On becoming Jude Al .. A man and musician’s journey. Not everyone can say they are born into a family of musicians but for Jude, a 30 year old musician and entrepreneur, this beginning was the catalyst for bigger dreams & the musician he is today.
Born into a family filled with musical talent, Jude’s initiation into music happened early on. His grandfather was a stalwart and popular figure of the choir community in Mumbai and Thane, and he has fond memories of learning the song ‘Edelweiss’ (from the musical Sound of Music) from his grandfather at the age four or five. However, it was his mum that first ignited his young mind to the prospect of learning music.A natural talent she could already see. Today Jude is a successful small business owner, performing live musician, and a dreamer. He’s set up a music training academy called ‘The Vocal School’, teamed up with keyboardist Nizil Crasto and formed a popular band called ‘The Culture kings’, and he even did a vocals stint with the band – Rhythm Revival. His most recent work is a independently released single called ‘Not a Puppet’ in collaboration with long time friend and guitarist Ajay Varma. The song, Al says, summarizes his life’s journey, conquering new challenges, and going where his heart takes him.
But all this success did not come easy; Jude Almeida had to fight hard to establish and grow the performer one can see today as Jude Al. Growing up in a catholic parish in Thane city, young Jude was surrounded by music in the church and the household. His grandfather Neil Almeida’s success and reputation in the choir, only inspired Jude to go deeper into joining the choir community, and he proved his worth going on to win awards in numerous, parish,inter-parish,inter school & inter college competitions. He was also developing his skills as an actor. As he grew, so did his repertoire, and he went on to perform a lead role of ‘Judas’; in
Jesus Christ Superstar (the musical) and the lead role in a performance of ‘Prodigal Son’ three times. Twice at the parish of St John’s the Baptist, Thane and once at Don Bosco’s, Borivali. Though.. even after all the awards and adulation, he still felt incomplete. Despite his strong individual personality and a performer’s acumen. In the eyes of people (in the local music circles and networks), Jude was often unable to step out of the shadow of his grandfather’s reputation and the Almeida family heritage. Why? Why.. couldn’t he shine on his own was a question he set out to answer and from then on Jude Alemdia became Jude Al. An independent musician, navigating on his own terms, his own brand – separate from his old identity.
With this determination, a slightly older and experienced Jude began his foray into commercial music. Going on accomplish a performance on Indian national Television with the band ‘Catharsis’ and then later a string of shows as the lead role of ‘Simon the Zealot’ in Alyque Padamsee’s production – the hugely popular ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. His first band experience though was a humble beginning, as a drummer for ‘Psychotic Cymbals’. His band-mates often jokingly called him the ‘doppa chica guy’. Because, at first he only knew how to play a single 4X4 beat that sounded exactly like that. His next band ‘Mystical Elements’ was key in his transition to a vocalist and though he still continued to play drums, he knew singing was always going to be his calling. As Jude grew in the independent rock band culture, he moved onto another band ‘Erebus’. The experience was instrumental in opening up his musical tastes to the more heavier music styling of Metal and Punk. Erebus went on to win numerous major college level festivals and performed at classic venues like The Hard Rock Cafe and the erstwhile Jazz by the Bay. And at one point they were performing almost every second day due to their popularity. However, the next band he joined was what really fueled Jude’s passion. Consisting of some members from ‘Mystical Elements’, this new band ‘Catharsis’ was all about making original music and expressing their originality through riveting performances. It showed, and they went on to win numerous events and competitions.
Al’s self-vision of a performer in the spotlight was slowly gaining full momentum through the medium of these band’s performances and things were going well. Life however has a tendency to be unpredictable and downright sad sometimes.. The passing of Jude’s mum was one that shook him to the core. She was one of his biggest supporters, a key figure in the dream both mother and child shared. And one of the saddest moments for Jude, was that his mom did not get to see him perform his own work on the hugely popular national television show ‘Channel V’s – Lauch Pad’. He recounts fondly, that his mom always told him he would be on TV one day..
There was also a challenge of identity that started to creep in, as he was only doing his music part time and the question of whether he should pursue being a drummer or singer was also a constant thought running at the back of his mind. These times were uncertain,he kept switching jobs to make ends meet. Jude struggled to make a decision – A full time career in music or something else that he would not just enjoy as much. His mom always wanted him to be happy (being a musician) but advised him to also study,
work a steady job, set himself up and then take on music. Caught between the two choices, Jude trusted his mom’s advice. Got a steady job, started small and rose all the way to the level of a manager for a firm. Though work was good he never forgot about his true passion – Music. It was this passion that kept him determined to make music a fulltime career. And finally, Jude chose to follow his heart. A choice that has seen him succeed in making a career out of music and lightening people’s hearts up with his quintessential performer’s charm.
Today, Jude and his wife Synora run a successful platform to showcase ‘ The Jude Al ‘ experience, and also work closely with students at ‘The Vocal School’. All this though, would be a lot different, if it were not for Synora. He proudly mentions her as his pillar of strength to do all of this with a bang! She is his main support system in bringing back music to his life
and helping draw out the bigger picture.
From a child yearning to step out of the shadow of his musical heritage to an entrepreneur, musician and popular performer. Jude’s musical journey is intertwined in the hopes and dreams of his own heart, his doting mother, his wife Synora, his family, and the support of his friends and fellow musicians. A journey that would not have been possible without them or his constant desire to keep pushing the boundaries of musicianship.