Zain Bhikha (born August 9, 1974, Pretoria, South Africa) is a nasheed artist. He has written many religious albums concerning Islam. He was born to parents Rashid and Mariam Bhikha. The only son, with three sisters; Zubida, Aysha and Nasima, Zain showed a keen interest from a young age in entertaining his friends and family with his beautiful singing.
Zain was not aware of his full potential until 1994 when he won a singing competition on Radio 702, a local radio station. A simple song which he recorded on his home karaoke system brought him out tops among mostly professional participants. After this great accomplishment, he seriously considered recording an album. This consideration was put into action after he was approached by a local school who asked him to write and record their school anthem. Zain took it a step further and composed a full album, entitled A Way of Life. This was a compilation of basic Acapella Islamic songs, mostly in English covering the various tenets of Faith. The album, which was the beginning of greater things, only took Zain two weeks to complete.
A Way of Life sparked the beginning of many more album releases namely Praise to the Prophet (SAW) (1996), Fortunate is He (1997) and The Journey (1998). Zain Bhikhas song served to be very popular throughout South Africa, especially for young children who found the songs educational and inspiring. Its popularity caused it to filter abroad and come to the ears of World Renowned Muslim activist Yusuf Islam, better known as Cat Stevens.
Yusuf Islam was working on a momentous project entitled A is for Allah and believed Zain could contribute by lending his voice to some of the songs. In 1999, Zain flew to the United Kingdom to join Yusuf Islam's Mountain of Light Studios to begin recording. This opportunity was a life long dream for Zain. To top it off, he was given the chance to perform in seven of the eight songs on the album. Zain also gained much experience from Yusuf Islam as he had no previous formal music training. It was during the production of this album that Zain was brought on board as an artist under Mountain of Lights cultural label called Jamal Records. With the backing of Jamal Records, Zain planned the world-wide release of two compilation albums incorporating all material he had done thus far. These albums were entitled Children of Heaven and Towards the Light, featuring some remixed songs.
Under the guidance of Mountain of Light and the world-wide distribution power of Jamal Records, Zain released his first new album under the label entitled, Faith (2001). The songs in this album deal with a broad spectrum of emotions from hardships to happiness but always invoke a constant consciousness of Allah. The album also brought about collaborations between Zain and well-known Nasheed artist, Dawud Wharnsby Ali.
With his popularity rising and live performances around the globe, Zain Bhikha released Our World in 2002. This album was a portrayal of the unity which Islam brings to all cultures, languages and traditions through the Will of Allah. Zain's eldest son, Rashid, is introduced to us on this album with his melodic voice. The title track for his album is a prayer for a better world for all people, one free of prejudice and war.
In 2005 Zain established a South African company called Zain Bhikha Studios. This company serves to house all of Zain's present and future works in all fields be it song albums, educational projects through schools or theatre productions. Zain also began this with the intention of giving local and international artists the platform to gain exposure through his experience and resources in the industry.
After the establishment of Zain Bhikha Studios, Zain continued his long time relationship with Jamal Records. The two companies formed a partnership with Jamal Records being Zains exclusive international distributor. Jamal Records are the driving force behind Zains international recognition and his albums distribution.
With the birth of his new company came the first album to be produced under the Zain Bhikha Studios label, Mountains of Makkah. This album was inspired by Zains pilgrimage to Makkah in 2004. Both the content and composition of this album shows much maturity. The lyrics are a personal reflection of his thoughts and feelings while partaking in this profound spiritual journey.
Zain continues to work in South Africa producing both educational and inspirational works for one and all. His new album, soon to be released at the end of 2006 is called Allah Knows which once again reunites him with friend and artist, Dawud Wharnsby Ali. This album is dedicated to the journey of all children and was written specifically for Zain's son Rashid who also features wonderfully on the album. For more info on the upcoming album, please visit www.zainbhikha.com
Zain was a pioneer in the Nasheed genre. When Zain started singing, Islamic songs were not being sung in English. As one of the first English Islamic singers he opened the door for many other artists. His albums have been launched in many countries including the United Kingdom, North America, Malaysia, France, Turkey, The Middle East, and Australia. He has performed live in cities across most continents and has become somewhat of a household name when it comes to Islamic Music.
In addition to music, he also writes and directs plays written specifically for schools. One of his many successful school plays, An Orphans Tale, which he produced in conjunction with the Pretoria Muslim School, was a great success and brought a full house for all three nights that it ran in October 2003.
Zain has performed with a long list of artists such as Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Ashiq al Rasul, Hasan Kalicitan, Khalid Belhrouzhi, Native Deen, Qatrunada, Imad Rami, Sami Yusuf, Dewan Chinekar, Irfan Makki, Khaleel Mohamed and not forgetting his mentor, Yusuf Islam. In his many local performances for Islamic schools, launches, fetes and dinners, Zain has performed with local artists like Faeeza Malinga, Ziyaad Patel, Imran Dhaya and of course, his son Rashid Bhikha
Zains songs are mainly self written and are driven by emotion and the need to reassure people that there is always hope and turning to God is the answer to the core for our everyday questions and confusion. Many of his songs represent different times in his life when he is learning and remembering how necessary Allahs presence is.