Faruq Mahfuz Anam (born 2 October 1964), known by his stage name James, is a Bangladeshi singer-songwriter, guitarist, and composer and a playback singer . He is the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of the rock band "Nagar Baul)" (previously Feelings) , which he founded in 1977. James was born and raised in Naogaon. But, he grew up in Chittagong City.
James has also led a successful solo career, with hit albums like Ananya (1989), "Palabe Kothay (1995), Dukhini Dukkho Korona (1997), Thik Achhe Bondhu (1999). He sang in four Bollywood films, including Gangster (2006), Woh Lamhe (2006), Life in a... Metro (2007), Warning (2013).
James rose to mainstream fame in the 1990s as the frontman of Feelings, which is one of the "Big Three of Rock", who were responsible for developing and popularizing hard rock music in Bangladesh, along with LRB and Ark. Feelings is considered to be the pioneer of psychedelic rock in Bangladesh. He is often referred by the name "Guru".
James won Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer twice for his performance in the films Desha: The Leader (2014) and Swatta (2017).
James was born in Naogaon, Rajshahi on 2 October, 1964 to father, Mojammel Haque and mother, Jahanara Khatun. His father was a government employee who was the Chairman of the Dhaka Education Board. The family originally lived in Naogaon, but moved to Chittagong in around 1958-59, when Mojammel Haque was transferred.
From his teens, James developed an avid interest in music, an interest which his family did not accept or support. He first played guitar with his friends when he was in class seven in 1975. In the early-to-mid 1970s, while learning guitar, James became interested in bands like the Doors, Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin and guitarists like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Jimi Hendrix.
Following a dispute with his family, James left his house when he was in class eight in 1976. He started living in a dormitory called Aziz Boarding in Pahartali. He formed Feelings in 1977, as the vocal and the lead guitarist.
Nagar Baul (1977-present)
After some members left Feelings in 1981, James, Fanty, Pablo and Swapan re-formed the band and started to perform in local gigs. This was the line-up at that time:
James – lead guitar, vocals
Ahsan Elahi (Fanty) – drums
Pablo – keyboards, vocals
Swapan – bass guitar
He became popular among musicians as "The one who can play Mark Knopfler with the right feels".[clarification needed] After several years of stage shows, they came to Dhaka to record their first album, Station Road. James composed all the tracks, and wrote the lyrics for five of them. Though the album was not a hit, the tracks "Ager Jonome", "Amai Jete Dao" and "Rupshagor" enjoyed moderate success.
In 1993, they released their second album Jail Theke Bolchhi (Speaking from the Jail). This album was a major hit, and Feelings became a mainstream band.
James sings psychedelic rock and blues music. He has cited Jim Morrison, Mark Knopfler, and Eric Clapton as his influences.
Many lyricists have written songs for James, including poet Shamsur Rahman, Prince Mahmud, Marjuk Rasel, Shibli and Deholovi. Musicians like Lucky Akhand and Manam Ahmed have also composed songs for him.
The albums he released with Feelings after Station Road (Originally titled Feelings) and Jail Theke Bolchhi are Nagar Baul in 1996, Leis Fita Leis in 1998, Collection of Feelings in 1999. His first solo album was Anonna, released in 1989, followed by Palabe Kothai in 1995, Dukkhini Dukkho Korona in 1997, Thik Achhe Bondhu in 1999, Ami Tomader E Lok in 2003, Jonota Express in 2005, Toofan in 2006 and Kal Jomuna in 2009.
James later renamed Feelings as Nagar Baul. The first and only album under the new name was "Dushtu Cheler Dol, released in 2001.
James has been one of the most popular artists, both as a solo musician and with his band in Bangladesh and in West Bengal, since the 1990s. He met Pritam Chakraborty, an Indian Bengali music director and composer working in Bollywood, in 2004. In 2005, James did the playback for the film Gangster. The song was "Bheegi Bheegi" and it was a blockbuster hit, remaining at the top of the Bollywood Hit List for more than a month.He teamed up with Pritam again for the film Woh Lamhe in 2006 for the song "Chal Chalein", and again for "Rishtey" and "Alvida (Reprise)" in the film Life in a Metro.
James' last song in Bollywood, titled "Bebasi", was released in 2013, for the film Warning.