By his own admission, Kailash Kher's trajectory to success as a Bollywood playback singer wasn't direct. Kher had sung all his life; he was schooled deeply in folk music by his father, Pandit Mehar Singh Kher, and began serious classical training at the age of 12. But it took a business failure to put Kher into the sweaty, backstabbing world of wannabe Bollywood singers. After scoring a few jobs singing commercial jingles, he finally recorded a song for the film Andaaz, though that wouldn't make him famous. It took his second try, "Allah Ke Bande" (cited by none other than A.R. Rahman as a favorite song), to put his name on the lips of most Indian households. Within a few years, the opportunities snowballed, transforming Kher into one of the most sought-after singers in the business. His stature has only grown with a contribution to the Couples Retreat soundtrack and signing to the American label Cumbancha.