German glue, pinching ears and music — Zoe Viccaji's favourite things

In an exclusive interview with Zoe Viccaji not only did I learn about her experiences but that she loved glue too!

Rida Naeem March 15, 2013
You may not know this about her, but Zoe Viccaji loves to put German glue on her hands and peel it off; she also loves to pinch ears, but her greatest love remains music.

At the age of 15, when most of her teenage friends had the high-school blues, Zoe wrote songs for her friends and performed at open mic sessions as a hobby. She joined the college choir and majored in Arts and Sociology; even turned towards advertising for two years post-college, only to return to her first love – music.

Born in Kharian to a Parsi father and a Christian mother, Zoe was raised in Karachi with her older brother who works in films, and a younger sister who is following her footsteps into the world of music.

Member of the former band Vital Signs, Shahzad ‘Shahi’ Hasan, who is now a music director and producer pushed Zoe to record her first single Thinking About You, in 2009.

Following her passion, she became a part of Coke Studio and collaborated with the internationally acclaimed pop-rock band Strings, and in 2010, music became a fulltime occupation for Zoe.
“I’ve been really happy with my decision,” says Zoe.   “I’ve recently come to realise that staying true to oneself is very important. If you love what you’re doing and do it with good intentions (a special note to politicians), then you should be on the right track!”

With soothing vocals, the quirky and cool Zoe shines for the Pakistani masses in Coke Studio’s house band, which she joined in the third season. “I have Coke Studio to thank for my new-found interest in Eastern music,” says Zoe who started out as a back vocalist.  “It opened a new world for me and gave me insight into the industry,” says Zoe.

Along with the fame of Coke Studio, her popularity grew as she performed duets with Strings and pop-singer Bilal Khan for Levi’s Go Forth Generation campaign.  Interestingly, Zoe was also the voice of the drama sequel Tanhaiyan Naye Silsilay, after veteran actor Marina Khan and director Jalil Kuchoo contacted her for the soundtrack (OST) Hain Yeh Silsilay.
“The lyrics and melody of the song are very strong; and it was a pleasure to sing something which can [emotionally] move people,” says Zoe. “I had never seen the original drama before, but I was immediately a fan when I watched the old episodes during our sessions at the studio.”

The first song Jis Nay Bhi Aana Hai of Zoe’s upcoming album was a bit of a struggle.
“I first wrote the song in gibberish to which Asim Raza added Urdu lyrics,” says Zoe. “It was the first song that was given to a lyricist, so to let go and allow someone else to input on something so close to home was challenging.”

“When it came down to recording and arranging the song, Shahi and I were not able to crack the song. We tried various beats which were fun but just not ‘it’,” says Zoe. “Then one day while I was sitting with my guitarist, we put a reggae feel to it and everything fell into place.”

“While we played the song all together, I wanted to capture the feeling and letting people experience it with us; that’s how the video came about – it was a group effort; and those are always the most fun projects – everyone was equally invested and put their hearts into it.”

The album is still under production without any set date for release.
“We want to do justice to the album and its distribution,” says Zoe, who actually wanted to release the album in a casual manner.

“These things take time, and I’ve had to learn to be patient.

Follow Rida on Twitter @ridanaeem
WRITTEN BY:
Rida Naeem A B2B Marketer by day based in Washington, DC. She is an aspiring writer and enjoys music, art, and Sufism. She tweets @ridanaeem
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (3)

Derpistan | 8 years ago | Reply @Ali S: How do you know she can't write songs in Urdu? Most people only express their artistry in one language, not necessarily because they're defficient in the other, but because it feels more natural. Expressing herself in English may lend a dimension to her music that Urdu does not, and vice versa for other musicians. I know musicians in Karachi that are by no definition burgers, and the same holds true for them.
Ali S | 8 years ago | Reply It's a tragedy that despite her 'talent' she still can't write songs in Urdu (or any native language, for that matter) - a problem that's all too common with today's crop of burger pop songwriters. Shoot me down all you want for this comment, but this is the main reason the local pop scene is in freefall today.
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