Najma studied chemical engineering at Aston University, Birmingham: her father, brother and sister are also engineers. In 1984 she won the Birmingham Asian Song Contest, and in 1987 produced her first album.
Najma has been recognised by her work as a pioneer in using subtle jazz arrangements with the traditional South Asian vocal ghazal style. Following her unique and distinctive sound, Najma has inspired a new generation of musicians and composers to move into the fusion genre. Along with her fusion of subtle jazz nuances, Najma also performs Pakistani/Indian semi-classical, folk, sufi, bollywood, Indian underground, trance, along with the odd English song.
She has also appeared as a performer on stage and in songs and videos of other international famous singers/songwriters, such as the MTV No Quarter/Unledded performance with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page on the Led Zeppelin classic "Battle of Evermore", jazz vocalist Nina Simone, recording with Basement Jaxx, guitarist Andy Summers (The Police), Jah Wobble, and jazz and rock saxophonist Stan Harrison. Najma has also worked with saxophonist/flautist Michael J. Parlett
- Ghazals, 1988
- Qareeb, 1989
- Atish, 1990
- Pukar, 1992
- Forbidden Kiss: the Songs of S. D. Burman, 1996
- Vivid, 2002.
- Fariyaad: A plea to the creator, 2008.
- Rishte, 2009.
- with Jah Wobble on his album Take Me to God
- with Andy Summers on his album The Golden Wire
- with Steve Coleman on his albums Black Science and A Tale of 3 Cities
- with Ken Morioka on his album in Japan titled Question
- with Apache Indian on his hit single titled Arranged Marriage
- with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (both formerly of Led Zeppelin) on the track "The Battle of Evermore" from their album No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded
- with Jethro Tull on the title track from the album J-Tull Dot Com
- with La Cucina on their album Bloom
- with Sundae Club on their track Harold and their Stuff remix. She is also sampled in the song "Flight Four: India" off the album British Summer Time
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