Sajjad Ali Profile

Sajjad Ali is probably the only singer in Pakistan's music industry who knows the ins and outs of singing. He can sing both classical and pop in style. His fathers name is Mr Shafqat who used to act in movies.

Mr. Tassaduq Hussain had the distinction of mentoring Sajjad Ali. He spotted Sajjad's talent when he was only 10 years old. Seeing Sajjad's great gift of Music and his hunger for knowledge and success in his ancestral field. Tassaduq started off by playing tunes of 'Ustad Bare Ghulam Ali' and 'Ustad Barkat Hussain Saheb'. Little did Tassaduq Hussain know when he started Sajjad off in his career that one day this young boy of 10 would go on to the heights of Pakistani music.

Albums by Sajjad Ali:

Aik Aur Love Story
Chief Sab
Sohni Lagdey

After a long long break Sajjad Ali recently came back with his new album "Cinderella". Though it did'nt yet, reached the fame and popularity as his earlier albums did but one or two of his songs from made big and "Panyoon Main" is one of them.

Now Sajjad is back with a completely different approach than Cinderella. He rejuvinated the sparks of his early stardom where his semiclassical numbers did the magic. Sajjad Ali's 'Teri Yaad' is selling hot in Pakistan. Aired quite regulalry on Satellite Channels this semiclassical number is proving to be a one number hit for Sajjad. Infact this single number is helping the album 'Teri Yaad' to sell like hell. Sajjad shines when he sticks to his roots and 'Teri Yaad' is a fine example of his abilities.


Pakistan Idol Concert

"The love you bring won't mean a thing unless you sing."

These words by Francis Healy ring true when one thinks of Pakistan Idol, the show that will bring music talent of Pakistan from the far flung villages, cities, towns and pit them against each other in the biggest music fest to ever hit Pakistan. What Music '89 and Battle of the Bands began in Pakistan is about to be amplified to the max!

The 'Idol' format most of us know of because of American and Indian Idol is now all set to unravel in Pakistan in the coming months. Geo TV (in association with Fremantle Media), have bought the rights to the format and are bringing it to Pakistan! We're set to create history in this land of the pure where music has been the most consistent form of entertainment for Pakistanis for almost two decades now.

To mark the inauguration of this event, a concert was held on Saturday night at the PAF Museum, which featured some of Pakistan's well-known as well as new music artistes. It is a different story that the entire concert was on DAT (Digital Audio Tape) and this is exactly why Pakistan Idol is very welcome. It will promote live music in an enormous way, the most important aspect of music.

Coming back to the event - which was essentially a rehearsal show for Pakistan Idol event that will follow in the coming weeks and was being recorded for Eid - and one can't help but thing how much Karachiites love music. In spite of Ramadan, they came in throngs. From the "biker boys" to children to families and youngsters, they were all there. The families chose to sit and the kids as well as the teeny boppers were dashing off behind backstage getting their pictures taken with Shehzad Roy, Mustafa "Musti" Zahid of Roxen, screaming for Annie and Atif, and dancing to the bhangra king Jawad Ahmad.

Behind the backstage, a lounge was set up of Pakistan Idol, where artistes like Sajjad Ali, Alamgir, Faakhir and all others were sipping on drinks and giving sound bytes to anchors. Media booths were set up and the colour that grabbed one was blue, in the tradition of Idol shows that take place in over 30 countries. Alamgir was shaking hands with Mustafa Zahid, Sajjad Ali was chatting away with Ahmed Jahazneb, some artistes were just chilling, waiting to go on and others were speaking with the media and giving their take on Pakistan Idol.

As far as the concert goes, the artistes list was massive. Jal, Fariha Parvez, Yasir Jawed, Khawar Jawad, Ahmad Jahanzeb, Adeel, Rabi Peerzada, Roxen, Raeth, Shehzad Roy, Jawad Ahmad, Fariha Parvez, Huma Khwaja and Nauman Khalid all came to lip-sync to a song or two.

