'Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be standing next to renowned personalities and singing songs in front of them!'
Salman Ali, 23, is exhilarated, and with good reason.
It's not every day that a boy from Mewat, Haryana, wins the hugely popular television show Indian Idol, which has a prize of Rs 25 lakh and a swanky car.
The young singer spent 25 weeks on the 10th edition of the singing reality show even as judges Neha Kakkar, Vishal Dadlani and Javed Ali helped him grow as an artiste.
"This is the biggest day of my life," Salman tells Rediff.com Contributor Mohnish Singh.
Has it sunk in yet?
I feel as if I am watching a dream.
I don't know how I won the latest Indian Idol season!
I thank my audience from the bottom of my heart for loving and supporting me.
What will you do with your prize money of Rs 25 lakh?
There are some problems at home, I would like to fix them.
I plan to settle down in Mumbai and try my luck in Bollywood as a playback singer. The money will help me there.
Who would you like to sing for in Bollywood?
At what age did you realise that singing was your true calling?
I started singing early, at the age of seven.
The journey that started then has now crossed an important milestone in the form of Indian Idol 10.
In small towns, parents usually want their offspring to opt for traditional careers. How did your parents take your decision of making a career in singing?
Since my entire family is related to music in one way or the other, I did not face such issues.
They were very supportive.
In fact, they always wanted to see me as a singer.
My father has taught me a lot.
You have shared a strong rapport with the judges, Neha Kakkar, Vishal Dadlani and Javed Ali. What did you learn from them?
I learnt a lot.
The judges and mentors were brilliant and judicious.
Some of them taught me how to perform and sing on stage. Others taught me not to get nervous while performing on stage.
The grand finale saw a lot of celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan. How was the experience?
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be standing next to such renowned personalities and singing songs in front of them!
I am thankful to the Indian Idol 10 platform where I got such opportunities.
In early episodes of the show, you used to sing Sufi songs and ghazals. As the season progressed, you experimented with your voice and took up songs outside your forte. How do you see the transition?
You put that very correctly.
I had to bring this change in me as I want to playback for Bollywood songs.
I want to offer versatility to music directors who invite me to sing in movies.
What do you like doing, besides singing?
I like to travel. I want to take my parents on a vacation to some amazing place.