DJ Aqeel Ali is a highly respected and renowned DJ. He is also a singer and composer. He speaks to Monarose Sheila Pereira about his career and foray into music.
So let's hear him spin his song.
What is the scope for DJs today?
The scope of DJs is endless as there are so many bars clubs pubs private parties also so many different genres of music also with film songs and production ghost productions music for add films and background scores live dj sets and I could go on and on and on
What is your job profile?
I specialize in DJing, Entertaining, Music Production,
What inspired you to become a DJ?
Inspiration came from my love for music and watching super DJs like Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren. They are a great source of inspiration.
What is your latest project?
I am working on my album along with that, a few film songs. A couple of them will be releasing in the next two months.
What do you like about being a DJ?
I was one of the first djs to play Bollywood music in night clubs, festivals and private parties. No one was doing all this 20 years ago. I feel really proud to start the Bollywood music movement. My career is amazing. I make music that makes people happy, dance and forget all their problems. My music also inspires people and motivates them. Basically I make people feel really good and happy.
Why did you decide to be a DJ?
I always loved music and wanted to do something related to music hence I thought of djing and then music production followed.
What do you like about it?
It is amazing. Music makes people come together. I love travelling and my DJing has taken me all over the world and across the seven seas.
Tell us about your training?
I wanted to be a DJ and so I asked a lot of people to show me and
help me but they all said I cannot be a DJ and with no YouTube back then, or any other source and no djing schools I had to just figure it out myself. That was the most challenging part of my career. However, I overcame it and rest is history. Today I am a rocking successful DJ.
What kind of investment did you make?
I have invested lots of time, time and time.
What is the remmunertion as a fresher?
My first gig got me Rupees 3000 from that I had to pay Rupees 1800 for transportation and rentals of sound and lights. I used to carry the
speakers and connect them myself and play for 8 to 9 hours. I have spent lots of long struggling hours but it is worth it.
How long does one take to become a professional?
Today, in this day and age I will say it will take about 1 year for you to be super professional.
What is the remuneration of an established professional?
As an established professional one can earn anything from 3 to 5 to 10 lakhs a month and even more.
Does a DJ have to supplement the income?
Luckily I made a career out of djing and did not need to do anything else besides this. It is very rewarding.
Name some advantages in being a DJ?
The best part of my work is that I love my work and I get to meet great people, network and travel.
Any difficulties in being a DJ?
The biggest difficulty in this field is having to sacrifice your family time specially on weekends and also late nights, and lack of sleep. Most shows are on weekends and at night.
Any plans for the future?
I plan to keep DJing and making music for films and my private songs and remixes
What advice do you have for those who want to to become a DJ?
My advice for those who want to become a DJ is - work hard, believe in yourself, make your own music and play instead of just downloading music; look sharp, dress well speak well; have a great social media following and never give up.
♦ Monarose Sheila Pereira is an author, journalist and media lecturer. She has published several books and has written for all the major newspapers and magazines. She has worked for All India Radio and Doordarshan. She also conducts self improvement workshops.
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.