Joined: 03 July 2005
On The Top Of The World Faakhir
He loves coffee, is an avid drinker of tea of all hues and flavours (the Pathan's chenak among his favourites), he has a passion for good music and a head brimming with ideas. Faakhir comes across as a down-to-earth young man with feet solidly on the ground – no airs, no hang-ups. Meeting him in person was a refreshing experience. On the day of our rendezvous, fate dealt an unexpected hand that enabled me to also get an insight into Faakhir, the man (as opposed to Faakhir, the artist). One of his associates was involved in an accident and had to be hospitalized - Faakhir was taking care of arrangements at the hospital. A visibly worried-looking Faakhir came over to the Marriot, the venue of our meeting, picked me up, explained the situation and took me along to the hospital as he still had to wrap up a few things, apologizing for the interview going awry. Providence had allowed me a first-hand glimpse into this very humane side of the artist – sensitive, kind and considerate. It was heartening that the heady effects of fame and fortune, at a youngish age, have not tainted him.
Before parting, we had coffee in Zamzama and chatted. He spoke about a number of issues, ranging from the local music industry to politics, from movies to his concerts, amongst other things. He believes that pop music has a great future in Pakistan and as more avenues open up, only good can come out of it.
Faakhir is riding the crest of success, he has been for some time now, but with his head in the right place, he has not let this overwhelm him. His latest album Mantra promises to be yet another chart-buster. He is one of the most sought-after musicians today, both within and outside Pakistan - having had occasion to meet him and talk to him at length, one is not at all surprised.
A. None at all. I'd always been interested in music and I used to get together with my friends and practice…then in my university days we started getting shows…one thing led to another and Awaz was formed.
A. Honestly I think God has been kind and appreciated all the hard work I put in. I'm very happy with the response my albums have received....it's been terrific!!!
A. Albums. I'm a composer and enjoy working on my albums more than music videos because I feel that I don't act very well.
A. I felt it was time to move on and start my solo career.
A. I agree. But being a solo artist gives me the opportunity to experiment and explore my creative side which wouldn't really have been possible in a band as a consensus has to be reached regarding the direction in which the band wants to move.
A. No, I don't agree with that. I believe in freedom of speech and expression. If somebody doesn't like the kind of music or videos they see on TV they have the option to not watch.
A. Nazia Hassan and Hadiqa Kiyani were/are two exceptionally talented people. Up till now there have been no other female singers of the same caliber.
A. Sponsors have been supportive of our music. They played the role of a record label and made our videos, only when sponsors over do branding that it is a loss for the artist and the sponsor, because no one wants to see a 5 min commercial. Luckily, now the record labels are realizing the importance of videos and are investing in them so I guess with or without a sponsor you can still afford videos.
A. Rado was looking for a brand ambassador for their product and I fit the profile. They approached me for the endorsement and I was more than happy to do it.
A. No way. Its high time people treat it like a full fledged industry. Half the channels are running on the software we provide; music industry is the biggest in the entertainment field.
A. Absolutely. I can't think of any negative effect that it has caused.
A. I felt it was time to move on and to tell you the truth I wasn't sure what people's reaction would be to my solo album…I could never have imagined that I'd gain so much success with my first solo album…it was a complete surprise.
A. There are a lot more opportunities now…Pakistani music channels have helped a lot. I have always believed Pakistani artists have terrific potential. Some of them are making great music.
A. India has a huge film industry and they make great music for their movies. Pakistani pop music has caught up very fast...not in the sheer volume of music produced but most definitely in quality...I feel it's just as good.
A. I have looked up to Nusrat Fateh Ali, Mehdi Hassan.
A. Failure is always disappointing. The trick is turning it to your advantage in a way that it makes you want to do better and work harder.
A. Initially during my first few solo performances I was quite anxious...but now I am very confident and at ease. It's a major adrenalin rush to have so many fans cheering for you.
A. Performing on CD and lip syncing is cheaper for the organizers of the show. For a live performance it costs more because then you have the added expense of having your band travel with you, band's fee, accommodation etc. Playing on CD however just doesn't give the same meaning to the songs and doesn't do them justice. If people want an artist to come and perform on CD they might as well hear the CD. I only perform live except for TV recordings.
A. I was approached with a couple of offers to do play back singing from Bombay but at this point I am more keen on composing my own songs. In the future, not just compose but do a direct and produce music for a movie.
A. The album contains 12 tracks. I have experimented a lot in this album; each song carries a different mood. I have done an 8 1/2min musical which is called mantra… this was done for the first time in Pakistan. The most interesting part of this album is the way our own eastern scales such as bilwal thaath, pahari, darbari etc are fused/blended with east European, Mediterranean and bluesy scales in a very simple and subtle way. The choice of instruments is very rich, classy yet extremely contemporary wind instruments, saxophones and brass section eastern and western string instrument, rhythm section, violin and viola orchestras are all recorded live and a treat to the ear. Arrangements are least predictable, the production is slick and I feel the melodies are soulful.
A. I believe having good videos is important. It adds a visual element to the song and helps the viewers identify more with the song thus making it more popular. But at the end of the day it is the song and the melody that determines its success.
A. Something that moves you deep inside, touches you on a level that nothing else ever does - it relaxes you.
A. Listening to music, traveling, spending a day at the beach hut with my wife.
A. I have performed nearly all over the world so its difficult to say. I have fond memories of almost everywhere I have performed. But I think its performing in Pakistan that I enjoy the most.
A. I am very lucky to be blessed with a loving wife who I love just as much. That's a rare thing and not many people are lucky enough to experience that.
A. "People like you make us Pakistanis proud."
A. Al-Hamdo Lillah, none so far.
A. My cell phone and organizer.
A. Yes I do. The print media is doing a lot to promote pop music but I feel that the electronic media has also helped tremendously.
A. Very good. I have received terrific reviews from the media.
A. Definitely a perfectionist. I personally have to be satisfied that I have done everything to the best of my abilities.
A. It was a wonderful experience. I felt honored to be a part of the fund raising campaign.
A. No I wouldn't. Initially there were very few music bands in Pakistan but with the advent of more music channels there are far more opportunities now. I think Pakistani artists have terrific potential and like I said, some of them are making great music.
A. Compositions come naturally to me. I am a self taught musician and have been doing this since the age of 12. I don't think this is something you can learn, though if you have the talent you can polish it.
A. There are a lot of opportunities for musicians these days...and the Pakistani music channels have made things easier in the way of providing a platform. It is becoming a full fledged industry ....work hard and you will succeed.
A. I see it evolving into a much bigger industry...with world class studios and even better quality music and videos.
A. It was an experience to remember
A. To set up a music studio of international standards for our own artists so that they don't have to go aboard to work
Joined: 28 September 2004
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Joined: 03 July 2005
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