Nila is a freelance journalist and Clinical Psychology Doctoral student…
The Urban Desi music scene has been moving through transformations over the years to evolve over time from the Bollywood and R&B fusion that Rishi Rich began with. From original tracks with hip-hop and R&B flavor to Bollywood remakes and Punjabi hits. Now, the latest trend on the rise is urban Bengali music.
Pioneered by Bangladeshi-Canadian artist, Master-D the genre of music is slowly catching on among the masses. Artists like Bangladeshi British singers Nish and Mumzy Stranger are enhancing the genre. It seems that Bangladeshi American artist Muza is the next in line to carry this movement forward.
The young artist
We had the chance to catch up with Muza to learn more about his musical journey so far, his passion for Bangla urban music and his future goals.
DissDash: For our new readers, can you tell us a little about your musical journey? What was your first experience with music?
Muza: My musical journey began when I was in 5th grade. I fell in love with poetry, so before anything, I was a songwriter. Then slowly I began to sing. 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.
My first moving experience with music is when I was in high school and applied to this statewide event called “Grammy’s In the Schools” which was officially sponsored by the Grammy’s. I submitted a song I wrote, sung, and produced and got selected to come up on stage talk to one of Chris Brown’s producers K-Quick and talk about what made me make this song. And from there my confidence skyrocketed.
DissDash: Wow, that sounds like a phenomenal acheivement. So, what was the first song you ever composed/wrote? What inspired it?
Muza: I have so many! But my first ever song was “That Girl,” it was a Hindi/English R&B track I wrote, produced, and sung which got picked up by Qinetic Music. My inspiration was to take a jab at the Urban Desi scene to show my versatility. I saw that the Urban Desi scene was poppin’ at that time so I hoped on. But being Bengali I felt that that is one reason the track didn’t make it out too far. I still think that track is sick.
DissDash: With so many artists, even Bengali artists singing in Hindi or Punjabi, what compelled to you to sing in Bengali?
Muza: It all started with my song “That Girl.” After Qinetic Music picked it up they asked me to do something in Bangla, so I thought about it and decided, sure, why not. After many failed attempts I was nearing to a point where I was about to give up. Then Qinectic one day sent me a beat and I wrote the lyrics and everything to “Bondhurey” in 20 min and the rest was history.
DissDash: Are you a classically trained singer?
Muza: No. I was never trained at anything, singing, producing, playing piano, I’m all self-taught. But I did take poetry classes for 8 years.
DissDash: Is it important to you to create music in Bengali specifically? Would you sing in Hindi or other languages?
Muza: Of course! With all the millennials and youngsters all this folk music stuff is not poppin’ anymore. So why not give it that western sound and sing some Bangla to show all these young kids of my generation that Bangla is cool. No need to be ashamed of it. I would sing in Hindi. In my upcoming album “3RD EYE” I sing Bangla, Hindi, Spanish, English, and Arabic. I took Spanish for 8 years and since my family is Muslim, I went ot Arabic school and learned Arabic as well. I watch 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.
DissDash: Your track “Bondhurey” has gained so much popularity in North America and in Bangladesh, how does it feel? How has the response been to your music since then?
Muza: Honestly it feels great. I was never expecting anything. I’m a bit sad I wasn’t in the video but it was my choice to not be in it. It took a while for people to associate my face with “Bondhurey” but I’m slowly getting there.
DissDash: With artists like Master-D and Nish singing in Bengali, really launching the Bangla Urban Movement in the Urban Desi music scene, how do you feel about the new trend on the scene?
Muza: It’s amazing. Now the doors have been opened up, thanks to guys like Master-D and Nish. More people are hopping on it, which is what they are really working towards. It’s a great opportunity for Bengalis all around the world and in Bangladesh, especially the new generation.
DissDash: We hear you’re releasing your debut album, “3RD EYE” soon. What can you tell us about it? How did you conceptualize it?
Muza: Yes, “3RD EYE” I’m so excited about it. Honestly, after “Bondhurey” I made over 100 Bangla/English songs. So I thought, you know what? Might as well do an album. So I picked the 10 best songs and made it happen.
DissDash: Why did you title the album “3RD EYE?”
Muza: I’m really into art and studied art history. I’m
DissDash: Can you tell us more about the new track you just released, “Shopno To Dekhechi Tomake” from “3RD EYE?” What led to the collaboration with Tawhid Afridi for a video?
Muza: “Shopno To Dekhechi Tomake” is the first track from my album. It was a track many labels rejected, some people disliked it and said it just wasn’t good enough. But my good friend Tawhid Afridi when I sent it to him he saw so much potential in it, and above all made me believe in the track. He said he wanted to do a video for it and I said sure why not let’s make it happen. Tawhid is a genius, super nice guy, and an amazing friend. That’s why there is a saying in life everything happens for a reason. That track was rejected by everyone so that Tawhid and I can work on it as bizarre as that sounds.
DissDash: What do you think makes your music unique or different?
Muza: My flow, my beats, my melodies, everything comes naturally to me and from the bottom of my heart. I make myself sad so I can sing emotionally and deliver that emotion to people. Also, I blend a lot of EDM into my music along with pop and Trap, but EDM is me. I hope to bring my EDM sound beyond the Bangla market.
DissDash: Who would be your dream collaboration?
Muza: Bad Bunny, Post Malone, Major Lazer, DJ Snake, DJ Khaled, Drake, Arijit Singh, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Habib Wahid.
DissDash: What can fans expect from you next?
Muza: The release of my album in the immediate but maybe a break from Bangla music as I also produce a lot in the American market so taking that on more. But only time will tell. These are just the thoughts in my head right now, though things are bound to change.
Nila is a freelance journalist and Clinical Psychology Doctoral student who was born and raised in New York City. There is very little she loves more than Harry Potter marathons, pizza, 90s Bollywood, bagels, falooda, and her family. She hopes to use her powers for good by spreading mental health awareness and positivity in the South Asian community through her love of writing.