At the age of 15, Ghulam Ali became a student of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan; the leading name in classical music. However Ghulam Ali was instructed by the brothers of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Mubarak Ali, Barkat Ali Khan and Aamanat Ali Khan who familiarized him with the finer points of classical music.
Ghulam Ali’s career began in 1960 from Radio Pakistan. Another person to influence Ghulam Ali and to make his singing style unparalleled was the poet Sufi Sahib. Sufi Sahib taught him the aesthetics of poetry and also taught him how to deliver the words without compromising the beauty of the poem.
Ghulam Ali blends various raags when composing his ghazals. His distinct style of singing along with his unique compositions has made his ghazals immortal. Ghulam Ali is equally popular in India and his ghazal “chupke chupke raat din” was included in a film. Ghulam Ali has sung Punjabi songs as well and has also sung ghazals in Nepali language.
Ghulam Ali has more than 50 cassettes to his credit and many leading recording companies have released his albums. Ghulam Ali mostly sings at live concerts all over the world. He was the singer of choice for the late king of Nepal Mahendra Birbikram Shah Dev.
He was awarded Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in 2013. He was also awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2013 by the President of Pakistan. In 2013, he became the first person to receive the Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Award by the Indian government.