Zahrah S Khan, who marked her acting debut with Aurangzeb (2013) alongside Arjun Kapoor, has today attained a cult status as a singer. Her latest popular songs include Kusu Kusu from Satyameva Jayate 2 (2021), The Punjaabban Song from JugJugg Jeeyo (2022), and Nach Meri Rani with Guru Randhawa, to name a few.
Talking about her career shift, she shares, “When I started, I was young and wasn’t really ready. I was still grooming myself. I looked at music as my hobby and passion but never thought of it as a career. In 2019, the opportunity came my way when I dubbed a song. My mother liked my tone. I shared it with a few composers and then started getting offers. Honestly, it all happened without putting in any effort. In October 2020, I got a call from a music label stating that they wanted to sign me.”
When asked about comparisons being made with her mother, veteran singer Salma Agha, she explains, “My mother and I have different tones. Luckily, I never faced comparisons with my mother. Our textures are different and, of course, she is much more learned than me. I am nowhere close to the training she has in Indian classical music but people have accepted my tonal quality. The comparisons in a bad way I haven’t got thankfully.”
Her acting debut, Aurangzeb, didn’t do well at the box office. When quizzed if she was taken aback by the failure, she reveals, “I was disheartened, being an industry kid. In 2019, I did a short film which opened at an international film festival and reached the semi-finals at the Academy. So, that kind of gave my self-esteem back. Music also happened simultaneously but then I thought I can’t put my energies into both. It’s been two years in the music industry and it has been fruitful. I have some great music collaborations in 2023 and I am looking into the acting bit.”
On a parting note, Zahrah shares her thoughts on the current music scenario. “For me, what matters is the music label. For an independent artiste like me, it is important to have support from the label. Mainstream Bollywood music isn’t in our hands since it goes through many people and several factors. It’s a good time to experiment with sound,” she signs off.