In a society which has been predominantly a patriarchy through the ages, it is an uphill struggle for women to brand their own mark. While our society has been adapting to modern changes at a slower pace compared to others, there are some who are brave enough to bear the criticism and come through with what they believe in. Bathool Ahmed is no exception when it comes to this, her aspirations of being a prominent musician has already taken her to places, at the very young age of just 15.
According to the young singer, the first time she remember singing was at the age of 2 and a half, at a school competition. Without having had proper musical training Bathool has today come a long way; from performing at school competitions to the world stage, she has had quite an experience in the industry.
The famed singer describes her breakthrough moment as the time when she won the first place from the Inter-School Singing Competition 2008, where she took home two accolades; first place in the junior category and her age group of the competition. At the age of 08, having competed against competitors who were senior to her was something which had drawn a lot of attention towards her.
One of the biggest highlights of her career so far has been performing at the ABU Radio Song Festival 2016 – something made possible due to her mother.
My mother saw an advertisement on TVM and she came to me, asking me to submit a song. So I recorded one and submitted for PSM, and a few days later my mother revealed that PSM had called back saying that I was to represent Maldives at the festival. I was shocked at first, and that was the moment when I realized the audacity of it all”
Bathool’s song submission which revolved around children with Autism was written and composed on her own and was initially supposed to be performed as a solo at the festival, but at thoughts of it turning out a bit too dull for a competition of such a calibre, Bathool decided to make the song into a full track.
A last minute change with two others, Bathool found herself playing out the finished track to a few judges including officials of PSM and members from Hiyani Band. After a rehearsal on spot, Hiyani Band’s Amir pointed out a few flaws with the t track – with about 24 hours left for her departure, this turned out to be a huge complication for Bathool. But luckily, Hiyani Band offered to make a track for the song – something which she is forever thankful for.
With the music industry flourishing with new talent day by day, Bathool believes that an artist could make a decent living by being just a musician in the Maldives. As she says, the resort music industry in the Maldives has become so huge that artists earn a lot from such gigs. In addition to that, she believes in the power of social networks such as YouTube and Facebook – two mediums through which an artist’s work could be showcased to the world at large.
Speaking of musicians she look up to, Bathool noted about how she had always loved songs by Ali Rameez. Her childhood had been filled with memories of Ali Rameez’s pieces, something which she had always enjoyed. In addition to him, Bathool enthusiastically talked about Zero Degree Atoll Nashid – describing the musician as a legend and someone who is one of her biggest favourites. While there are many artists Bathool like in the Maldives, songs by global superstars such as Whitney Houston inspires the young singer.
I’m someone who composes the music while writing the song itself, instead of composing before or after the writing process. I finish my pieces like that, because for me it gets difficult to remember that beat or piece on the long haul. So I finish it up just like that and record it on my phone for future reference”
The songstress currently have exciting projects in store for her fans – including a performance at PSM’s “Ehandhaanuga” show coming this Ramadan. Apart from the show, Bathool is also working on her debut solo album and aims to release it during the current year – but the works of which are being hindered by the upcoming O’ Level examinations.
Though Bathool does not take music as her main career, she says she will always be seen within the industry – even after her studies. She aims to pursue a career either in Travel & Tourism, Business Management or Law.
On this opportunity, Bathool expressed her heartfelt gratitude to her mother, who has been of great help to her. She thanked her family for the immense support, her friends who always help her out and everyone who has helped her in reaching where she is today including her teachers. She also thanked PSM, for providing such opportunities to young Maldivians and trusting Bathool with the performance. She also thanked Hiyani Band for the support and a special thanks to Mizna, Nasru, Shakir and Shahudha from PSM. But her biggest thanks was directed towards her fans, who had helped her out in numerous ways to bring her where she is today. Her social network managers and Dinba Music Band members, especially Ishante also received a big thanks from her for their massive help in producing her first album. Wrapping up her list, she thanked Raafiyath Rameeza – or in her words, “Raafi Miss” and everyone else who had helped her in anyway.