What is your full name?
Syrene is my stage name which is inspired by my daughter’s second name Sireen and my marvel comic alter ego Syren.
Where were you born?
The city of Nottingham
When did you first want to become a singer?
I can’t remember when I wanted to become a singer. I have always been a singer and a dancer for as long as I can remember. It was later on in life that I thought of sharing it with the rest of the world.
Who was your inspiration?
My father has been and always will be my biggest inspiration. He has simply taught me to go for it. Whatever the dream or whatever the passion regardless of success. Just go for it
When did you get your first break?
My first ever break was with Amarjit Sidhu who by chance was hosting the Asian Mela at the NEC in Birmingham. This was way back in the day and I was supposed to perform as part of a girl group called ‘Mischief’ but our manager at the time, brought the wrong cd and we couldn’t perform. However, my mother boldly went where no mother has gone before. She went right up to Mr Sidhu and stated as a matter of fact that her daughter can sing whatever Bollywood song he had at his disposal. I sang my heart out and the rest, as they say, is history.
How difficult or easy has it been for you as a British born Pakistani female trying to make it in the music industry mainly dominated by males?
This is the bit where I am going to have a little rant. The problem I see with the British Asian industry is that there is no industry. An industry is something that is regulated and currently there is no regulatory body to ensure that people are not taken advantage of. I feel there has to be a governing body to protect artistes who are trying to succeed. Not only female artists but male artists alike. Many a time I have had my gut wrenched out and my heart broken from lack of support in this so called industry where hardworking artists are taken advantage of and people who have made it, through whatever reason, are not willing to provide and create a platform for other artists. I have spent a lot of money to fulfil my dream but the money is not well spent by the people you give it to. In the British Asian industry it is the motto of ‘get as much money as you can out of the artist’ but do as little as possible, which is a shame but it is true and I defy anyone who says otherwise. I am sure there are some bonafide artists out there but the industry is terrible here and hence, why so many artists are looking at other countries to pursue their dream. That is exactly what I have done. I work with the well-known Dutch producer Gumnaam, on his Riddimand Culture Label. Now that is one dude who has been solid and consistent since I started working with him last year. He has a wonderful work ethic very much like my own and a few people could really learn from that. It is a real pleasure working with him and one thing is for certain that I just can’t stop singing and I probably will never stop. Rant over!
How many albums have you released and what can we look forward to in the future?
I have released one single “Main Hoon Deewani” which is currently available on iTunes. The second single will be available once I can find out when my current producer has the time to call me and give me some studio time. The album is pretty much ready but until I can get the second single out, it would be a bit pointless to release the album. So for now everything is on hold until I have a new schedule… so watch this space. However, if you are a genuine producer who hates timewasters as much as I do, then hit me up on Facebook – Syrene Artist, or on twitter @sonic_syrene. Meanwhile, I am currently having lots of success working with Gumnaam. It is a great mix of heavy beats, almost dubstep, but with a great twist. Curious? Check out my sound cloud.
How do you balance family life and work life?
I am currently balancing family life and 2 kids with my own Business Development Consultancy as well as working with Gumnaam. I guess I just take each day at a time. My husband is very supportive and loves the fact that I am willing and determined to pursue my dreams. I am a bit of a go getter as most of my friends and family are well aware. Stubborn too! It’s the aspiration to be successful that drives me the most. I SHALL SUCCEED!!
What advice do you give to aspiring singers?
Practice, practice and more practice. Never ever give up your dream because nobody can take your talent away from you and only you can bring yourself down. If you don’t succeed the first time, just pick yourself up and dust yourself down as nobody in this industry will do that for you. If one way doesn’t work then try another avenue. Who knows, that might be the one that works for you. Much love to all Urban Echo readers!
Quick fire round…
Most precious in your life?
Favourite holiday destination?
Night or day?
Hollywood or Bollywood?
Usher or Justin Timberlake?
If it is looks, then neither. If talent, then… ummm, I guess Usher pips it to the post because I can’t stand falsettos.
Aishwarya Rai or Angelina Jolie?
Football or cricket?
Any cuisine. I love food cooking it and eating it
Eastenders or Coronation Street?
[indignantly] urgggh television? I have no time for television young man!