profile are my primary tools for such update, so I always like people to visit there to find my latest releases exclusively.
- As you work your way through your career, which more than any other fires-up your imagination – A Grammy award, Platinum music sales or any other tangible milestone?
Tariq: I never considered an award. But, when the music speaks well in the days ahead, I would expect that I deserve something for it.
- What is about acting assignments?
Tariq: A very funny question I never thought about it. It’s better to do only what we are interested thoroughly.
- How are friends involved in your career?
Tariq: Friends are much more important in everyone’s life. They are integral part of my life. Taking into the career, they used to encourage me a lot. You can’t just even forget to mention them on this occasion.
- How can you express your school life?
Tariq: That is unbelievable. One of those periods I enjoyed more than anything. It was really a great feeling! Everyone must have had that.
- Is there’s someone behind you? Any girlfriends, for example?
Tariq: I’m often asked to provide answer for this question. The answer is simple. No girlfriend! I usually feel free to be alone, which gives me time to consider any work properly. It’s my preference.
Everyone has a different story. For some people, it’s definitely a woman behind their secret to success. It’s widely acknowledged!
- What are your upcoming focuses?
Tariq: I keep focusing on my music and singing to the next level to attract listeners. I always like to work with people who are seriously interested in this career. My work ethic is based on the following motto –
“When there is
Sincerity and hard-work,
The work will be a