Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Iqbal’s Facebook Page.
The product of an age-old fancy to spin the mix of cultures spanning the globe into something beautiful and enlightening, Jeffrey Iqbal has learned to keep his Indian roots inherently ground into his homeland American soil, and developed a musical persona to bind the ties that pull him together. The emerging talent, while not new to the field, has finally found a way to fuse his passion for wide-ranging artistic inspiration into something he identifies with from the heart, and his music has similarly made its way outward bound to all crevices of the globe.
Along the journey, he observes the spirit of his work through the sights and sounds around him.
“On a Tuesday evening in New York City, I see hundreds of people from all cultures/races/generations/religions dancing to Bollywood music for hours on hours with the biggest smiles on their faces…THAT is Unity Thru Music…,” he writes on Facebook.
Iqbal began his career as a world artist at the age of 10, taking a little push from his parents, and later, finding even greater encouragement when Slum Dog Millionaire composer AR Rahman hand-selected him in a talent search to sing on the Academy Award-winner’s “3rd Dimensional Tour.” The young artist’s smooth Lavani-like tongue would lead him to also become the first American-born artist to represent the USA on Zee Tv’s “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa,” a singing competition in South Asia.
But that’s just a few accolades. Listen to Iqbal’s impressive repertoire, and his voice alone is enough to simmer all the inner-longings and cravings of the soul. Through music, he aims to create a bond between his people back in India, his family in the States, and those who hear and follow him around the globe.
“When I’m looking amidst the crowd, feeling their energy, I capture this moment, and I close my eyes and sing from my heart, from my soul,” he writes in his biography. “Thru this journey to pursue my passion, I am so thankful to be standing on this stage, to give to you what I feel I was meant to do in life.”
Depending on the track, Iqbal’s music can be a lead-in to a night lost in the lights of Manhattan, pulsating dance sensations with the sexy vocals of a leading voyager. Or it can be something more natural – the simple strum of a guitar with an almost Latin lament to accompany it. He built his unique bravura by studying North Indian Classical musical, challenging himself to ascertain both vocal and instrumental variations on the artistry. Accordingly, he learned to play the harmonium and Tabla, and, more recently, began to modernize the technique by bringing the high energy and sensation of Bollywood into his music.
While his debut album is currently a work in progress, he’s been releasing tracks periodically, his most recent being the rich, yearning melody of “Sajda,” an Asian hook placed atop the rhythms of the bongo drums. He’s also touring the world with his music, focusing on building a base of enthusiasts to form his army of peacemakers.
Yet even when such high aims, Iqbal keeps it real along the way, never taking life more seriously than necessary.
He tweets, “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.”