Aleem Zafar Sat Down With HELLO! For A Heart To Heart About Pakistan's Music Industry And How Life Is Always Unexpected
The idea of paying tribute to our legend Junaid Jamshed has always had in my mind but since I’m not in Pakistan most of the year, I never really got the opportunity to record something until last November when one evening around 7 or 8 pm I had the thought that I should record something. So I called up a producer, met him around half an hour and an hour after that we had my first tribute ready. It was the same story with my second cover, I went to record something else and came out with ‘Yeh Watan Tumhara Hai’. I guess life is always unexpected!
Since you brought up ‘Yeh Watan Tumhara Hai’, how hard was it for you to take on this project?
Really, really, hard! Singing a song sung by a legend is never ever easy! You’re always having all sorts of thoughts of how people are going to react to it. This was the main reason I tried to keep the song as original as possible, so it’s more of a revisit to that song with modern music.
How difficult is to join this industry for a beginner?
It’s as easy as it is and as hard as it gets! There’s a lot of competition and everyone is apparently a singer, a model, and actor these days, so to stand out you really have to work hard and most importantly know the right platform. Also it’s critical for you have to understand how use the platform that you have to get the most out of yourself; if you don’t do that I feel even if you work really hard it doesn’t really pay much these days especially considering how hard social media marketing has been in recent times!
Considering all the experience you had working with artists like Ali Zafar, was it easy for you to market yourself as a singer?
No it’s never really easy to market yourself as people are not familiar with your name so they take a while to get used to who you really are. The truth is that even after working with all the big names my singing career has started from scratch. The advantage that I have is I know how and when to use my resources and the platforms that are available to me.
Tell us a bit more about your upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on an original track of mine with a really good friend of mine who happens to be really famous producer as well and that’s really all the information I can provide at the moment.
Do you think there are different groups or mafias in Pakistani Industry?
Yes! In Pakistan it has always been about who has the most power to do something and the same applies to our entertainment industry.
Do you think nepotism exists in our industry?
Yes but I’m not against it. Nepotism is everywhere in the world, it’s something you can’t really stop. Everyone likes taking the easy route because that helps them achieve their goals as soon as they can. No point in not using the resources you have!
If you were not a celebrity manager or a singer what would Aleem be?
A politician, maybe!
What are some of the biggest projects you’ve been involved with during your career as a celebrity manager?
A lot of them. I’ve been a part of around 4 or 5 songs with Asim Azhar including ‘Soniye’, ‘Mahi Aaja’ and quite few others as well. With Ali Zafar I think the most famous artwork I’ve done is for his song ‘Rockstar’ from Coke Studio. I’ve also been a part of all Billy X songs, whether it was making the posters to doing the marketing, everything!
As an artist yourself, do you feel that celebrities are given enough respect in our country?
Yes and no! Fans are the main pillar of any celebrity’s life. However, sometimes people go too far just because they think we all are public property. I’m sure you might have seen people dictating to celebrities about everything they do. People have an opinion on how should they do things, what clothes they should wear etc. Artists are just like everyone else and we expect people to respect our personal lives instead of being all over it. Live and let people live! Our people suffer from being negative and thinking they have a say in everything! Freedom of speech is highly exploited!