Saudi-based Indian girl wins UK song-writing contest

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 12, 2013 Published on August 12, 2013

Afra Naushad

‘It’s a great recognition for someone who is not from the UK or the US.’

Straying away from the mundane to follow one’s dreams may not always pay, but Afra Naushad, 27, an Indian doctor-turned-writer based in Saudi Arabia, has no regrets. For, she has won the UK Songwriting Contest 2013.

Among the other persons of Indian origin who won this year are Shelly Bhushan in the ‘adult contemporary’ category and Akshay Chowdhary and Sumant Balakrishnan in the ‘rock’ category.

Afra, whose mother is from Kashmir and father from Bangalore, took a break from her medical profession (dentistry) some time ago to become a writer on music, arts and culture in an Arab daily.

Penning down her own experience of growing up in Saudi Arabia, she wrote the lyrics of “Run Into The Wild” and entered the contest. The lyrics have the running theme of “personal freedom, chasing one’s dreams and finding a place in this world.”

“It’s a great recognition for someone who is not from the UK or the U.S. It’s tough if you’re from an Eastern country, trying to break into the Western music industry,” she told Business Line on email.

The winners of the UK Song-writing Contest get one-on-one mentoring from award winning musicians. The contest, open to anyone, anywhere in the world, was launched in 2002 in association with The BRIT Trust.

Among the 2013 contest judges were Grammy, Emmy, CMA and BRIT Award winning Gold and Platinum Album producers and artists, including Sting’s producer and musical director, Kipper Eldridge, UK producer, Stuart Epps, BRIT Award winning producer, songwriter and musical director, Simon Ellis, international country star and songwriter, Lucie Diamond, producer and arranger Richard Niles and past winner, Natalie Chua.

Published on August 12, 2013
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