LAHORE: Symt’s catchy tunes from Coke Studio 5, Koi Labda and Tum Kaho, may have become instant hits but one cannot deny that Haroon Shahid’s band mates were not missed as such in the singer’s latest appearance on the show. Shahid sang Baliye (Laung Gawacha) sans his band, paving the way for the official announcement that Symt is no more.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the musician stated that he had been trying to push his band forward up until this season of Coke Studio, even though he suspected his attempts might be futile.
“We’re all still great friends,” he clarified. “Farhan, our bass player, still plays with me but he does sessions for other artists as well. Hassan Omer is producing for other artists too but since I am a vocalist, I couldn’t do anything else. They could depend on other means but I had to wait for Symt to get active again.”
Shahid explained the reason why his band had been missing in action of late. “We put out very little content as we had very little time together. Also, we agreed that the songs we did were written by me, which was unfair to the rest of them,” he said. “In an event, dividing a certain amount equally amongst band members and session players just wasn’t feasible anymore.”
Ironically, Shahid also wont appearing on the Levis Live music platform with Farhad Humayun, although he has had a long working relationship with the musician and the brand. “Farhad is the one who was the most influential in the initial stages of my career but I won’t be participating in the show due to personal reasons.”
In the meantime, the Pyar Di Ganderi singer is working on his own music via Noori’s Believe in Yourself (BIY) platform. “We are only putting out singles but I think we need to put out albums as well,” Shahid stated. “With at least a 100 songs out, we would be able to say new music is indeed coming out of Pakistan.”
Much like many of his peers, Shahid is of the opinion that there is a general lack of originality in the Pakistani music industry. “I am concerned that there is no focus on making new content, even on Coke Studio, which is the country’s biggest music platform,” he said. “In fact, sometimes, the same song is being done twice on the show and then at a smaller scale on Nescafe Basement. As a result, the newer generation finds it difficult to digest new music because that’s where we have left the industry.”
Shahid also shed some light on his latest offering from Coke Studio, explaining why Baliye (Laung Gawacha) sounded a tad disjointed in parts. “We had to deliberately put in that part in the song as only a certain audience would understand the beginning of my original track otherwise,” he said. “It did work to a certain extent because the song became the second biggest one in terms of numbers.”
Another point to note, Shahid added, is that commercial music shows and the career trajectory of most artists are changing the way people consume music. “It’s unfortunate that our artists make music but get popular for the way they look,” he lamented, referring to the likes of Mehwish Hayat, Momina Mustehsan and Umair Jaswal. “People want to watch and not listen to music.”
According to Shahid, musicians who venture into acting use this to push their music forward, because once an artist becomes popular, their music career is also given attention. Citing Fawad Khan as an example, he said, “No one asked Fawad about his music back in the day but if he releases a song now, everyone would fawn over it. But the fact remains that he started with music and wanted to continue but he couldn’t.”
Nonetheless, Shahid is also jumping onto the acting bandwagon, albeit somewhat reluctantly. “Unfortunately, I am taking the route every musician has been taking and will make my acting debut soon.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2016.
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