GLOSS Volume 2, Issue 7 - 2018 - Page 26

You have come a long way in the Pakistani media industry. How are things different now? What has not changed? A lot has changed. I started as a singer with Jal. It was a long journey from that to being a solo singer and then coming into acting. What hasn’t changed is my drive to do more every day. the very next day. They would have to go and buy the CD. That is where record labels and artists would make money. Now its all instant. You release a song and the next hour it's everywhere. You can download it all for free. There’s no royalty for us, record labels don’t want to release albums. How did you get into Jal and what was it like to have that kind of success and celebrity status at such a young age? I feel like it was destined. Xulfi from Call was my senior at college. He introduced me to my band members. Music chose me rather than me choosing music. For any teenager to become the frontman of what would go on to become South Asia’s most famous band, was unimaginable and unbelievable. As an artist, I feel that a more functioning royalty system is imperative and the only place you make money now is concerts. Do you remember your first pay cheque? What did you do with it? I don’t remember a pay cheque but I remember my first earning and it was thrilling. I think I bought a flat screen TV. It was also a great moment for my parents. Looking back over the years, was there ever a gig where you felt “I shouldn’t have done that?” I don’t think that’s a good approach for an artist. Whether it’s a gig, a video, a concert, a drama or anything for that matter. You can’t think ‘I shouldn’t have done it.’ You need your mistakes to get better. To evolve into a higher self, and that’s the whole point of being an artist. Was your family comfortable with all the hype and fame that surrounded the band? They were caught by surprise, as was I. It all happened so fast that it wasn’t easy keeping up. At my first concert with Jal, I didn’t tell my mom where I was going. I just said I was travelling. Then 'Woh Lamhe' came out and the video was on every channel. It was an overnight sensation. There was hardly any time to react to it or discuss it. Of course, they were supportive, their only condition was for me to complete my Bachelors which I was pursuing from FAST. This process can take a few more years and then it may come back to albums. I don’t blame record labels for not wanting to release albums, but I feel like in a few years we may be able to come up with a solution that is a win-win situation for everyone. Was transitioning from singing to acting difficult? Did you have to train a lot, or did it come naturally for you? It wasn’t difficult, it was just new. I watched a lot of actors on screen, learned and grasped as much as I could. As long as you are a keen observer you can excel at anything, especially acting. That’s exactly what I managed to do. As long as you think something is right, and the public wants it, you are both on the same page. That’s what makes you What has been your favourite live performance so far? successful whether you are an actor or a singer. It doesn’t have to That’s a difficult question. All live performances are very thrilling be difficult, a slight change in approach is necessary. If you really for artists. Going on stage for the first time is a very special got it, people would eventually catch up. feeling. My first performances in India, Lahore and Karachi, were phenomenal. All artists have firsts, like the first music video, first Singer, actor and style icon, is it overwhelming to be Farhan award, first international tour. Every first is important. you can’t Saeed? Do you feel under pressure? How do you deal with the pick and choose just like parents who can’t choose a favourite stress? child. However, it has been a very memorable journey. There’s no stress. I don’t really give it a lot of thought. It’s God’s blessing that people love you for what you do. You enjoy it as You have also been working as a playback singer. What do it comes. Overthinking makes it difficult to concentrate. I tend you prefer, making your own music or playback singing? to go with the flow. I do exactly what my heart says as things Both have their own charm, whether it's your own composition come. I don’t dwell deeply on one particular thing. If people are or someone else’s. accepting do what you are doing and keep moving forward. As you grow and learn, you channel your experiences to become With playback singing, if you get a good composition to sing, better and better. that’s like a cherry on top of the cake. With making music you get to design everything yourself and you can say no to what you Since you have experience in both the drama and music don’t want, that’s a liberty you have with your own music. I just industry, what is one thing you feel needs to change in the feel as long as the audiences enjoy themselves its worth it. It's two? them who you need to keep in mind. We always pinpoint things that need to change. I think we need to change ourselves first. It doesn’t matter what a hundred Most of the musicians in Pakistan now prefer to release shortcomings I pinpoint and blame in any industry. The right singles, not albums. Why has the music industry come to this way to do is, If you want to change something, you just change point? it. Whether its tv or film, it has to start with you. This is also a I think the most important reason is the digitisation of media. I major issue with us as a nation, we wait for others to come and remember having to release CDs. People would not access music change things for us rather than helping ourselves. 26