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Nigina Amonkulova is one of the brightest and most talented Tajik pop stars. Thanks to her beautiful voice, graceful performance and, most importantly, the high-quality content of songs in the national style, in a short time she was able not only to find popular love, but also to find her own unique place on the modern stage. The sudden popularity did not have a negative impact on her, as it happens, – she, as before, is modest, friendly and easy to communicate.

Nigina Amonkulova told in an exclusive interview with the Internet portal about how it was possible to become a singer, despite the prohibitions, whether it is true that she left the stage under pressure, and what new songs await fans.

  • Nigina, was it a childhood dream to perform on stage, to become a singer?
  • It, of course, was in my soul, but I probably did not realize it. Dad has a very good voice, my grandfather sang folk songs. My genre is neither classical nor very pop. This is more from the heart. Rather, I’m still a folk singer. But what I do, I really like it – this is my job, and I am happy that I have it in my life. I live by it and will live by it.
  • Did your parents immediately notice your artistry and zeal for singing? Supported?
  • I won’t say that I was in the spotlight. I remember that I always sang at home – when I worked, I cleaned, cooked, sang along all the time. Mom and Dad scolded me for this, told me not to be distracted. I am sorry that my parents did not send me to a music school then. I have no musical education, and I also do not know how to play musical instruments.
  • What instrument would you like to play?
  • On the piano. This is the kind of instrument you can play and compose everything. It would be nice to sing and accompany yourself on the piano.
  • But even now it is not too late to learn this, the main thing is to find time …
  • That’s just the same time and not enough, because now there are a lot of things to do. And it seems to me that this still needs to be done from childhood, so that the foundation is strong.

Do you remember your first performance in front of a large audience?

  • I sang my first song at the graduation ball at school. It was a song of his own composition “Alvido, maktab!” (“Goodbye, school”). We got together with classmates, girlfriends, and decided to sing a song about school years. The musicians listened to us, they liked my voice, and they left only me. My friends were a little offended then.

And on the graduation day, when I sang this song, all the graduates and teachers were crying. After the performance, everyone came up, hugged and thanked me for the performance. When I entered the medical college, everyone already knew that I sing and I have a good voice – they began to offer me to perform at various competitions. But then my parents scolded me for singing at the prom.

  • That is, your parents did not like that you sang and the audience greeted you so warmly?
  • Father scolded that I, an adult girl, do some frivolous things. Mom was also unhappy.
  • And someone from your family came to your defense?
  • Yes, grandmother. It seems to me that she is the person who supported me and put my parents in front of the fact that I would sing, and that’s it. This was her decision, and no one would have gone against her word.

At “Andalebe-2004” (Song competition. – Ed. Note) I was supposed to perform at the city competition with the song “Mu? Abbot – bakhti khandon” (“Love is a smiling happiness”). My parents did not know about it, but when they found out, they banned it. And I could not let the team that hoped for me so much. Well, I sang and they gave me 10 points.

The next tour “Andaleba” was republican and took place in Kulob (200 km southeast of Dushanbe. – Ed. Note). I sang the same song. I was given 9 points, and inside of me all hopes collapsed at once, my whole mood soured.

Two years later, when I had already graduated from the medical college, I was again invited to the republican competition “Andaleb” in Dushanbe. I was offered three songs to choose from – “Intisor?” (“Waiting”), “Khonai mo on? Adar? Am dur nest” (“Our house is not so far away”) and another song, which is more popular among the people as “Dar labi both” (“On the river bank” ), but in fact it is called “Ran? ida nigoram omad” (“My hurt beloved has come”). I immediately chose this song – it was closer to me. Dad gave his consent only three days before leaving for Dushanbe – again, thanks to my beloved grandmother, who barely persuaded him

And so I came to Ko? And Farhang (House of Culture), we rehearsed and flew to Dushanbe. On the day of the performance, I had some kind of problem, I don’t remember which one, but, in my opinion, something was wrong with the costume. I was very worried about this and even cried before the performance. But when I entered the stage, everything seemed to boil in my soul. And when I started to sing, I felt the sympathy and support of the audience and gave my all 100%. The jury gave me 10 points. Penjikent (Small homeland of the singer. – Ed.) Won the Grand Prix then.

