The last time I interviewed Atif Aslam, approximately a year ago, things were different. We were talking face-to-face which reveals an excellent deal; this point , the conversation takes place over the phone. We're living in unusual times; during an epidemic called COVID-19 and that i can't catch Atif the way I usually do when he's in town.
Atif doesn't have a PR company so as always, we found out a time for the interview. Still as forthcoming, as I ask him question after question, Atif is that the bourgeoisie boy who went from singing in college to the mighty hit 'Aadat' to knocking on doors for how in until he signed an Indian film as playback singer and it catapulted him to stardom that nobody else in contemporary music dreamt of, not even Atif himself. He's living the dream. And post-fatherhood for a second time, he's now able to talk music, not doing what's expected off him and finding satisfaction in family life over industry after-parties, all the time.
"Why does one put me on a pedestal
I'm so high that I can hardly see the bottom below
So help me down you've it wrong
I don't belong there."
Given the very fact that we are now living during a time when lockdown, social distancing and self-isolation are all precautionary measures that are taken to isolate the deadly virus and keep it from spreading. this is often where my conversation with Atif begins.
"So far so good," begins Atif, "It's sort of a break on behalf of me because I travel such a lot . I even have always been quite anti-social - in terms of industry parties - so therein sense, it's going okay."
But Atif is irked also . There are things that are causing a way of turbulence, just like the most sacred place of worship for Muslims, the Khana-e-Kaaba, has been pack up because the historic space is being sterilized, reports note, amid coronavirus fears. "The catastrophe will increase and it's on my mind," says Atif.
Religion has played a prominent role in Atif's life and career.
Last year Atif opened Coke Studio 12 with a hamd which too on a Friday. It's no secret that when Ramazan appears the acting community especially and show business at large begins pandering to an already right-wing myopic nation with such ubiquity in holiness that it's both shocking and horrifying. We do have clerics, many doing more damage, either in sort of maltreatment or last against the recommendation of public safety by both the govt and international bodies, to go to mosques to wish rather than reception .
But evangelical artists?
I discuss this with him; we mention congregations, narrow-mindedness over science, the playing of spiritual card by celebrities, and given all this I ask him whether he too was playing the religious card with the hamd.
Atif listens carefully then says, "Firstly, religion are some things very personal. Everyone looks at it from a special perspective, and at the age of 17, it's one thing and at 37 it's something else. Some know it of your time |too soon"> early while others take tons of time to know and a few never understand. it's the individual thought and process of individuals and what their environment, while growing up, has been like that features a stronghold. Some do want to figure for the explanation for religion and a few must, which may be a reality. There are many factors that inherit it. just like the afterlife and what one thinks that'okay sirf gaaney gaye, movies ki, but kuch serve nahin kiya'. So, you recognize an individual can think and obtain lost therein thought. within the end, it is a very one-on-one personal relation with God about what you would like to try to to and what you do not want to try to to."
Atif reiterated, "Actors and singers get trapped because they're famous. But it might be a banker or someone from any field who feels the pull of God. it's his or her decision. Who are we to analyse people about why they feel such a pull? If someone does it back and forth, that's different. therein case, it's between him and God."
As for Coke Studio, Atif admits that for the last several years, the season has begun with a mixture of singers singing an iconic song. Never has it happened that a solo performance has opened a season. He further reveals, "Singers aren't told that we are beginning together with your track. So I had no idea they might start thereupon and no-one told me that the hamd would be the season opener. You tell me, has it ever happened before, a solo singer opening a season?" We both know the solution is not any . "In my head, I had done a hamd. I had done 'Tajdar-e-Haram' before and tons of individuals liked it so why not do this?"
Atif cleared the notion that by doing a hamd on Coke Studio 12, he's bidding music goodbye. He also noted that having performed a ghazal and collaborated with Banur's Band on an equivalent season, that portion is lost on people that are hanging on the mindset that Atif is playing religious cards. "Why did they (Coke Studio 12) release the hamd because the opener, I even have no idea."
He also explains that collaborating with Mai Dhai, Riaz Ali Khan (sahib) and Banur's Band via Coke Studio were ways to explore both the numerous cultures that exist and challenging himself.
