For rhyme and reason
A chat with Pakistani singer-composer Ahmed Jahanzeb
From across the border Ahmed Jahanzeb
Ahmed Jahanzeb is yet another pop singer from across the border wanting to make an impression in India, a land of immense opportunities for artistes of his genre. AJ, as he is often called, is different though. Armed with a very distinct style, soft
and captivating, the singer-composer, whether he is performing live or crooning from the cool confines of a studio, leaves a mark with a voice that stands out in times when melody has become a rarity. The latest example of this is the sound track of the recent Pakistani film released in India, Khuda Ke Liye. Jahanzeb not only crooned some of the numbers for it, he also gave music to the critically-acclaimed film. AJ gives credit to his training in classical music for this. “I am lucky to have classical music ingrained in my system from an early age. Can you speak any language well without having proper knowledge of its grammar? To understand the commas, pauses and full-stops of music you have to have classical training,” he maintains. That it reflects in his work shows in the impressive list of his hits –_“Ek Baar Kaho Tum Meri Ho”, “Aap Ki Yaad Aati Rahi”, “Mujhe Pyaar Chaahiye”, “Tu Jo Nahi”, “Sheeshay Ke Mahal” and “Kaho Ek Din”, which happens to be his personal favourite.
For AJ, also called the Wonder Boy in his home country Pakistan because he first appeared in a TV show at five and cut his first album at nine, sound grooming has been the essence of his musical journey. “It helped me a lot because it made me a confident artiste. A lot of singers begin their journey with fanfare but fail to reach their destination. I always wanted to reach out to my audience,” he quips.
AJ’s early initiation meant that he matured fast, developed a style that enchanted the youngsters in Pakistan, and importantly, drove the fear of public appearance from his mind. “I never had mike fear or stage fright. I take pride in my grooming and I must say I am lucky to have met the right people in my formative years as a singer.”
No wonder the 30-year-old from Karachi is in love with the reality shows. “It is something amazing. Look at the awesome talent that we have in India and Pakistan. But for these shows, most of these youngsters would have been lost in the maze that the music world is for a newcomer. These shows give an aspirant the platform to perform and excel, from the road star to a trained singer, you come across some freshness and the recognition that follows is simply outstanding,” AJ gushes.
In India recently to launch his album by Tips Laut Aao, AJ hoped his effort would be well received. “It is a team effort. I have worked very hard. I thank all my colleagues for giving me this opportunity. Sameer has written some great numbers and Sachin Gupta’s compositions are soul-stirring. I’ve given my best and I hope the audience likes it,” says AJ, who describes remixes as essentially a result that comes when your creativity is “nil.”
Laut Aao has racy numbers like “Bol Mahiya Ve”, “Chandani Raat Mein”, “Tere Bin Jee Naa” and “Main Aur Tu”. Here, he seems to have lived to the promise that he showed in some songs from Khuda Ke Liye, a path-breaking film in Pakistan. In India too, it did fairly well commercially and won the critics’ approval. Says the singer-composer, “Music is a universally binding force. It is the only antidote left to tackle the ills and acrimony in our society. Music is the best way to communicate.” The success of Laut Aao in India would be a firm step in that direction.
Send this article to Friends by