Umair Ali is a junior at UT Arlington who is majoring in Communication Technology. He's also a best-selling iPhone ringtone maker.
Umair Ali is a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington who is majoring in Communication Technology. He's also a best-selling iPhone ringtone maker.
"It's a great experience," said Ali. "It's insane actually."
When he and his family first got their iPhones, they could never tell whose phone was ringing because they all had the same standard ringtone called "Marimba."
Ali produces music — so he decided to remix the familiar ringtone to give each of their phones more distinct personalities.
"People would ask [me and my family], 'Hey, where'd you get this? Where can I find this?'" Ali said. "So to fill that request, I said, 'Let's put this on iTunes."
He used an online music distributor called TuneCore to help him get the ringtone into the iTunes store. Since then, "iRemix" has been downloaded more than 100,000 times worldwide. Music Canada even sent him two plaques recognizing his sales in their country.
"I never thought it would go this far," said Ali.
He's since created other remixes of popular iPhone ringtones. His latest creation, called "Vine Ringtone: Marimba Hip Hop" is currently sitting in the Top 5 on the iTunes Ringtone Chart. That puts him ahead of artists like Beyoncé and Luke Bryan.
"That first one came out and I'm thinking, 'Hey, I got really lucky here,'" said Ali. "I just hit the jackpot. This is crazy. The second one came out and I'm like, 'Do I have talent now?'"
He said his top priority is to finish school but after that he would love to continue making music and see where this hobby of his can take him.
"Clearly it's working out for me," said Ali.
All of Ali's ringtones have garnered more than 150,000 downloads since 2013.