They returned home. Everything is fine, everything is quiet. And then suddenly on central television, Shabakai Awal and Safina, probably every half hour, show my performance. Dad again got angry – they say that they show you so often, you need to call them, tell them not to show you.

  • How did you feel when you saw it on television?
  • I remember, I was very shy, scolded myself for my facial expressions, I thought why I did this, why I smiled.
  • What kind of person are you in life?
  • I’m an introverted person. I’m not as active as on stage. When I go on stage, I directly reincarnate, I put all my strength, all my emotions into the performance of my song. And so I am a family, quiet person. Not everyone can be friends, communicate.
  • After Andaleb, were you invited to work in Dushanbe?

Yes. I studied at the Tursanzade Institute of Arts. True, my profession is a production director (laughs). In 2007 I entered the conservatory, but I also worked as a soloist in the Dario ensemble, and there was very little time, I could not combine study and work. When I went to study, I was scolded here, I worked – I missed classes and received from the teachers. Then I decided to go to distance education and continued to work.

  • And the conditions when you were invited were in Dushanbe?
  • Yes, I was provided with housing. Now I live here.
  • How do you combine home, work, family in such a tight touring schedule?
  • It can be very difficult, but so far I can handle it. My family understands and supports me. My family knows that the stage is my calling.
  • Who helps you with childcare?
  • My mom helps me with this.
  • Does anyone else sing in your family besides you?
  • Yes, my younger brother, Khusrav Amonkulov. He is a singer and mainly performs in Khujand. Even before me, he began to study music, graduated from a music school.
  • How many of you are in the family?
  • Five. My brother is older than me, and three more younger brothers after me. I am the only daughter.
  • In your performances, you mainly wear national satin clothes. Who sketches, designs?
  • I do all this personally. I have no designer, no director, no producer. I make sketches myself, give it to the dressmaker, and she sews.
  • In the last clips you have brighter makeup, European clothes. Don’t want to be remembered only in the atlas?
  • No, why, on the contrary. I want to be remembered like this, because the atlas is so diverse, beautiful and makes any girl even more feminine and tender. But there are times when I choose outfits for a song.
  • Do you shoot your clips mainly in Tajikistan or abroad?
  • I don’t have the opportunity to shoot clips abroad yet. All filmed here in Dushanbe. Of course, I would like to shoot them abroad, more professionally, with high quality, but so far there is no financial opportunity. Let us be content with what we have.
  • And what has your name and success brought you materially?
  • I have everything, thank God. There is a car, an apartment. My wealth is my songs, clips. That’s all I did myself.
  • From the moment of your participation in the Andaleb competition and up to the present day, you have probably gained a whole army of fans. Don’t they torture?
  • No, my parents were very protective of me, and there was never such a problem that they pounced on me. But, as we say, “? Avchi? O beads of budands” (there were enough matchmakers).
  • You are a rather famous singer in the country, and there are a lot of rumors about you. One of them, for example, is that you were pressured and therefore you left the stage. Is it so?
  • No, these are, of course, rumors. There are no problems, thank God. As I performed and worked, I continue to work.
  • What are you working on now? How are you planning to please your fans in the near future?
  • As I said, I do everything myself and therefore I cannot release a song every month. Sometimes, of course, it happens that in one month I will release 2-3 songs, but sometimes it can last up to three months. Now I have a couple of new songs on the way. So far I am working on their completion.
  • Do you have any plans to perform in Moscow, Russia?
  • Yes of course. This year there were many offers from Moscow regarding concerts. I also had to go to Navruz and perform there, but since we have a state institution, there are a lot of performances and events that we have to perform here. But I really hope that this year I will finally go and perform in Moscow.
  • Have you performed in Russia before?
  • No, I am not yet familiar with the Russian public.
  • In which countries did you perform? Where did you like it more?
  • We often travel with the days of Tajik culture to different countries. I have been to China, have traveled to Europe, to Arab countries, to India. Almost everywhere we are greeted very well, I’ll even say with a bang – after all, these are national Tajik songs.
  • When you have free time, where do you like to relax?
