Even though Armeen Musa was born into an illustrious family of musicians, there was a lot of pressure on her to not be a musician. As hard as it is to believe that now, Armeen feels there were valid reasons behind it.
"The reasons of course were financial and social since our music industry till now does not have proper infrastructure," says Armeen.
"This profession is not very secure. After my great aunt Ferdausi Rahman, nobody was encouraged to pursue music full-time. We were rather told that we can keep music in our life alongside a main career," explained Armeen, daughter of famous singer Nashid Kamal.
Armeen's mother is the granddaughter of Bengali folk singer Abbasuddin Ahmed while her grand uncle Mustafa Zaman Abbasi is a renowned musicologist.
Watch Armeen Musa in Dhaka Sessions video
The popular singer, songwriter, and composer started her journey in the music industry back in 2008 with her debut album 'Aye ghum bhangai'. Her latest album 'Live from space' was released in 2019.
Now that she faces struggles in the music industry – the Berklee graduate who also has an undergraduate degree in Economics – completely understands why her family discouraged her to be a full-time musician.
"But I think I would still be a musician if I belonged to a different family or the situation was different. However, I cannot deny the privileges of the philosophical and spiritual upbringing in shaping my musical background."
At the age of 14, Armeen had her first band, and the feeling of being on stage and singing and connecting with the audience made her realise that this was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
Currently, the talented musician is exploring her creative self during this lockdown. "Right now I am in a different phase, without thinking too much, no plans, just making stuff. I am using the lockdown to be as creative as possible."
Talking about her song creation process, Armeen said, "I enjoy being involved with every phase of creating my own songs or music, be that song writing, composing or singing, they are like parts of me, so I cannot really pick which one I enjoy doing the most."
She also works on advertisements and commercial jingles. Those work processes are different from when she makes music on her own. "In commercial works, usually there is a director to tell me what to do and I follow that, but when I am making music on my own, it always starts with the melody."
"I usually start off with the melody and then branch out to create the harmony, rhythm sections, voices and lyrics," she added.
During her teenage years, she was very inspired by musicians like Arnob, Sahana Bajpaie, and Anusheh Anadil.
A young Armeen was mesmerised by folk fusion and the spirituality of folk songs which later in life inspired her to have her own choir.
Armeen was part of two choirs when she was studying at the Berklee College of Music.
"Choir is something I cannot live without, and I learnt singing in choir by performing in it. I had to have a local version of the choir, and that is how the 'Ghaashphoring Choir' was born." The chorus troupe launched its debut album 'Kichu kotha kichu gaan' in 2019.
Armeen recently appeared on the third episode of season two of 'Dhaka Sessions powered by bKash' which is a new platform for musicians where they can play raw versions of their songs – set against the backdrop of rows and rows of books.
"I am very thankful to my band members and I cannot appreciate their talent and dedication enough," she said.
The show took place at Bookworm – a music-friendly bookshop in Dhaka.
All the episodes can be watched on the official YouTube channel of 'Dhaka Sessions.'