I’m Quite Disappointed with Skin Showing Videos Getting Popularized in Asian Countries.
The Indian music industry has opened a gateway of opportunities for talented Pakistani singers to climb the ladder of success.The current breed of playback singers in the country is widely dominated by cross-border musicians like Shafqat Amanat Ali, Mustafa Zahid, Ali Zafar and Atif Aslam amongst others. Ali Haider, the voice behind the single ‘Purani Jeans’ that made waves in the early era of 90′s is one of the Pakistani singer who made his mark in the Indian pop scene.
Ali Haider started off his career as a singer later moved on to acting but finally settled down with his first love singing. Over the years he has released several hit albums like ‘Chahat’, ‘Qarar’ and ‘Sandesa’ amongst others. After a long hiatus, he has recently released a Sufi album in India.
In conversation with Radioandmusic.com’s Chandni Mathur, Ali Haider talks about his switchover from pop to Sufi, his latest album and his future endeavors in India.
You have released an album after 10 years in India. Why?
I cannot state any definite reason for the hiatus as there is none. Actually, my last album ‘Jaanay Do’ released in 2008 and was a hit in Pakistan. Unfortunately I gave this album to a company in India and they never launched it because I refused to work in their film ‘Osama’.
Tell us about your new album ‘Kee Jaana Main Kaun’.
‘Kee Jana Main Kaun’ manifests poetries of great Sufi saints like Bulleh Shah and Sultan Bahu. The album features nine tracks including some famous lyrical works like ‘Farangi’, ‘Mast Kalander’, ‘Kee Jaana Mein Koun’, ‘Allah Hoo’ and more. The album sound is so fresh and different that it surprises me at times because I feel I’ve never sung like this before. The album can be termed as spiritual rebirth of me.
How different is this album from your earlier work?
As a musician one has to keep growing and ‘Kee Jana Main Kaun’ reflects that growth of me. I have lived every single track from the album and the result is matured production and great sound quality of each track. Although I’m keenly involved in spiritual activities, but I still enjoy earlier music.
Do you feel Sufi compositions in India are different from the ones in Pakistan?
Although the expression and emotion behind all the Sufi songs is one, it’s the difference voices and sound arrangements that make them sound apart.
You have moved from pop to sufi. Why the switch?
In 2009 my son expired and it devastated me to such an extent that I just didn’t know what to do, I tried to sing but I couldn’t. It was then that I began to explore my spiritual side through the study of the great Sufi saint Bulleh Shah’s poetry ‘Kee Jana Main Kaun’. That is also what inspired me to title my album with the same name.
Do you witness any major changes in the industry from the 90s?
I think in 90s producers and even audiences used to appreciate poetry and music. Now it’s just senseless item numbers and skin showing videos that is making a mark everywhere. I’m quite disappointed with the content getting popularized in Asian countries.
What are your view on promoting the albums through live concerts and gigs?
Today listeners look forward to a variety of music, so inspite of just recordings, live concerts play a great role for artistes to interact with a large number of fans from one stage. Live concerts are a great form of word to mouth publicity which ultimately results in increasing fan numbers and definitely physical and digital sale of music as well.
Do you enjoy performing in India?
Yes. It’s definitely an enjoyment to perform in front of the world audience but its bliss to get musically acquainted audience also sometimes. Hence it’s more fun to perform in Pakistan and India than any other country.
What are your future projects?
I’m currently producing a song about childhood titled ‘Bachpan’ and also writing a book about my musical journey. A few concerts with EMI Music in India are also in the pipeline.
Any plans of venturing into Bollywood playback?
I have not yet planned anything seriously, but yes I am open for all kind of offers except item numbers.
Chandni Mathur 27 Apr 12