Singer-composer Amit Dhamelia marks a milestone with his independent stage show in Singapore

As a singer and music teacher who has lived in Singapore for about 20 years now, Amit Dhamelia considers himself one of the contributors to the Indian music scene in Singapore. This month is quite special for him, as he stages his “maiden independent live production in Singapore”, named Ishq Sufiyana.

His overseas shows and music collaborations brought Amit Dhamelia to Singapore, where he was offered a job. That is how he settled down in the island state. Photo courtesy: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Poetically describing what this show would be about, Amit told Connected to India, “Be transported to a plane of transcendental bliss with the mellifluous melodies of soul-stirring Sufi music. You can expect to listen to a selection of popular traditional and Bollywood Sufi songs performed live with Amit Dhamelia’s signature poise and flair.”

The show date is September 23 (at 7pm) and the venue is the auditorium of the Civil Service Club @Tessensohn. Tickets are SGD50.

Amit’s musical journey began in his country of origin, India. “I have music in my blood. My parents were both singers, so I was in the atmosphere of music from a very young age. I also had the opportunity to sing with my father and my mother in many programmes.”

Though he studied science at the undergraduate level, earning a BSc degree, the route of learning eventually led him again to music, as he began pursuing a music degree in Indian Classical Vocal at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (aka Vadodara), in Gujarat.

Working on his true passion paid off — Amit’s talent began to be recognised in India. “As luck would have it, I got name and fame and popularity from many programmes; worked in television and radio; won a lot of competitions; and performed with many senior artistes and doyens of music… [and] became a well-known name in the music circuit of Gujarat and other states of India,” he said.

Having worked with many musicians in India, Singapore, and other countries, Amit is unwilling to name a favourite. “I absorb everything and enjoy music from everyone,” he says. Photo courtesy: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Alongside performing, Amit “chose to become an educator of music”. With his strong credentials, he served as head of the department of music in several international schools, “nurturing the next generation of musicians and artistes”.

He was creating his own body of work as well. “During this journey, I was also writing music and poetry, composing and recording albums with record labels and television and radio.”

Soon, he went international. “Over time, I got more opportunities to perform in a lot of countries and met artistes with whom I had collaborations. With my parents’ blessings, this helped me grow as a musician,” he said.

His overseas shows and collaborations brought Amit to Singapore, where he was offered a job. That is how he settled down in the island state, and continued to work on his music.

His current repertoire includes “several Indian music genres: Bollywood, Hindustani Classical, Sufi, Ghazal, Folk, Dandiya, Garba, Bhajan”. The instruments he plays include “keyboard, harmonium, table”, enabling him to “work as accompanist as well, at times”.

About the Indian music scene in Singapore, Amit said that there were several stages: “When I came 20 years ago, it was not very good. But over time, I’ve been able to contribute towards the propagation of Indian music in Singapore.

“In 2018-19, just before COVID, the market was at its peak — the local scene was great and many famous artistes, such as AR Rahman and Sonu Nigam, used to frequent Singapore as a music hub. Then COVID hit and everything stopped.

“Now post-COVID, things are picking up and people are seeking out Indian music in concert settings again. So, we can say that the Indian music market in Singapore is on an upward trajectory.”

Having worked with many musicians in India, Singapore, and other countries, Amit is unwilling to name a favourite. He said, “I like music more than the musician, as the art is bigger than the artiste. I’m also a lifelong learner of music. Hence, I fall in love with the art and I don’t mark favourites. I absorb everything and enjoy music from everyone.”