Noor Mohammad Shah has made a name for himself in the traditional Kashmiri folk music and is widely popular for his recent performances.
Hailing from Handwara in district Kupwara, the singer is fondly called Noor Sahab and is invited to perform at special occasions at government and other functions.
Noor Mohammad said he had a desire for music since childhood and used to sing at his school. “I was a music lover, I used to sing and listen to musical programmes,” he said.
“My teachers in school were fond of my voice and they used to make me sing at school functions.”
Noor Mohammad’s desire turned into passion at a local Sufi saint Samad Shah’s house where he went to attend a mehfil which used to take place on Thursdays.
“As usual I went to Samad Shah’s house to listen to Kashmiri music and all of a sudden he asked me to join the singers who had come to perform that night,” Noor Mohammad said.
Samad Shah gave a different name to Noor Mohammad, he named him Noor Ullah Khan.
“When he pointed towards me, I wasn’t sure whether I will be able to do it or not as I was a young lad at that time with zero experience of singing but to my surprise it turned out well,” he said.
“He liked my voice and every other person in the room was stunned by my performance.”
This incident changed Noor Mohammad’s life and inclined him towards music.
“I used to listen to prominent singers, radio artists like Ali Mohammad Sheikh, Abdul Raheem Bhat, Ghulam Nabi Bulbul on radio and while listening to them I learned playing noet (a traditional musical instrument),” he said.
Noor Mohammad while fetching water from a nearby stream used to listen to those artists and play noet he was carrying home.
“I was good at playing noet and also acquired appreciation and rewards from people,” he said.
Noor Mohammad’s relative who happened to be a local singer saw the ignition in his eyes for the music and asked his mother to let him sing instead of studying.
“I was not interested in studies, so I left it and started my career as a singer at a very young age but got prominence in my older years,” Noor Mohammad said.
“I used to give the money I earned to my father as I felt I should share the burden of expenses for being the eldest among my siblings.”
Noor Mohammad became an internet sensation when a local music artist Mohammad Muneem approached him to do a song with him.
“Mohammad Muneem came to me, and we made a song by the name “Ride Home (Wafadar Mouj” which got 39 lakh views on YouTube within a short span of time,” Noor Mohammad said. “The song became a sensation within no time, it was a tribute to all the mothers.”
From that day people started to recognize Noor Mohammad and I made a name in this field. He was also invited to perform in different cities in India.
Noor Mohammad not only performed but also recorded a song “Janaan” under the banner of Zee Music.
Noor believes all the credit of his success as a traditional music sensation goes to the internet.
Noor Mohammad’s other singing videos also went viral on social media.
“People stop their cars when they see me and request I sing a few lines for them. It makes me happy to see that people have started recognizing me,” Noor Mohammad said.
“I am earning a decent amount of money and living my life with utmost respect and dignity.”
Noor Mohammad has his own team of singers now and they perform in weddings.
“People from different districts approach us. I had a very busy schedule this month and have six weddings lined up for next month,” Noor Mohammad said.
A singer who once was struggling to earn his bread and butter is now providing employment to few other people in his team.
Noor Mohammad and his team gets booked for days depending on the functions at the weddings.
“We charge depending on days and it starts at 15k minimum and can extend upto 70k,” said Noor Mohammad.
He believes nothing comes easy but with every hardship comes ease.
“Many struggles came my way but with the grace of the Almighty, I overcame every struggle and I am able to support my family and give them a decent living,” Noor Mohammad said.
“I made sure that my kids’ study because I wasn't able to do so. I want my son to have a decent job.”