A boy who taught himself to play keyboards as a teenager later opted for a profession that was unconventional, back in the 2000s. He wanted to be a disc jockey - playing music for an audience, but the 'boomer generation' did not understand that, nor did his friends, who were sceptical about his career choice.
Against all odds, he chose to walk down the path towards becoming a DJ and a music producer, which turned out to be the best decision he ever took.
This is the story of DJ AKS, the 37-year-old Dubai based Bangladeshi DJ and music producer who rose to fame for his extraordinary talent as a music producer and DJ.
DJ AKS has been creating wonders with big artists for over a decade and has garnered popularity as a DJ in Dubai. In a conversation with The Business Standard, this talented musician candidly talked about his journey of becoming the person he is today.
"While growing up I came across the word 'AKS' in many songs and films. The word loosely translates to image or reflection of the soul. Since the abbreviation of my name is also AKS, from Abdul Karim Siraji, I started using it as my artist name," said DJ AKS when asked about the meaning behind his widely popular artist name.
Growing up in Dubai, DJ AKS used to listen to a lot of radio. In addition to commercial pop and Bollywood music, he listened to Electronic Dance music as well.
"I was heavily influenced by Chicane and Viju Shah, who, at that time, were pioneers in their own right," the DJ said, adding, "In 2002, I started making remixes which were picked up by radio stations and other artists and DJs, which ultimately opened doors for me as an artist. Apart from producing, I also started DJing at private parties."
Like any other artist, DJ AKS had to struggle initially. But after remaining patient for a few years and waiting for the right opportunity, he decided to move to Mumbai to professionally produce music in 2005 when things began to turn around for him.
We asked him how his experience as a DJ in Dubai has been. "I started DJing in 2002 for friends' parties but I still remember playing my first paid gig for only 500 dirhams for a New Year's Eve boat party in 2003. As I started producing more music, I had the opportunity to play for popular clubs, concerts and events in Dubai and other cities in the Middle East," DJ AKS answered.
Over the years, he has bagged awards and recognitions worldwide for his brilliant work. We wondered about how he has handled fame.
"Getting an award can only motivate you to push further and get better at what you are doing. Some of my achievements are Best Remixer Award at the World Top DJs Awards in Dubai and holding an official Guinness World Record for participating in the world's longest DJ relay comprising 119 DJs," he said.
DJ AKS considers himself fortunate to have been able to work with legendary artists both internationally and in Bangladesh. Some of his career highlights are working with Enrique Iglesias, Big Mountain, Neha Kakkar, Pakistani band JAL, DJ Suketu, Miles, Mehreen, Mila and Parvaz Sazzad.
DJ AKS has recently contributed to the popular game Free Fire's music video "DNA te Dance", which features Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan. The song's Bangla lyrics have been written by DJ AKS along with Kashfy Ahsan.
DJ AKS said, "I am always working on new music and new collaborations. So please keep an eye out for them to help me develop more. I would also urge everyone to stream, buy and share music from the original platforms or stores for the sake of art."
"One of my most memorable experiences was playing with DJ Akbar Sami at the Rang De Bahrain event for 5,000 people at an open air festival," the DJ said.
Negative and positive criticism are both part of an artist's journey. We asked DJ AKS how he handles negative criticism.
"I think both positive and negative criticism are helpful to shape you as a person as long as they are logical. I seldom pay attention to non-constructive criticism and welcome constructive criticism for the improvement of my work," he answered.
He also revealed some details about his upcoming projects. He is currently working on various projects with Mehrin, Parvaz Sazzad, Deshi MCs and Akritti Kakkar as a music producer. He is also working on a few international projects.
DJ AKS spared a few words for young people who aspire to be DJs in the future.
"The DJing and music industry today is much more diverse and global. Previously, it was more targeted towards a certain local clubbing scene or a city. But anybody can learn and practice the art of DJing and mixing today from the best DJs across the globe. In Asia, it all started with remixes of old Bollywood songs and now it is more than that," DJ AKS shared.