Today, Adnan Sami is hosting a party to celebrate his 39th birthday and 25 years in the music industry. Soon, he will take off on the first leg of his world tour. “The first concert is in Norway, then Germany, other parts of Europe and South Africa, culminating in the US and Canada in October,” says the singer-composer.
He’s also ready with a new album, Press Play, that features different genres, from ghazals to his first Sufi and Punjabi numbers. A book on weight loss is coming up too, and so is his first film as an actor that rolls in November: “It’s a mad caper revolving around a man. I’ll be giving my own playback.”
Through the years...
* King and I
At the age of 10, I performed solo for King Hussein of Jordan at his palace. I told him with a child’s candour that I loved his watch. He gifted it to me. The bespoke Breitling with his crown and crest is a prized possession.
* Top of the charts
‘Run for your life’ (1986), the first single I wrote, composed and sang for United Nations and UNICEF, topped the charts. I was listening to a global countdown on radio and was sad that my song featured nowhere. Then, the host announced a break, saying he’d be back with a new No. 1. It was my song!
* Who’s that guy?
Kabhi to Nazar Milao (2000), the best selling non-film album, topped the indi-pop charts for 72 weeks. I’d been around for 12 years but no one knew me in India and reacted with “Who’s that guy with Ashaji (Bhosle)?” She’d met me when I was 12 and encouraged me to pursue music.
* Branded by Pepsi and Coke
I’m perhaps the only brand ambassador for both the brands. I did two campaigns for Coke in 1993, one played up my tag of the world’s fastest keyboard player. In 2002, I switched to Pepsi with an ad shot in Venice with Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Another ad saw me as a fat umpire with the official anthem I had composed for the 2003 World Cup Cricket playing in the background. It brought the chant ‘Aa ee oo’ into the stadiums.
* Wah Taj!
In 2005, I was invited to perform at the Taj Mahal’s 350th anniversary. There’s no bigger thrill for a musician than to play before the ultimate monument of love, before an audience of 60,000!
* Bollywood calling
Tera Chehra (2002) was my first album recorded in India. It featured Bollywood stars like Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan in a video for the first time. Singing and filming the duet, ‘Kabhi nahi’, with Amitji was a blast!
* Salman is Special
As a composer, my most memorable soundtrack was for Lucky (2005). Singing for Salman Khan was special. Since the film was shot in Russia, I used Russian instruments and compositions.
* Memorable Tracks
‘Noor-e-khuda’(My Name Is Khan, 2010) is like a prayer. Shakti’s (2002) ‘Hum tum’ was the first track I recorded, but Ajnabee’s (2001) ‘Mehbooba mehbooba’ released first.
Scent of Adnan
I have a huge collection of colognes, including one named after me. I experimented with different fragrances, combining two to make this scent.