Freddie Mercury Grew Up in Zanzibar

When most people think of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, they immediately associate him with the British rock scene, his place in the gay community and his unfortunately premature death from AIDS. What they almost certainly don’t think about is his ethnic background.

Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara to Parsee Indian parents in the colonial region of Zanzibar. His family was forced to flee to England as a result of political unrest in their home region. Before that, however, young Farrokh would discover a talent and passion for music while attending boarding school in Bombay. His earliest efforts involved practicing traditional and popular Indian songs on the piano and even joining a band called The Hectics in school. It was during this time that his classmates gave him the nickname of Freddie.

As a young man in England, Freddie spent most of his time alone in his room, writing music and practicing various songs. He failed his driver’s test and struggled to find work, but he never lost faith in his musical genius. This confidence would pay off soon enough when he began to make a mark on the British music scene. His parents, despite initial skepticism of his plans, continued to support him and attend all of his concerts as he grew in fame.