And the two hosts, Faisal Shah and Mahira Khan did a fabulous job of keeping the crowd excited. Between the two of them, Mahira was the crowd pleaser. On whichever side of the stage she would go, the crowd would roar for her. Faisal Shah was also quite decent. Together the two kept on coming stage in between performances and cracked jokes and yet maintained a level of decency that was such a delight to see.

Jal came out of their self-imposed exile and mouthed out new singles off their album. Amidst their singing, the sound went out and a huge "booo" and "wooohhh" resonated from the otherwise calmly seated audience and the gang of boys who stood in all corners. On an instinct they screamed for Atif and Farhan said, "Mera mike ki battery khatam ho gayi hai". The crowd wasn't fooled. Karachiites make for the toughest audience and it couldn't have been truer that night. But the silver lining for most performers was this: families. Families like to sit and clap rather than dance, shout and roar, and they find DAT shows quite acceptable.

The clear winners of the night were: Khawar Jawad, the 'Bandeya' guy, who made a mark on the music world after singing on the Khuda Kay Liye soundtrack. He took on the mike and for some 30 seconds, he sang a capella, without any music. As he walked onto the stage singing, Karachi welcomed him with open hearts. Soon his vocal magic was replaced by tape. Khawar Jawad is easily one of the most promising singers on the block and with an album in the making, it seems Khawar is set to conquer.

Similar was the response to Ahmad Jahanzeb, who is responsible for singing a major chunk off the KKL soundtrack. He came and Karachi roared for him. But he was like all others lip-synching. Another crowd pleaser was veteran Jawad Ahmad. Who doesn't know the beats of 'Jind Jan Sohniye'? As that song was played, people enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

In other performances, Rabi Peerzada and Huma Khwaja were the entertaining highpoints. And more than their music, it was them with a few dancers onstage, confident and grooving women that really caught attention. But even as they received cheers, it was Annie who Karachiites, especially "the boys" wanted to see. Annie is a star even though Rabi is a far better singer. Such is the world of pop. And it was the clique of boys who remains Annie's devoted followers. After almost every performance, they shouted out Annie's naming, hoping she might come on. She never did.

Roxen and Shehzad Roy also received warm welcomes. When Shehzad came for 'Sali', Karachi boys and girls grooved with him and sang to Roxen's 'Tera Mera Rishta' that has become one of the annoyingly addictive ditties around these days.

The other singing diva, all set to experiment with her next album, Fariha Parvez held her own with her hew funky track, 'Tu Aa Meray Pas'. Had she been live, it would've added more charm and energy to this performance.

The lack of live music made the night somewhat disappointing. Most musicians would've loved to go live but when a show is recorded for television, they end up lip-syncing to avoid sound glitches. With Pakistan Idol, this will change. Live singing is a staple of the Idol format.

Pakistan Idol will bring forward raw talent that Pakistan has in abundance. Idol has not just created musical icons, it has created success stories. Indian Idol has struggled because there is Voice of India and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa airing on other channels and the audience is divided. One is confident that Pakistan Idol will be different. We have no counter shows as massive as Idol yet.

The playing field is open… jeet lo dil!


Ali Azmat Profile

Ali was born in Lahore in 1970. Growing up on the streets of the oldest cultural centre in Pakistan, he imbibed the streetwise and happy go lucky attitude that is still shield against the worls today. “I remember the Zia years,” he says. “Curfews, stoning, people dying. Society was really closed up then. Nothing used to happen. But then again thirteen years of Martial Law can mess any nation up,” he says as he exhales the cigarette he smokes out of his own free will. He has always been a malang doing when he wants, how he wants, where he wants. That is why he left home when he was eighteen-year-old to do his Bachelors in Australia. He never got the degree. He chased the sun and the warmth found him. Now life is a synonym for summertime and Ali is busy making hay with the rest of his colleagues.

In the 1990s Junoon crash landed on the local music scene like some leaded zeppelin from the sky. The Vital Signs got there first, but today Junoon are the undoubtedly the most successful band in Pakistan. And it is not so much the Junoon sound that has made them soar above the rest. It is their ability to entertain that has taken them places. It seems that when Junoon play live, lead singer Ali Azmat is their not so secret weapon. When it comes to shaking things up on stage, Ali is the one who has a thousand and one tricks up his sleeve. An inborn entertainer, he can make the crowd go wild. He says it’s because he is having as much fun as they are.

