Fast Confession - Singing doctor Ali Amiri: My clinic was built on the confidence I’d gained in SuperStar
Do you still remember the time when a mania called SuperStar broke out in the Czech Republic? It has been sixteen years since Ali Amiri shone in the singing competition. He was nicknamed the Persian prince because he comes from Tehran, Iran. Ali was the only contestant who didn’t have Czech citizenship at the time. Although this singer turned doctor didn’t win the competition, people still remember him today. LP-Life.com was interested to know how he was doing years after his moment in the limelight, how his life looked like and whether he was still the wild animal he had been back in the days when the Czech republic lived through the popular singing competition.
Unbelievable, you haven’t changed a bit since back then! How has your life in show business changed during all these years?
Personally, what happened for me was that thanks to what I’d achieved during SuperStar, I was able to understand my strength and I began to see things a little differently. I trusted myself more, the steps I made were much clearer and more confident.
So the competition gave you a confidence boost?
A huge one. I’d only been here for five years when I applied, I had a huge handicap back then, because I couldn't express everything I wanted, I didn't speak Czech very well yet. But being able to stay in people's memories like this and achieving some success showed me that I had a lot more strength than I’d imagined.
How did your family, your parents, perceive it?
They didn't know about it. They didn't understand it at all.
Did they not understand that you chose to participate?
No, they didn't understand how complicated it was overall.
Were they proud?
Yes, they are proud of many things I’ve done in my life. But my dad is a tough guy who doesn't have much respect for this, he’d look at it and be like “nice”. My mom has always been very emotional. Because they weren't here and then only saw a few shots when it was all over, they couldn't experience the enormous impact of how difficult it was. I was here completely alone and gained fans in the process. My family wasn't here, I didn't have anyone who could come and watch me.
So who did you have in the audience at the beginning?
A couple of recurring fans who started a fan club, and a few friends. But I've never had many people behind me who’d be proud of where I came from, for example. I was basically out of touch with what others had. I remember that when we finished the evening live, we all got a CD with songs for the next week, from which we had to choose what we would sing next. The way it worked, whoever picked something, had a song right away. Everyone knew all the songs and chose according to the titles on the spot, but I had to listen to them first. Every week, I was left with only the worst songs that no one had chosen. Like Nedvěd, everyone was afraid of that, because it was almost like an anthem. It was the only song I liked from what was left; the producers even tried to persuade me to change my mind. In the end, it was probably the biggest success in the entire finals. There was a lot of things, a lot of emotions I couldn’t share with anyone. Sometimes I was so upset that I went and cried in the toilet for half an hour.
Because there was terrible pressure from all sides. For example, I had to chat with people on the Internet, and eighty percent of the comments were swearwords, racist ones. That was a kind of pressure the others didn't have. It was an incredible experience for me to understand how strong I was and how I could defend myself from this position. That's one of the reasons why I founded this huge clinic a few years later. Everyone was telling me I was crazy and had no experience, but I had big eyes and I knew I could do it.
So your clinic was built on the confidence you’d gained in SuperStar.
Definitely. That self-confidence and everything I experienced there gave me incredible strength for the future.
Do people still recognize you on the street?
I still meet people who do, and unlike the chat back then, the reactions are always positive. When they recognize me, they welcome me, they are nice to me, they offer me extra services. It's fascinating that they still recognize me even after all these years. It's very pleasant.
You were supposed to receive Český Slavík a year after SuperStar, but it didn't work out because you didn't have Czech citizenship.
Not that I should have received Český Slavík, but I should have been nominated for one. Since I'm not Czech, I wasn't nominated.
Were you upset about it?
Vy jste měl rok po SuperStar dostat Slavíka, ale nešlo to, protože jste neměl české občanství.
Ne že jsem měl Slavíka dostat, ale měl jsem být nominován. Protože nejsem Čech, tak mě nenominovali.
Of course. But it was basically just more of the same thing. In SuperStar, I was the only foreigner before the semifinals. The producer would always come and say that we couldn’t let a person who doesn’t speak Czech properly into the next round. At that time, I was the only such person, it was as though he were speaking directly to me. I felt the pressure all the time, some of the jurors also criticized my Czech, others found it funny or cute. Every now and then, l wondered why I’d even signed up for it. That was when I understood that it wasn’t “Czechia is looking for a SuperStar”, but “Czechia is looking for a Czech SuperStar”. Back then, I couldn't express my emotions as easily as I can today, sometimes I was like a deaf-mute. Sadly, I was miserable throughout it all, but thankfully it made me a stronger person.
You got Czech citizenship after that?
I had a long-term residence permit first, then a permanent residence and then citizenship.
Have you ever considered returning home?
Of course, I have. I even returned home after my attestations. I'd always wanted to try what it was like to go back and live there. I spent there a year and a half, I opened a small clinic there. But then I realized that I couldn't live there anymore, that I couldn't get along with the local people anymore.
Because you’d developed the Czech mentality?
For sure. Here, I would make an agreement to meet with someone and that person would come on time, nothing like that existed there. I started renting that clinic, came back here and opened this clinic a few months later.
Weren't your parents sad? Or did you bring them here with you?
No, but I think since I turned eighteen they understood that I would never live with them again. That I was already a free bird that needed to fly.
Free as a bird. But in Fast Confession, you told me you’ve already been caught.
Yes, I have a partner, we live together.
You haven’t gotten married yet?
We're not married on paper, but I consider her my wife.
But we women take it differently, we want a ring and a wedding…
Naturally, she got a ring. I propose again almost every year. A woman should be pampered, and that's what I'm trying to do.
Is she Czech?
Yes, she is Czech.
How long have you been together?
We’ve lived together for four years, but we have known each other much longer.
I also wanted to ask how you were coping with the Covid crisis, but you look like a lovestruck teenager, so I assume things are working out for you.
I never took it as a horrible time period. The way I see it, something like this has to come once every fifty years. I know this from history, I know it happened in the past, and with a much worse impact than now. Now I'm fascinated by the ways people behave. But I managed to do a lot of things that I hadn’t had time for before. I've learned that one can always turn disadvantages into advantages. This is a good lesson for me.
Is the clinic still operating?
Yes, it is. We may be earning 50 % of our usual turnover, but thanks to that we have more time. It gave me the opportunity to look into a different part of my existence that I had previously been unaware of. I used to be here, at the clinic I was building, all the time.
How many years has it been?
Since 2014. I have been renting since October 2014, I planned to have my own place in two years. And two years later we really did buy it, we started to expand. All my plans for the clinic are working out.
So Covid has affected the clinic's turnover, but it's still operating, which gives you time for your family.
Exactly. Most of our customers are from Germany, due to all the measures half of them won’t show up, it is risky. We've been completely closed for a while, but now we're operating, somehow I can cover all the costs.
Do you still sing? Do you have ambitions to perform or release an album?
I have to say that when I was in SuperStar, I wanted to make it a business for a while. But then I realized that my desire to sing that I had even before SuperStar was stronger than that. When the competition ended and a couple of tours I’d had with a band were over, I realized that my desire was to sing. Without participating in it in a commercial way. Today I work on songs and projects that I have composed myself, sometimes I do a remix. We record it in the studio, but only for Instagram and YouTube. I have no ambition to create another album or play a concert.
Does your partner like your singing?
Yes. I sing for her often. I have two guitars, so I'm always playing and singing something, and since she hasn't kicked me out yet, she must really like my hobby. (laughter)