Moving past Coke Studio 12, there are those that feel he should do a spiritual album. But Atif reveals that such rumours are greatly exaggerated and unfounded.
Atif points to '12 Bajay', an honest pop/rock song with an exciting music video by Zeeshan Parwez that collectively harkens back to the times when Atif made his debut with solo and delightful album, Jalpari. But does it mean Atif is getting to pull another Jalpari on us, the listeners if there's no spiritual album within the making?
What does one want to do?
"Neither of the 2 (spiritual album or another Jalpari)," notes Atif. "Because it's to be a special genre now. the rationale why I did '12 Bajay' was at the request of my fans. But there has been a generation that has been fans of Jalpari. However, the new audience and therefore the new kids have arrived. you'll educate them about Jalpari but the time is different so naturally the artist must be relevant. and that i desire occupation a replacement direction now. It's time."
Is that direction getting to be electronic? Electronic has many hues.
"It might be R'n'B; it might be electronic; you'll expect anything," Atif says, refusing to remain within one genre, moving with the days.
Where does one see the music industry going? Albums, singles and EPs are releasing, so to mention no music is being made is absolute rubbish. But does one see a direction?
"I'm anticipating tons of music and other people who want to figure short term and make money out of YouTube. But the great ones will stand out and therefore the rest will hit a saturation . a piece of solo artists exist and as long as they plan of the box, and make music that's distinct, they too will stand out."
As for solo artists, you've got to stay beginning with music every other month so as to form a mark within the post-Coke Studio decade. "I think some will gravitate towards film music. As for me, i do not see an album but once we're past coronavirus, I do decide to release songs as singles."
"I think there'll be tons of music coming this year," he says with emphasis.
Is Atif also getting to follow the visual direction? As a generation, videos make a much bigger mark and a visible motif are some things many believe . Strings, as an example , made a music video for every song off their eight-track album, Thirty (formerly referred to as Tees).
A conceptual vision behind songs are some things Atif agrees with. "It should be there. People hear a song once and that they need an incentive to concentrate thereto again, unless a song is extremely powerful. Unless you recognize you do not need a music video to travel with the only."
In other words, for Atif Aslam, it depends on the song.
As we pivot back to coronavirus because it's paralysed life in Pakistan, I ask Atif how he sees it impacting the music industry.
For the instant , we're seeing a surge in activity on Facebook and Instagram where some have taken to measure concerts while others host conversations. it's a worldwide phenomenon. "Everything is shut which means no shows, which is bread and butter for tons of individuals . So, it's difficult. As for the virtual gigs, regardless of the reason, i feel you're giving yourself away and therefore the audience might get bored after a few of weeks. it'd get saturated. Especially if you're doing it daily."
With concerts (pre-coronavirus) on the increase , and with ghastly behavior endured by female fans at larger concerts, where does that leave us?
"There is not any solution thereto unless our mind is exposed to things. It happens everywhere within the world. we'd like to teach the audience; an artist cannot stop something he can't see. the sole solution is stand back from a mosh pit during a big concert."
Is that not fair to people that do want to return to the front but can't due to boys?
"I'm not saying this is applicable to all or any concerts. I'm saying that at a concert where there are too many of us , avoid standing right within the midst of it unless you've got someone with you, sort of a brother or your boyfriend. Segregation isn't an answer . The onus is on the organizer(s)/organisation to stay them (audience) safe and supply a secure space."
And Atif is an old pro who knows that each one organisations don't take enough measures and sometimes people enter a concert with a motive to harass instead of hear an artist playing. Hence, avoiding the mosh pit is, in his eyes, one solution to misbehavior.
As for Atif, he's moving with the days and new songs layered with new genres (for him) is his next ballgame. Until then, Atif is enjoying fatherhood during a rigorous touring lifestyle. And he maintains that he's not expensive but features a reputation that keeps people from approaching him. He has sung playback for local films; he has acted in one film also (Bol) and he's hospitable the notion of acting but reiterates that this false reputation has kept people from approaching him. What Atif is obvious on is that music won't be left behind.
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