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January 24, 2019

One-on-one with Bollywood music star Salim Merchant

Namaste India! Your brand new track is causing waves in Kenya. Thank you for sharing it with East FM for first airplay in Africa. How has it been received worldwide?

UK loves it and so does Dubai, we haven’t yet played it in the US but it will very soon. East FM is always the first to receive anything we release.


What inspired this track?

‘Namaste India’ is the title track for our musical Beyond Bollywood. It’s the first Indian musical to premiere at the West End and it was written and composed specifically for that. Namaste is a global word, even the Japanese know it!


You’ve been doing some massive tours worldwide. We just want to know what do you pack in your bag since you seem to travel so much.

Shoes!! I love shoes and yes of course everything else one needs on a tour. But I always throw in an extra pair of shoes.


Are you the type who can fall asleep on an airplane?

It’s 6am in Bangkok, I’m writing these answers from the airport lounge I’m about to board a flight. I can sleep anywhere!


Indian Idols Junior is coming up and we know you have already started filming the auditions. We saw you as a judge in Indian Idols. How come you were shuffled and brought to this format?

I yet don’t have an answer to that question but I think they needed a change although I don’t think they did but you know how marketing teams are.


You must come across a lot of talented kids at every audition. How do you deal with telling them they didn’t make it to the next round despite oozing talent?

It’s heartbreaking to say “sorry you can’t go ahead” but I guess the format is such that. Some kids are just phenomenal and I wish I didn’t have to say no to the less talented ones.


Have you had to deal with any irate parents or family on behalf of the rejected children who are taking part in this reality show?

Yes and it’s really difficult explaining to them not to push their kids and force them to compete. The problem is most of the time it’s not the parents but the kids who wanna prove to the world what they can do etc.


Is everyone in your family talented, musically speaking, or are there some whom you often wonder if they’re from the same family tree?

I have no other sibling apart from Sulaiman. My cousins do have a bit of music in them.


Speaking of family trees, your brother Sulaiman and you have an amazing on-stage rapport. Do you guys ever fight or disagree? We are NOT believing that you don’t, so spill the beans.

It’s been two decades with me and Sulaiman doing music. We had some disagreements but it’s been very long where we’ve had a serious disagreement. We do have differences but that’s only natural and always leads to some incredible creative results.


How do you guys make up?

Music heals everything... Makeup and breakups are serious terms. We just have fun celebrating music together!


Many people say they get the most amazing ideas in the bathroom. Where does inspiration strike you most?

Anywhere really! It happens to me most of the time in the car while I’m travelling.


If you weren’t Salim Merchant, singer, composer, talent extraordinaire, what do you think you’d be doing for a living?

Architect or interior designer.


Will we ever see you on the big screen in a Bollywood (or any) movie?

Anything is possible .. I’m open!


Your fans in Nairobi are already delighted with the promos going out that announce your concert over here. You have performed in Nairobi several times. What (besides your promoter!) brings you back here?

The love people have here for music. East Africans are just beautiful souls. We’ve performed all over the world but Kenya is very special and so is Canada. Common factor — East Africans! They just love music and give us so much energy while we perform.


On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the

highest, how scared would you be if a dog foaming at its mouth charged at you?



Do you own pets? If yes what? And what have you named the pet(s)?

I used to - a dog. But he died...


What is the one indulgence you have splurged on in terms of your hard-earned money?



Any message for your fans in Kenya? You do know we love you a lot!

Thank you for being who you are! You are very special to us and a big source of inspiration.

Poll of the day