Ali Azmat is an enigma and an icon rolled into one bohemian package. He hails from Lahore and his Punjabi identity is stamped on him like a birthmark that can never be erased. The fact that he so obviously belongs to his land is what makes him such a hit with his fans. He is one of them, but he has it all – fame, money, the token chick on his arm and free tickets around the globe with the band. Ali dares to be different and that is something they all aspire to be. What differentiates Ali from them is that he went ahead and did it. Ali is proof that that if you grapple with destiny, you might even find yourself on top. All his problems are a breeze now. Life was so hard in the beginning that as he gets older, it is left with no option but to get softer by each Junoon album that is released.

There was a time when he wasn’t. A musician in our society is often called a mirasi. The only people willing who ventured into the field were people from gharaanas. Indeed Ali’s father was one artist whose creativity was aborted by tradition. “My father really wanted to be an actor. But his mother would have beaten him up if he ever took it up,” reveals Ali. Its not surprising that Ali has lived out his dream. His father, after having his ambition nipped in the bud backed his son in his pursuits. It paid off. Somewhere along the way Ali’s flights of fancy sprouted wings and took him along with them all the way to rock star glory. When a diamond in the dust realises that it is, in fact, a diamond, life has boundless possibilities.

Ali was humming songs as a child and all around him told him that he could sing. “As a kid, I used to sing the national anthem in school,” he says about his initial foray into music. In his first year of college he started playing drums for an amateur band called The Scoundrels. Such was life till his first public performance with the Jupiters at a show organised by the Jang Group. The Jupiters got the first prize. “It took us two years to come out with something original,” says Ali of his ex-band that has since then disbanded. "“All of them were scared of being accepted. I didn’t want to go to weddings and sing chart topping songs done by other artists,” he laments the absence of initiative that strikes potential musical talent dumb. “If you don’t have guts, you will never do anything,” he says of people unlike him. Gutless and aimless id something he has never been, pursuing his goal with the single-minded zeal of a man who has put his finger on what he wants to do and where he wants to go.

Ali has always felt at home away from home. “After I came back from Australia, I couldn’t live with my family any more. I liked living alone. Rohail Hyatt (Vital Signs keyboardist) and I were supposed to do an album together, but that didn’t work out. I met Salman (Ahmed) there who was being booted out of the band. We wrote ten songs, got in touch with Nusrat Hussain and made the first album,” he reminisces his route to pop stardom. For Talaash the second Junoon album, Salman Ahmad got in touch with his high school friend Brian O’Connell who flew down here and never went back. The rest as they say is history right up to the notorious ban on Junoon that continues to this day.

“There are all kinds of things in the environment that stop you. Bands are chewed up by corporate sponsorships. Some musicians are shot down by critics. Everybody has money problems. But if you really want to make music, who can stop you from it?” Ali scoffs at the brick bats and hurdles he has encountered. And music is what it is all about for him. He loves it even though he is the first to admit that he is not a trained singer. Though he did take lessons from one of Mehdi Hasan’s students. “Its terrible. My ustad was a good singer, but he was so much in awe of Mehdi Hasan that he could never do anything on his own,” says Ali about the experience. “I can never accept what I am told without questioning it first,” he says. And indeed, the only teacher Ali has had is life itself. And the only belief he has ever really had has been in him alone.


Hadiqa Kiyani Profile

Born 25 years ago under the sign of the Lion, Hadiqa Kiyani is a lioness with boundless amounts of energy. Her personality is reserved, controlled and yet ambitious and fiery.

These are probably some of the very traits that have taken Hadiqa to all her successes in the past few years given her youth and the restraints of working as a solo female singer in Pakistan. Needless to say, beneath the quiet and confidence, lies a mature and focused woman.

