"I feel that is the most important thing in song creation."
Progressing within the music industry since an early age, talented British Asian singer Touqeer Butt announces the highly anticipated release of his debut single ‘Ek Hi To Dil’.
Radio presenter and producer turned singer, Touqeer has successfully kickstarted his singing aspirations that utilises his powerful yet soothing vocals.
With his South Asian heritage and British upbringing, Touqeer has always committed to fusing the sounds of both cultures to produce a unique combination.
His romanticised, story-telling and classical approach to music has transcended through his new song, showcasing the delicacy of his voice that still holds on to a hint of rawness.
Traditional prolonged notes, intimate tones and a vast vocal range are also present on the track and these elements will undoubtedly feature in other upcoming projects.
Only released in January 2021, ‘Ek Hi To Dil’ has already racked up over 150,000 YouTube views, introducing himself as a potential superstar.
Now signed to industry giants, Zee Music Company, Touqeer has already stamped his mark amongst his peers and his pursuit of further success and recognition will not go unnoticed.
In an exclusive interview with DESIblitz, Touqeer Butt talks of his musical roots and the future of his promising career.
When did you first decide to sing?
I have always had an interest in music from a very young age and understood very early in my life that I and music are inseparable.
I remember as a child holding a pen/marker in my hand and pretending it was a microphone and singing out loud.
So, my journey of music started from there, back then, I wasn’t that confident in singing in front of an audience or even family members.
However, my passion for music continued to grow over time, I remember during school days, I actually applied for a radio presenter position, unfortunately was turned down as my voice was not matured enough then.
During college and then university, I started getting more confident and started singing in different functions/ parties amongst friends and family.
“This love for music led me towards radio again.”
During my university days, I joined a local Asian community radio station as a radio presenter, which helped me learn the technical aspects of audio engineering/editing, also, how to present yourself clearly and professionally behind the mic.
I continued with learning and improving my singing, started doing a few Bollywood cover songs but I’ve always dreamt of making my own music and finding my identity in this world of music.
So in 2019, I managed to produce my first debut track ‘Ek Hi To Dil’.
I always believe that when you sing, your voice is yours, once you start embracing it and keep on working hard, as a singer/musician there’s nothing you cannot achieve.
What do you feel makes a good song?
I think complicated chords or catching tunes or perhaps trending music doesn’t necessarily make a good song, what makes a good song is when you are able to express your emotions, convey your feelings and somehow connect with your audience/listeners.
Whilst writing a song /creating a melody if any musician/singer lacks the element of emotions/feelings and sincerity the song will lack its soul.
I strongly believe that music is also a medium of storytelling, if it’s a happy, upbeat melody it connects with listeners and brings smiles to their faces. They start remembering the happy times in their lives.
Or if it’s a sad/emotional track, it brings those feelings/emotions they have within them, it connects to those parts of their lives when they were sad, they look back at their story and can relate to the song.
So to me, a good song is something that connects with listeners, shares feelings and emotions and takes you on a journey that makes you feel good.
Which artists inspire you?
I listen to all kind of music that varies from pop to classical and everything in between. Personally, I take inspiration from classical, Sufi, Qawwali music.
If we speak about music from the sub-continent Kishore Kumar, Rafi, Lata, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, AR Rehman and many more have contributed so much to our music.
“I always have followed their music, it always has and still inspires me.”
Most music styles, I have listened to, liked or loved is grist to the mill.
I believe as a musician/singer it is very important to listen to a variety of music styles and learn, that is what eventually makes us versatile.
What kind of training have you had?
I started my musical journey as a self-taught artist and learned from many online resources which were available.
I started learning to play the piano and then started studying Indian classical music, which led me to classical music training in vocals from the AR Rehman Foundation, KM Music Conservatory.
It was there that I first developed his musical signature.
How will Zee Music support your career?
Zee music was the first platform we approached after producing my debut track.
As an artist, I always wanted to share my creativity with the rest of the world and label companies do provide that platform to reach out to the audience/listeners across the globe.
After the track was mastered and was ready to be released, we approached Zee Music first.
After listening to the track, they gave very positive feedback and happily accepted to release the track which then got released on January 6, 2021.
It was a huge milestone and achievement for my musical career.
How did ‘Ek Hi To Dil’ happen?
In early 2019, I decided to work on my music and to take it to the next level. I had a few ideas and compositions that I worked on.
From my experience, it is very important that as an artist that you and your team should be on the same wavelength whilst working on any creative project.
I was also very lucky enough to connect with two well-known, accomplished musicians Bibhuti Gogoi and Rahul Sharma.
We soon understood that we have a good understanding of the music piece we were producing and started working on it.
Nowadays, having technology is a blessing, despite two separate teams from two different continents of the world working together (UK & India), we managed successfully to create ‘Ek Hi To Dil’.
“The song was recorded in Southampton and was mastered in Mumbai.”
I directed the music video along with Louis Short, our locally based actress Emily Anderson featured in the track, which was shot in different locations in Oxford, UK.
Additional editing of the video was completed by our team in India, so it was a joint venture of two talented teams based in India and the UK.
How do you start a song? Lyrics or tune first?
I believe, there should be a story (feelings, emotions, purity) behind every song making process, which then transforms into words.
Personally, most of the times I write stray lyrics which mostly are in form of poems, but having melody, composition or tune in mind helps in fitting those lyrics to the melody.
This process is always evolving and changing until as a musician or singer you started getting the ‘feel’ you want in the track which gives a soul to the structure of the song you already have created.
I feel that is the most important thing in song creation.
Which artists would you like to work with?
As an artist, I believe that the process of learning should never stop.
In order to be successful as a musician/singer one has to experiment with different style, so versatility could come in your music.
In recent times, there are many exceptionally talented singers/musicians in the industry.
“Personally, I would love to work with A R Rehman and Pritam.”
I think both have a certain individual creative sense which is unmatchable.
As a musician/artist, I feel by listening to their compositions and music, it takes you on a journey and that what makes them different and unique.
What are your views on the music industry today?
Being a part of this music industry and as a student/listener of music for many years, I believe, our music industry is constantly evolving.
There is more acceptance of every genre of music at present which is great to see.
As an artist, it helps the over-all creativity aspects, it eliminates the factors of fear/ not getting accepted within the industry, which is just amazing.
Also, artists nowadays are not bound to one medium, there are so many channels/outlets available via the internet through social media, apps etc.
Which they could use to showcase their talent, creativity and music style to the rest of the world.
This helps artists in staying motivated and to keep on evolving in a creative sense.
What are your ambitions?
Personally, I would like to keep learning, I hope this process of learning should never stop in my lifetime.
I would also like to travel more, meet new people and see the world for all the beauty it holds and help others if I could.
Professionally, as a musician/artist, again I would like to keep learning and experimenting more with different music styles.
“Try to be versatile but also keeping true to my roots as an artist and keep producing music that connects with the listeners/audience.”
Touqeer Butt’s passion and knowledge of music have granted him an exceptional grasp of melodies, lyrics and performance.
With an abundance of experience within the industry, it has been no surprise that the new track by Touqeer has been met with respect and plaudits from fans and other musicians.
As the success of Touqeer’s new song continues, there is growing excitement among fans who eagerly await the singer’s next project.
Watch and listen to ‘Ek Hi To Dil’ here:
Touqeer Butt’s ‘Ek Hi To Dil’ is available on various music platforms including YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.