Abu Dhabi: Her melodious voice praising Allah and Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] has been repeatedly heard by millions of people across the world. The Naats and Nasheeds (poetry in praise of Prophet Muhammad and Islamic chants) in her voice have brought tears to the eyes and peace to the minds of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Meet Ayisha Abdul Basith, a 16-year-old Indian student in Abu Dhabi who has more than 2.1 million subscribers and over 246 million views for her spiritual songs on her YouTube channel. She has 1.7 million followers on Facebook, 140,000 on Instagram, 43,000 on TikTok, 45,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and several fan pages across social media platforms.
Unlike many teens of her age, who rule social media with their glamorous outfits and trendy accessories, this girl from the south Indian state of Kerala is a symbol of simplicity. Wearing modest Islamic outfits, Ayisha has been winning hearts for several years with her singing that is full of devotion.
A 2016 video of her singing the famous naat ‘Hasbi Rabbi Jallallah’, originally recited by Hafiz Abu Bakr Haidri, has gained a whopping 80 million views. Her debut single ‘Tasbih’ has had more than 15 million views and has been used in thousands of videos as background music on various social media platforms.
Ambassador of spiritual songs
Speaking to Gulf News, Ayisha shared her journey and her latest releases for this Eid Al Adha — an Indonesian and a Turkish song.
“My mother [Tasnim Basith] is an awesome singer and I thank her for my singing talent,” said the grade 11 student of Abu Dhabi Indian School.
From a very young age, Ayisha started emulating her mother in singing.
“Apparently, I started singing from the age of three. Initially, my parents started posting my songs on the Facebook account of my father [Abdul Basith] and some of my songs got many views,” said Ayisha.
Then in 2013, her parents decided to start a YouTube channel in her name, she said.
They also decided to send her for vocal training. From the age of six, Ayisha underwent Hindustani vocal training and she continued with her training for four years. Then she took a break. Since last year, she has been training in western vocal under Lavita Lobo.
Ayisha is very good at singing in various languages. She has sung in foreign languages such as Turkish, Chechen, Korean, Persian, Indonesian languages apart from English and Arabic. She also sings in many Indian regional languages such as Malayalam, Tamil, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi etc. Though she mostly sings Islamic devotional songs, Ayisha has gone beyond the borders of religion by singing bhajans such as ‘Mera Khuda Bada Hai’, originally sung by BK Asmita for the Brahma Kumaris spiritual group.
Ayisha has released two new songs this Eid Al Adha. “One is an Indonesian song, which partly belongs to the hip-hop genre, and a Turkish song from a traditional genre. I am trying hip-hop and traditional genre for the first time. I am collaborating with two blessed musicians — Ziad Sumaira from Palestine for the Turkish song, and Mohammed Yaser from India for the Indonesian song.”
She has already collaborated with various artists from different parts of the world. Maryam Masud, the famous Quran reciter, and Ishrak Hussain, popular singer — both from Bangladesh — are among them.
Ayisha’s songs are played on various radio and TV channels across the globe — mainly, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. She has done several radio and TV shows and was featured as chief guest on radio programmes in the United States, United Kingdom and South Africa.
Ayisha is more inclined to Spiritique (Spiritual Music) and is interested in traditional Eastern and Western music.
No wonder, she is a big fan of Sami Yusuf, who first used the word ‘Spiritique’ to describe his unique musical style that blends elements of Western and Eastern sounds. Ayisha considers meeting Sami Yusuf in 2018 as a key moment in her life because the Iranian-born British singer-song writer recognised her in a crowd waiting for a meet-and-greet session with him in Dubai Mall.
“I was shocked when he said ‘I know you.’ I was so stunned that I didn’t know how to react. I couldn’t even smile when he posed for a photo with me,” Ayisha recalled. She was elated when Sami introduced her to the crowd and invited her to sing a song as well. That meeting soon led to Ayisha being signed up as a published artist of Andante Music — UK, founded by Sami Yusuf.
She is also a big fan of Indian music maestro A.R. Rahman. Working with Rahman is Ayisha’s big dream. “Most of my songs are covers as I still have a lot to learn about music. I want to learn to play many instruments and do concerts with my favourite instruments in the future.” She said her ultimate aim is to continue to be a singer who spreads the message of love and peace through music.
‘My followers are my strength’
Mostly singing from the ‘mini-studio’ at her home, Ayisha said her family, including her siblings Ahmed and Ahlam, are her pillars of support. “I get a lot of support even from people I have never met in real life. My followers on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are my strength.”
Her main followers are from Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, UK and US. Recently, she had many followers from Uzbekistan and Chechnya. She communicates with her fans mostly on Instagram and Facebook.
For this Eid, Ayisha launched a special interactive video with her girl fans below 18. A recipient of YouTube’s Golden Play Button (given for content creators crossing one million subscribers), Ayisha lets her parents use the income generated from her channel.
“We spend a portion of the money on creating her videos and music and the rest for charity work. Ayisha is engaged with some of the NGOs,” said her father.
Ayisha says she feels blessed to be a UAE resident and is fortunate to have get so many opportunities to showcase her talent in the country.