Music composer, drummer and singer Sahir Ali Bagga always avoided the limelight and maintained a hide-and-seek relationship with the media. However, his growing popularity and a plethora of international offers coming his way, show that the global market has finally managed to catch him.
Thirty-two-year-old Bagga — nestled in his studio and surrounded by his army of composing equipment in Lahore — tells The Express Tribune that his solo career is ready to come to the fore and his music composition has already embarked on a journey to the West side of the world.
A voyage of lyrics and sound
Bagga forayed into the music industry as a drummer and later joined the band Jupiter where he met singer Jawad Ahmed. Bagga composed music for Ahmed’s album and the raving reviews his music received helped Bagga find his forte. The drummer-cum-composer developed his AR Rahman type persona and became the driving force behind several hits by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
“My music is a form of escape. I hope my music helps people run away from their daily predicaments because that’s what I aim for when I’m composing it,” says Bagga. “Purity and originality of sound make music such a holy and serene thing. I believe Pakistani musicians should pick up influences from their own musical culture rather than looking at the other side of the border or at the West for inspiration,” adds Bagga, who is the son of the 70s leading music composer, Amjad Hussain.
Bagga explains that the slump in the film industry has contributed to an overall decline in the musical culture. Despite the odds, he explains that music has still survived and is now in its revival period. To buttress this revival, Bagga encourages talented people to come on to the scene and get more involved with the industry. SAB studios, which is run by Bagga and his cousin Raza Ali, has opened its doors for all the musicians who can’t afford the luxuries of a good recording studio.
In the pipeline
Currently, Bagga is producing music for three Pakistani films, including Tamanna, which recently won an award at the London Asian Film Festival, Pakistani Superhero and Zinda Bhaag. He will be composing 20 songs for the three films that feature singers like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Amanat Ali, Ali Abbas, Sara Raza, Zobia, Jabbar Abbas, Madhu and Ali Azmat.
Additionally, the recent string of successes that he has received has made Bollywood and Hollywood come knocking on Bagga’s door. The music composer discloses that he has been asked to produce two songs for Bollywood. “I will be producing songs for Bollywood and I have also started to get Hollywood offers. After I finish some projects here I will do some projects for Hollywood,” says Bagga. “The work I give to these industries must be something that has never been done before so I’m taking my time.”
Bagga is completing his debut album Ishq which is expected to release on Eidul Fitr under the label of Fire Records. The album, which will feature 10 songs in total, will include an array of Punjabi romantic, ballads and Sufi kalams and will also have a redux version of his song “Maula Maaf Karay”. Bagga, who collaborated with female singers such as Hina Nasrullah, Farah Anwar and Sanam Marvi, adds that two Punjabi songs from the album will feature in a Bollywood film.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2012.