Life's circumstances caused Chutney Soca Monarch finalist Saleem Malik Beharry to turn to music early in his childhood. His father died when he was two and he grew up learning to take care of himself from an early age.
His mother Annmarie was so shaken by the sudden death of her husband that she too got ill and both Beharry and his elder brother Imran fought for survival under the care of relatives. Imran is also a chutney singer.
“I think it is because of this hard upbringing that we both gravitated towards music,” Beharry said. The 28-year-old singer said he mastered the drums and percussion instruments at age 12.
Beharry’s offering for 2018 is titled Shameless. He has reached the CSM semi-finals and finals on four occasions and will perform in position number seven as Master Saleem.
During childhood the two brothers lived in the US with their mother for some years. While there Beharry was called by various promoters to do music for shows.
“One day I was playing for India’s Anoop Jalota and soon I was providing music for Kumar Sanu,” he said. He saw the opportunity as a job, and for him there was no such thing as being famous, he said.
He returned to TT when he was 20 and was called by the top bands to provide drumming from time to time. He started singing film songs at private shows and soon he was performing at 103 FM Mela and other big events.
In 2013 he made a major breakthrough with Park Up Meh Car in San Juan which he composed. “It was just a simple story of a young man who had an old car but wanted to go everywhere and he keep shutting down for gas,” he said laughing. This song earned him a spot in the finals of CSM and Beharry gained popularity as a chutney star. In 2014 he delved into a comical song again with Rat in De Cinema. He scored high with his 2015 composition of Next Man Wife in which he sang, “I looking for a good wife and end up with a next man wife”.
Last year was a bumper year for Beharry as his song Back ah Siparia won the 103 FM Road March tune and also topped local charts.