In Conversation With The Supremely Talented Haider Mustehsan
With a drastic shift in the music scene of Pakistan, it seems like the country’s sound has been revived by a younger, fresher, and more diverse crew entering the industry. One of the breakthrough artists of this new age sound is none other than the uber-talented Haider Mustehsan, or as you probably know him, HYDR.
While in conversation with the young star, he spoke about where he picked up his love for music, stating, “Music has always been an escape plan for me. It’s where I find refuge and calmness. It probably started off with road trips with my family when I was younger. My dad always used to play his Mehdi Hassan audio cassettes (among others) and we used to all sing along as I stared out into unfamiliar territories. I was fortunate enough to have my music palate exposed to a wide variety of music at a young age; it gave me the tools and vision to look at music as an ocean of possibilities and forms.”
Mainly working out of New York, Mustehsan’s lyrics and sound are the perfect amalgamations of east and west. With this exposure to a diverse melting pot of cultures, you can hear the influences from a range of people & places within each one of his tracks. When asked what he hopes to achieve with his music, the artist responded, “I hope to reach the ears and hearts of people all over the world. I hope to create music that I can always stand by, and is the best version of what it could be. I hope that when I look back at my journey and my work, I can tell the 9-year-old me that picked up the green guitar that I did justice to my craft.”
Mustehsan’s latest track was the extremely popular dance number with Pepsi called ‘Sohna Tu’ which quickly racked up over 24 million views on YouTube. Now, the artist is all set to release another single called ‘Safarish’. The singer described the track by stating, “It is basically about a conflict between reality and imagined reality. I think most people want their perception of people they love to be the absolute truth. But sometimes, the moments and feelings a person’s heart holds dear, aren’t always understood in the same intensity by the person they love. That’s when there is a conflict between your rational senses and your persistent heart. ‘Safarish’ is a request from the heart to the mind, to give love another chance.”
When it came to the inspiration behind the new single, Mustehsan coyly suggested drawing inspiration from his own personal experiences. He worked on the track in collaboration, thus drawing from multiple individual experiences coming up with a song that is unique through its lyrics and rhythm. In response to describing the specific sound of this track, Mustehsan shared, “The extremely talented and seasoned producer Ali Mustafa and I came up with this piece. I think he's very knowledgeable and trained eastern ears and my influence together produced something very sonically unique. It’s a seasoned blend of eastern string melodies and western rhyme and rhythm structure. In my opinion, one of the most unique sounds I have experimented with.”
The artist aims to reach a whole range of music appreciators with his track; a range that is not defined by age, gender, or borders and the subsequent limitations that come with them. What he wants to appeal with is the emotion and meaning in the song and the relatability of a broken heart. When asked about any challenges that he faced along the way trying to create this track, Mustehsan shared, “The biggest challenge has always been to translate and cultivate the rawest feelings inside into lyrics and melodies that strike a chord within the minds and hearts of people that grace it with their attention. But every morning is a continuation of my journey and the start of new ones. So this challenge is always welcome.”
Along with putting out his own new take on eastern music, Mustehsan also appreciates the new wave of artists and sounds that are vibrating out of Pakistan. He is quickly becoming a favorite amongst the lot and there’s no question why; he’s fresh, he’s bold and his sound is something we haven’t heard before!