Virtual Gulrez

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A post graduate in environmental science recorded a Kashmiri song. Watching it emerge as a smash hit on the web, Adil Gurezi jumped into the musical eco-system and is counting his numbers, reports Umar Khurshid

Aadil Gurezi

The era of internet has ushered in the concept of virality, wherein anything out of the ordinary when catches the attention of the social media audience, goes viral quickly. This time, a Kashmiri singer has become the latest internet sensation; his mesmerizing rendition of popular Kashmiri and Hindi numbers have garnered him instant recognition on social media.

He is Adil Gurezi, famous for his unique vocals. He is the new singing sensation who has taken the virtual Kashmir by storm. Hailing from north Kashmir’s Bandipore district, Gurezi has sung five hit numbers, which are being praised by all. His viewership is already in millions.

Gurezi, a self-taught singer has not gone to any elite music institution to get the musical knowledge. “My unique voice has lent me to go with the musical passion even though it was never decided to pursue my carrier in music,” Gurezi said.

Gurezi says that these days Kashmir is seeing a revival of the band culture in music, along with new starlets coming to the big stages, delivering numbers in absolute perfection with their vocal abilities. He sees it a new trend that is sustained strictly by the internet revolution.

A post-graduate in Environmental Science, Gurezi was born in Bandipora but his family roots are in Gurez, a valley located in the high Himalayas, about 123 kilometres from Srinagar. This border belt has survived in isolation post-1947 when a new political geography took over. Separated from the vast Shina-speaking belt, it is hardly accessible during winters. Off late, the setting up of a huge power station on the banks of Kishan Ganga has impacted most of the valley. In return people got money and this triggered a new migration out of the Dard belt.

Gurezi did his schooling from Nadim Memorial Higher Secondary School and later joined Shri Partap College in Srinagar. In December 2015, Gurezi joined a college in Dehradun and completed his Master’s in Environmental Science. Gurezi is currently in Mumbai working on various musical projects.

On November 17, 2017, Gurezi released his first song Chaand on YouTube, which has crossed 1.2m views, so far. Till the song was released he never thought of making music as his carrier. “As soon as I saw the positive response from the people, it struck to my mind that I must think about music further,” Gurezi says.

Then, on the first day of 2018, Gurezi released another song called Tumhere Bina that has fetched 380k views till now. This song was followed by his release of a cover song Rafta Rafta, a song already made famous by Mehdi Hassan.

Gurezi believes that Kashmir music goes hand in hand with his Urdu/Hindu numbers. Ever since the times of Ghulam Ahmed Sofi and Raja Begum, though small the music industry of Kashmir has never seen a complete downfall. From decade to decade, the region’s musicians produce different genres, creating different legends.

Gurezi gained more following when he released an unplugged version of folk song Dupte Neunem, an old Kashmiri folk song which has been sung by various artists over a period of time, but Aadil has modified it and added his own touch to the traditional track. The song has garnered over five million views so far. With a fusion of guitar, people have gone crazy after the performance and Gurezi’s singing ability.

Gurezi’s YouTube channel on his own name Aadil Gurezi has crossed 89,696 subscribers and is much well known in Kashmir. Last month, Gurezi released a mixture of Kashmiri and Punjabi rendition that was also loved by the fans and fetched him 620 thousand views.

Gurezi believes that internet is a happening place where people get an attention and are never being ignored as long as they have the ability to entertain.“After discovering a few cringe-worthy internet sensations, of late, the social media has been generous enough to treat all the new generation artists generously,” Gurezi says.

But Gurezi is keen to pick up the art and its grammar. “I am living with the best artists and that is giving me lot of confidence and helps me understand the music better,” Gurezi said. “I am in the virtual world and I have Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as my virtual guru.”

Apart from gaining so much of attention and fame, Gurezi is now earning a good amount from the YouTube which he uses for his other projects. “My family don’t need money, and whatever I earn I try to put that on other projects,” Gurezi says. His father is a retired teacher and mother is a homemaker.

The comments on the social media post show how much the public loved Gurezi’s renditions. People are claiming that his covers are better than the original ones and he deserves to be on a proper platform.

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