Ahmad Qais Taj Zada, the contestant from Melbourne, who made it to top 24 in the Afghan Star Talent show in Afghanistan, speaks to HB
For young aspiring Afghan singers living outside of Afghanistan it is a challenge to showcase talent within the community, but for Ahmad Qais Taj Zada, an opportunity to participate in the Afghan Star is what helped him become a star.
Qais’s passion for singing started at a very young age. During his school years Qais was part of the national anthem group. He was encouraged by his family, particularly his father, to sing and play the harmonium. But Qais never took any professional lessons, he practiced at home, and got several opportunities to perform in Indian festivals such as Holi in Melbourne as well as at some Afghan dos.
“My father wanted me to become a singer,” says Qais. “My family encouraged me to participate in Afghan Star, a talent show similar to American Idol organised in Sydney to celebrate Afghan singers living in Australia,” he adds. From among hundreds of contestants across Australia, Qais was selected to travel to Afghanistan and join the rest of contestants on stage, which were the top 160.
The young star made it to top 24 but did not make it to top 12. Qais believes this was because of his lack of experience. “But I am happy that my talent got me to the top 24 among 10,000 contestants across Afghanistan and Australia,” he says.
Besides singing Qais, has a passion for sports and fitness. In 2012, he came first in the Kabul bodybuilding championship in the 75kg weight category.
His achievement have made the Afghan community in Australia proud. “But the journey has just begun,” says Qais.