Her career achievements range from performing on the sound track to SARGAM for which she won an award, to performing with Junaid Jamshed, Aakash and Fakhr-e-Alam in the first Asian "DREAM TEAM WORLD TOUR 1996" which traveled across England. She had the opportunity to work with Bally Sagoo; performed once again as the first Asian in front of a 16 Million strong audience. Afterwards she worked on two more shows with Bally Sagoo for BBC 2 and ITV before moving to perform in the U.S. Her U.S. tour covered 15 states and a show in Canada too. She has performed in Hong Kong with Bally Sagoo, once again. The list of achievements goes on. The one she is most excited about, thus far, is having signed a 2 year contract with PEPSI as their second only solo female vocalist ever - Gloria Estefan being the first. Music is Hadiqa's first and last goal, a dedication that has not only shown itself in all her career achievements, but also in the fact that she just got married and her belief still remains the same.


1- First Asian Female Singer signed by Pepsi Cola International, (Second Solo Female Singer in the World after GLORIA ESTEFAN).

2- Performed in the British National Lottery Live BBC 1, (First Asian Singer ever to do so).

3- Performed in several International Forums such as "CELEBRATION HONGKONG 97" (other acts of the Concert were "Micheal Learns to Rock, All 4 One, The Brand New Heavies, Wet Wet Wet and Lisa Stansfield).

4- Debut Album "Raaz" was a "l2" songs Album (Sold over 600,000 Copies in Pakistan, remained Top of the Pakistani Charts for more than 40 weeks).

5- Only female Play back singer for the famous Musical Film SARGAM featuring ZEBA BAKHTIAR (Music by Adnan Sami Khan).

6- Conducted POP Music program VIDEO JUNCTION on NTM for a year.

7- Hadiqa has already performed twice in USA and CANADA.

8- Hadiqa has performed five live Concerts in UK.

9- One live Concert in Australia.

10- Learnt Light Classical Music from Ustad Faiz Ahmed Khan (late).

11- Conducted Children's Musical Programme on PTV for Three and a half years.

12- Hadiqa's biggest Plus point is her Versatility and command over different Styles of Music ( Capable of singing in different languages such as Urdu, English, Arabic and Punjabi ).

13- And she is also an MSC in Psychology.


ROSHNI, Released on November 01, 1999
RAAZ , Released on August 11, 1996


Abrar-ul-Haq Profile

Abrar-ul-Haq, or better known as 'The Billo Day Ghar Man', is a hot favorite in Pakistan and one of Punjab's greatest assets in the modern age music field.

After having taught at Lahore's Aitchison College, Abrar decided to try his hands in the entertainment industry - great decision! He is not a one hit wonder and has proved his worth not only in our music industry but also in outperforming in several social and welfare activities through his NGO "Sahara For Life". As he puts it "Sahara means support to the dispossessed...Sahara is focussed on health and education. Abrar has launched his very first project the "Sughra Shafi Hospital" at District Narowal.

Abrar with his multiple talents is growing in popularity amongst those who listen and love his music and amongst those who have never listened to his Bilo.

Albums by Abrar-ul-Haq:

Billo De Ghar (1995)
Majajani (1997)
Bay Ja Cycle Tay (2000)

Mall-O-Mall"is the name of Abrar's newest album. This, as all of his other albums contains Punjabi bhangra types quite pleasing to general punjabi public which forms a major portion of his die-hard fans. 'Punjabi Touch' is growing in popularity which came under criticism from punjabi circles due to the line "Nach Punjaban Nach". With help from a well known personality Abrar rightly changed his song to "Nach Majajan Nach". 'Asaan Jana Mall-O-Mall' is the continuation of Bilo and does not require much elaboration. "Rondeyaan Nain" is a more touchy piece which changes the mood of this album. I personally like the "Rang Rang" number which is again a Sufi piece with a class of mysticism embedded just like Jawad's ''Allah Meray Dil Kay Ander'.

Apart from this 'Preeto' is one humerous number with a peculiar laughter which reminds one of a carefree person full of frolic. Abrar makes it quite funny and at times displeasing as normal and sane minded music lovers would not approve of such stunts in a musical number. Other notable songs may include "Sar Utha Kar" and "Sukh Deeyan Neendran". Looking at Abrar's part record this is taken as an ordinary one more for the road kind of album. We know Abrar is capable of producing relishing music for all tastes and he would soon realize his truest potential till then he will no doubt remain a crowd pleaser.