Interviews

“Music has no borders.”, says the king of Pakistani pop, Shiraz Uppal.

Story Highlights

  • Journalist - Debarati Guha
  1. We all know the pop-artist Shiraz Uppal. Tell me about the Shiraz Uppal that we don’t know..

~ Yeah, there’s a lot of things that you don’t know about me. Of course, Istarted off as a singer and a songwriter, and then I jumped on to the production side. I’m a composer as well. That is my career side. I’m an MBA by education and a musician by profession. So, what else would you like to know about me?

 

  1. Did you want to become a singer all through, since childhood ?

~ This is the only passion I had. I had always wanted to work with music, so I followed my passion and made it my profession.

3. We all know that you share a special bond with AR Rahman. Could you share something about your friendship with him?

~ Yeah, AR Rahman is my mentor and like a senior brother to me. I first met him in 2002 when I was touring with him. That’s when I gave him my CD. Those were my first albums. He heard them and called me up to sing a small part for him in Shakalaka Baby. At that time he was doing Bombay Dreams in London. In 2003 I went to Chennai to learn the different aspects of music production and I spent months with him there. We kept meeting on and off through different projects. In 2008 I sang ‘The Secret of Success ‘ for the movie Boyes. In 2012, I collaborated with him in New York in the World Peace Concert. We  did two kawalis, Khwaja Mere Khwaja and Kun Faya Kun. It was a huge stage with big names associated.  Then in 2013, I sang the title track of Ranjhanaa for him, in 2014 I sang Alla Hada from the movie Lekar Hum Diwana Dil and movies kept on happening. Apart from that we kept on touring together where I sang and played the keyboards with him. We did around eighteen concerts across North America together. So, that’s the story in brief.

4. We find that the Bollywood movies that you have sung in, don’t get released in Pakistan. What do you think might be the reason?

~ Yeah, this is a big dilemma, you know. I keep questioning myself on this. May be I’m jinxed or something (laughs). But it’s true that starting from Dhoka and ending in Ranjhanaa, the movies never got released in Pakistan.

5. But the release of Ranjhanaa was almost final…

~ Hmmm. Ranjhanaa was supposed to be released. There were posters and banners all around. But on the last day before the release date, something happened and it never got released. And I never got to know the reason, you know. The only film that was shown in Pakistan was probably Lekar Hum Diwana Dil…

6. What is your take on the Indo-Pak musical ventures?

~ I believe Music has no borders or boundaries. Of course, it is a good exchange whenever India   and Pakistan collaborates over music. It’s kind of a good bridge. Although, our hearts are connected, due to some political reasons we have some differences. So music, I feel, is the thing that can bridge the gap. And it should go on like this.

7. You mostly sing on your own composition. Don’t you think that limits you as a singer, not to explore other composers?

~ No, there isn’t any hard and fast rule but yeah, I mostly sing on my own compositions. But not always. I’ve sung for AR Rahman, you see. And if I like some one else’s song, I would definitely sing for them. Like I love the works of Pritam, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and many others.

8. So, can we expect to hear you singing for them in near future?

~ I would love to. Time will say, let’s see what’s in store.

9. Your upcoming projects?

~ I’ve been working in a lot of Pakistani movies. The last one that got released was Punjab Nahi Jaungi. And there are more coming up. In India I’ve been working in Youngistan and Laal Rang.

10. Any message for your fans? Both from India and Pakistan?

~ I love all my fans. I don’t categorize them according to nationality. The only message would be, keep listening to good music, keep supporting good singers and composers and music directors because that’s the only inspiration we have to work better.

11. And lastly, message for LaughaLaughi.

~ Yeah, you guys are doing a great job. Everything’s on social media these days, people hardly watch tv. So you’re doing great going online. Wish you all the luck.

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