Azam Ali was born in Iran and grew up in India from the age of four, absorbing its music and culture for 11 years before moving to Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, Ali began playing the santour (an instrument similar to hammered dulcimer), studying for five years with Persian master Manoocher Sadeghi. Her musical endeavors inevitably led to the re-discovery of her voice. Her singing not only liberated her creatively, but also connected Ali to her purest form of expression. Her writing style was naturally influenced by the Persian folk songs, Indian ghazals and bhajans she heard growing up. Originally composing songs around her own poetry, she then began singing phonetically, using her voice as an instrument. Simple phrases gradually gave way to more complex verses, which finally evolved into the intricate language of expression she has used with groups VAS and Niyaz.