Nazia Zuberi Hassan on going solo with ‘Naina’

September 20, 2020

‘Naina’ is a soothing song with an equally soothing monochromatic music video

The name Nazia Zuberi Hassan is the woman who sang ‘Behti Naar’ by Rushk. Between 2003 and now, she is still known for that haunting Rushk song, released with a thrilling all-star music video directed by Saqib Malik.

However, with Nazia’s departure from Pakistan, Rushk eventually revamped its line-up with Tara Mehmood on vocals among other changes. But now that Nazia has moved back to Pakistan, she’s back in the studio and has already done two songs with Rushk, the experimental post-pop, experimental, ambient music group.

But, Rushk is not the only thing on her mind, musically speaking.

Since her comeback, Nazia has also done a song called ‘Taare’ for TCF (The Citizens Foundation) as well as the gigantic anthem, ‘Ae Khuda’ that featured close to 40 artists including Grammy nominees and winners – among other things.

Now the singer has gone a step ahead by releasing her first solo single called ‘Naina’. Trained in semi-classical, Nazia collaborated with lyricist Sabir Zafar, composer/producer Kashan Admani with Alfred D’mello shredding that electric guitar to create surprising moments. ‘Naina’ is a soothing song with an equally soothing monochromatic music video. ‘Naina’ is a song Nazia had been carrying around in her head for some time. She eventually sat down with Sabir Zafar to work on the lyrics and Kashan and crew to give the song a shape that reflected the ideas in her head. “It’s very different from Rushk,” she confessed and we have to agree. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Pakistan just regained another fantastic singer-songwriter who had been away for years.

The video has captured what Nazia had hoped for – music without any distractions. Explaining the simple nature of the music video, Nazia commented, “We wanted the focus to be on the song really. A lot of hard work went into it and we thought it was a good product to offer.”

As for the why, noted Nazia, “‘Naina’ was something I wanted to do as a solo artist,” she told Instep over the phone. It doesn’t mean her musical relationship with the long-standing Rushk is over. However, being back in Pakistan, she is ready to explore music beyond the band; she is presently working on two more original songs that she hopes to put out soon. “The song received a positive response but the marketing aspect, sharing it, et al, is a whole other world. The response has motivated me to bring out all other songs that are in my head or my laptop.”

Not willing to be pigeonholed in one genre – even as she is happy to continue with the band, Nazia noted, “I want to do a bit of everything.”

Though she has never done a cover song in her career, she might do one because, as Nazia told Instep, she has never been against the idea.

Abid Brohi and Ahsan Iqbal team up for ‘Ali Mola

For every song that gets coverage and attention, there are twice as many songs that get lost in the age of content overload. One case in particular is the third Abid Brohi song.

After making his debut with ‘The Sibbi Song’ off Patari Tabeer followed by ‘Kaam Dou’, Abid Brohi joined forces with artist Ahsan Iqbal for a song called ‘Ali Mola’ that I came across on YouTube, purely by chance.

Where ‘The Sibbi Song’ was elevated to a whole other level by SomeWhatSuper (the EDM duo based out of Lahore) and ‘Kaam Dou’ echoed the voice of a jobless youth, this latest entrant to Brohi’s repertoire of songs is the weakest link. But then, Abid is nowhere near as experienced being in the studio. He is still learning. The onus falls on those who are working with him.

For Ahsan Iqbal, roping in Abid Brohi was a great idea but he hasn’t utilized Brohi in the way he could have. The result is an average derivative EDM-meets-Sufi-meets-rap song that is also indicative of a larger issue. The issue of making Sufi music by so many artists; most of it doesn’t do justice to the material or gets lost in execution. It also feels like an overdose.

Released on Kalakar Records, the track has gotten few hits on YouTube. While numbers do not validate talent, less than 100 views for this collaboration is a telling sign. ‘The Sibbi Song’ that introduced Abid Brohi’s sensational regional language rap to the world has over 4 million hits. Something is amiss here.

Abid Brohi, who performed at the Lux Style Awards in 2018, and found fans in the country’s biggest superstars – Mahira Khan and Atif Aslam – in an ideal world should’ve been scooped up the corporate-music TV shows by now. These shows have huge budgets and are produced by the best in the music business. However, with a slew of potential music shows in the pipeline, here’s hoping Abid Brohi finally gets his due. As for Ahsan Iqbal, he’s overshadowed by Brohi completely and needs a better game plan, at least in terms of collaborations. 

Nazia Zuberi Hassan on going solo with ‘Naina’