  • I would like to visit Italy. I liked Paris very much. Although we were passing there, I will never forget this city – it is actually fabulous. In Germany, life seemed to me a kind of gray, but Paris is boiling with life, although I did not have time to really see anything.
  • Do you buy clothes on these trips too?
  • European – yes. But I very rarely wear European clothes on stage, and I sew national clothes here.
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • If there is such a time, which is very rare, I try to spend it with the child, because he always misses me.
  • Do you cook at home? What’s your signature dish that you spoil your family with?
  • Yes, I’m cooking. My child loves spaghetti very much. They are good at me.
  • What national dishes do you like to cook?
  • I know how to cook very few of the national ones, but, to be honest, I myself really like to eat deliciously (laughs). Of course, I understand that this is harmful for the figure, but when I see that I have already gone too far, I go on a diet, but not on a rigid one. I just eat fruits, dairy products, vegetables. And so I’m not picky about food at all. I am always interested in trying new food, different national dishes. When we were in China on tour, no one ate traditional Chinese food, but I tried everything.
  • Often you are recognized on the streets in Dushanbe, on tour?
  • Yes, it happens often. At first I was somehow complex, but now I’m used to it. They come up for an autograph, ask to be photographed together. This is me now by car, and before I went by public transport.
  • Do you feel like a star?
  • No, I never considered myself a star. The star is Alla Pugacheva, Philip Kirkorov. I have people’s love, but this makes me not feel like a star. “Ma? Bubi khal? budan ”(to be the people’s favorite) is good. I always say that my sponsor is my people, because I often go to events, weddings. My people support me, and I am grateful to them for that. I will never leave Tajikistan and go to any other country.
  • And there were such proposals, and if so, from which countries?
  • Yes they were. Mostly Iranian, Afghani diasporas who live in America, Canada, but I cannot imagine myself without Tajikistan.
  • What are you striving for now? Have you achieved everything you wanted?
  • I do not know. It seems to me that I have not done something important yet, have not achieved much. I feel that I have not sung my main song yet, it is still ahead. I still have to grow and learn, gain experience and professionalism. Recently I found out that I already have 80 songs: I came to a friend and saw her disk, in which they collected all the songs – both those that I sang alone and as a duet.
  • What are you striving for now? Have you achieved everything you wanted?
  • I do not know. It seems to me that I have not done something important yet, have not achieved much. I feel that I have not sung my main song yet, it is still ahead. I still have to grow and learn, gain experience and professionalism. Recently I found out that I already have 80 songs: I came to a friend and saw her disk, in which they collected all the songs – both those that I sang alone and as a duet.
  • Who would you like to sing a duet with?
  • I would like to sing a duet with Jurabek Murodov, with young, new talents, thus supporting them. I would like to sing something folk with the Shams group …
  • Incendiary?
  • No, not incendiary. I do not strive for my songs to be incendiary, so that they immediately become hits. The main thing is that the song is sung from the heart.
  • Your songs are often lyrical, sad. Does it have something to do with your personal life?
  • No, I just try to sing the song so as to convey the depth of the verse, as the author felt, and not connect it with my life, problems. I convey it the way I feel it myself. I am a performer and I try to do what I sing well. I love to collaborate with composers such as Tobis Hiloli, Davron Rakhmatzoda, who compose music for my songs. Sometimes I am offered music with poetry, sometimes I myself select poetry to the music.
  • Do you have many friends?
  • I am friendly with everyone, I communicate, but I don’t have so many friends. I chose for myself such friends (there are not many of them) who, it seems to me, will always be with me, and I will always be friends with them, because they deserve it. My friends are 10-15 years older than me. I am more interested in them – they have more life experience.
  • And who helps you around the house, around the house? Have an assistant?
  • There is an au pair, but I take care of all the important events myself, because if everything is not under my control, my soul is restless.
  • Do you often receive guests at home?
  • Yes, often, but I like to visit more (laughs).
  • Are you planning to have more children?
  • Sure! In general, I would like a football team, and ideally at least three.
  • Would you like your son to follow in your footsteps?
  • When my son Azamchon was 3 years old, he sang all the time, but now he stopped. I no longer see such a desire for singing, he switched to technique. Although I also limit him in the use of any gadgets.