Joined: 11 July 2006
ATIF EXPLODED onto the music scene in 2004 with his smash hit 'Aadat' from his album Jal Pari. Later in 2006, he proved that he wasn't just a one-hit wonder when 'Doorie', shot up to No.1 on numerous charts.
The guy with an amazingly rich voice that has taken him to the heights of stardom and acknowledgement within no time at all continues to touch the hearts of millions, belting out one song after another.
Dressed in a black shirt with a nice pair of jeans accessorised with a silver chain, Atif looked incredibly boyish and cute. City Times had a tte--tte with the man who has strong vocal chords and makes every song an experience.
Were you or are you at all surprised by the instant success of your first album?
It's still a dream. Mashallah I've had all the luck by my side.
What type of music did you grow up with and how did that influence your style?
I listen to everything. I am a great fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and love to listen not only to his contemporary music but old qawwalis too. I also like Abida Parveen and Junoon's music a lot. Among the Westerners I like to listen to Audio Slave, U2 and Pearl Jam, but somehow they never influence me. I believe that the inspiration and influence comes basically from human nature. Whenever I meet people I extract good things out of them.
Does it make you feel at all uncomfortable how quickly your career is growing?
Not at all, I'm very comfortable and satisfied. I'm blessed. Getting fame at this age is unbelievable. When we are young there's a constant search to get attention and now I get loads of it. My family is really proud of me.
What about studies?
I've done my graduation but after this whole music scenario I didn't get time to do my Masters. But hopefully I will complete my studies. There's a long way to go.
How was the experience of singing or giving your songs for Bollywood productions?
The experience has been a great one. I am very popular there and I wouldn't say that I have 'given' my songs. It is because of my singing that I have been getting awards and people know me as a Pakistani who is making it big in India. I am doing it for my country. I am representing it. They are very very welcoming.
How do your fans in Pakistan react to you working in Bollywood?
Pakistani people really need to understand that if I'm singing in India and producing good work, eventually it's the name of Pakistan that's coming up. On the other hand, it is also very threatening for the Indian community that a young singer from across the border is making good music. Hence, wherever in the world my fans are, they should just love my music, not the territory it's being made in.
I'm working on a new album 'Meri kahani' that is to be released on Eid. It consists of 12 tracks and there are two spiritual tracks and apart from that there is one childhood memory. The songs are not like Doori. This is not at all like my other commercial work. The album is very personal and close to my heart. The album also supports a lot of underground bands from Pakistan who do not get the kind of opportunity they deserve. Eventually, at this particular time I'm not looking forward to pull the masses, I'm just creating my music. Apart from that as far as films are concerned I'll be doing various projects. I'll be doing some playback singing in a Bollywood film 'Race.'
Any plans to act in films?
I have a couple of offers but right now I'm concentrating on my music.
A lot of Pakistani musicians have followed in your footsteps and copied your style. Any comment.
I belong to a middle-class family, so when the other young talented boys see me they can relate to me. My entire life history is in front of them. For them I'm just an ordinary guy making it big. But on the contrary, I think we are still coming up with original music that is very unique to Pakistani musicians. I can only see it progressing from here.
Since your favourite subject in school was Maths, do you feel you apply any calculations to your life?
There are phases of my life and I plan accordingly. I'm the sort of a guy who is very adjusting and I mould myself accordingly. Life is like the curlicued hole cut into the front of a guitar known as the 'F-hole' and there's a particular ratio about it which says that the more air passes from it the more sound comes from it. Hard work speaks for itself.
What do you feel that your purpose is ultimately?
My purpose of life is a little personal. All I can say is that music satisfies me, it is certainly not the ultimate goal. I want to be a good human and wouldn't want to change my 'simple-boy' image.
Tell us something about your family?
Well, we're four brothers and I have no sister. All us brothers are very artistic while our parents are not. I'm the youngest son. My brothers have helped me a lot with my career. The eldest one, Shahzad is a photographer and he has designed the cover of my new album, Sheraz deals with the websites and Shahbaz designs clothes for me.So it's a band of brothers.
What are your hobbies?
If I get time I like to ride my bike. I have a passion for flying and observing people.
There are several blogs on the Internet discussing you and Himesh and who is the best among both of you. Any comment.
I don't feel competition towards Himesh because his songs are for the masses, there is no soul in his music. My songs have a statement, every verse I write has meaning and it emotionally connects to people. Music is an essential part of my being. It's there inside my soul and makes its own way out as effortlessly as that. Let me quote an incident: Himesh made a confesion on the show 'Koffee with Karan' that the only song that inspired him to sing, after composing music for so many years, was 'Woh Lamhe'. He said that at that time this was the only song with fresh music and meaningful lyrics that made him want to sing.
If you had not been a singer, what career would you have taken up?
I started singing at the age of 16, never thought about music as a profession but always wanted to be a cricketer. But my father for some reason didn't agree to it, but fortunately whatever happened, it was for the best.
Do you have a message for young musicians?
Always pursue your own style, stop piracy and follow your heart. The boys from 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' are amazing. I would like to wish Mussarat and Amanat good luck.
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