Up close and personal
Sitting on the Asian Express Editor’s red leather sofa, Usman is not only looking very snazzy, he’s refreshingly quick-witted and cheeky too.
Many know his story about being homeless and getting involved in all the wrong kind of activities on the streets. Despite this his following have a deep respect for the ‘lad’ 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. 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 school student, who was expelled from the establishment, also attended a private Islamic boarding school for a short time. Here he again was 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 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 prote