EXCLUSIVE with Usman Rehman
From being a homeless ‘no body’, living a harsh reality on the streets, to becoming an overnight vocal sensation, Usman Rehman needs little introduction to the Asian music scene.
Sitting at Asian Express HQ, Usman is not only looking very snazzy, he’s refreshingly quick-witted and cheeky too.
Many know his story about being homeless and involved in all the wrong kind of activities on the streets, his following have a deep respect for his insane passion to pursue his dream of singing.
I ask Usman how a lad from Bradford could possibly become homeless when the city is so abundant with Asian families.
“That’s a very, very good question, actually,” replies Usman.
“There was a time when I went through a phase where I felt no-one understood me because of a situation at home. I felt I couldn’t connect - couldn‘t relate. I was a young teenager and thought I knew what was best for me.
“Once I’d left home, I was so determined to survive on my own, it became a matter of pride that I didn’t ask anyone for help.
“Before you knew it, I was in it so thick and deep that I couldn’t ‘just go back home’.
“I’ve lived in hostels, in council flats and all sorts. In fact, when I drive back into the city, I still get chills thinking about the temporary places I’ve lived in and the bleak days I’ve had.”
The former Lapage student, who was expelled from the school, also attended a private Islamic boarding school for a short time, until he was, again, expelled. He says that being at the Islamic school probably saved him as it taught him respect for elders and an understanding of who he was as an individual and that ultimately he believes that that’s helped him survive the streets.
Whatever this young man went through living on his own, his love for writing lyrics and singing stood out above everything. When fate led him to meet Archie Singh-Raud AKA Young Archie, his dream became a reality.
With Young Archie’s record label -‘Boiler Room Records’, Usman was catapulted early this year unto the audiences, with a fresh take on Noor Jahan’s ‘Jadon Holi Jai’, and Rishi Rich’s magic worked beautifully in making Usman’s debut one not to be forgotten.
Now after the huge success of his protégé, Young Archie has hit the iTunes World Chart this week and landed in the top 10 with ‘Dil Lutiya’, written by Usman himself and featuring his smooth vocals.
So when asked about how it feels to essentially have been an overnight hit and the attention he gets from his fans, Usman is very humble about it all. He laughs when I ask him what king of ‘gifts’ he is sent from his fans.
“I get all sorts – but I let Lydia (our assistant) deal with all of that stuff,” laughs Usman, “…but we do get some ‘explicit’ pictures sent from us from ladies who either want to be my girlfriend/wife or star in the next music videos.
“I recently got sent this very elaborate poem, which was quite dark and seriously romantic. It did scare me a bit to be honest (laughs), but this lady was exceptionally articulate with her literary talents and I couldn’t help but admire the piece she’d sent me!”