Sajjad Ali: Saving pop music

Published: July 16, 2011
Sajjad Ali does not plan to release his finished tracks as he sees no scope in the Pakistani pop music scene. PHOTO: RIZWAN-UL-HAQ

Sajjad Ali does not plan to release his finished tracks as he sees no scope in the Pakistani pop music scene. PHOTO: RIZWAN-UL-HAQ


The king of Pakistani pop music, who changed the dynamics of music in Pakistan with his album Babia 93, made quite a comeback with “Coke Studio 4”. His foot-tapping “Kir Kir” and the freshly-baked “Rung Laga” were definitely a welcome change for his fans. However, the singer himself is not willing to release more music.

“So far I have received a great response to my ‘Coke Studio’ songs. One more song is yet to come in the final episode but I will not release any further music until the craze of these songs ends,” Ali told The Express Tribune.

Despite the overwhelming response, the singer is not optimistic about the pop music scene in Pakistan. He is sceptical about releasing new songs and music videos.

“What pop music are you talking about? I only know of one song presently representing our pop music scene and that is ‘Bum Phata’ and its singer Ali Azmat is not from the new age of musicians,” says Ali.

Concerned about the decline of arts and entertainment in the country, Ali has held back many tracks.

“You are asking about an album, I have 70 songs ready to be released in the market and this is the number that I can recall right now. In fact, there are more than that. Why would I release these songs when there are no concerts happening? It’s pointless to invest in something which has no return and above all, no respect,” revealed the singer.

Reflecting on the same issues, Ali added: “It’s not because I’m sitting in Dubai that I have faded away from the music scene, go and talk to Fariha  Pervez, Faakhir, Haroon, Jawad Ahmed and any other artists and tell me how busy have they been in the present pop music industry.”

Ali believes that the artists will move to other countries if the Pakistani music scene fails to get better. “We are artists and the whole world, and not just India, is open for a versatile musician. It’s all about making the right choices and choosing the best industry for your kind of music,” says Ali.

Addressing the notion of people going to Bollywood, Ali smiled and answered: “The artist is going there for his personal good. He is not to be blamed, but the listener who calls that artist a sell-out is the one who needs to change his perspective.”

To hear such disenchanted words from one of the pioneers of pop music in Pakistan is more than just thought-provoking for an upcoming musician, and one wonders if there is a roadmap that newcomers should follow?

“Not really. In this time of technological advancement, there is not straight formula for success. You can only gauge the result of your effort by actually putting in some and waiting for the people to respond,” says Ali.

When asked to clarify the rumours about singing “Bolo Bolo” in the next episode of “Coke Studio”, he replied: “It is not ‘Bolo Bolo’ and I can’t disclose anything else because I have a gentleman’s agreement with Coke. However, it will be something fresh and catchy.”

The Pakistani music industry is undoubtedly in a bad shape but the fans of Sajjad Ali are anxiously waiting for his new songs. However, given the current state of music industry, what’s the future of his 70 tracks? “People will not get to hear them,” says Ali.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • shany
    Jul 16, 2011 - 10:27PM

    well i think sometimes investment is not done only for “return”. Your 70 songs may be reminded as survival of pakistan pop music for ages. We dont want an end like Lollywood got. Go Ahead Ali.


  • Hira Z A
    Jul 17, 2011 - 2:09AM

    Play it again sam.. Kirkir kirkir


  • anonymous
    Jul 17, 2011 - 8:19AM

    sajjad is the greatest thing that pakistani pop has ever fact this is the guy who first brought the idea of mixing classical music with rock/pop music. he rocks and rules!!!!


  • AA
    Jul 17, 2011 - 9:08AM

    Sajjad Ali Saheb, release your 70 songs on YouTube or iTunes and have your peace! They’ll buy if they can afford to like ’em.


  • faraz
    Jul 17, 2011 - 12:23PM

    Rang laga is just stunning


  • AN
    Jul 17, 2011 - 12:52PM

    Sajjad sahab! Please release your 70+ songs. We will listen obviously. What makes you think that we will not?


  • Tilsim
    Jul 17, 2011 - 1:03PM

    This article points to a problem without explaining the causes for the alleged failure of Pakistan’s music industry. It leaves the reader worried and uninformed.


  • Ali gul
    Jul 17, 2011 - 1:29PM

    Sajjad ali had become a dil jala.
    But I’m still a big fan.Recommend

  • fan
    Jul 17, 2011 - 2:00PM

    I think the problems dont need to be highlighted , everyone knows and Sajjad Bhai has just been franks and blatant


  • Jul 18, 2011 - 12:48AM

    I think Ali is just highlighting the fact that we as a nation, especially after the advent of widespread internet options, have lost the respect for our pop music. People don’t buy the CDs to support the artists, they download them. People don’t go to concerts, they fear the bomb blasts. How can a pop artist survive in such a manner? What is the point of releasing 70+ songs, as he puts it, when he get nothing for his efforts.

    Think about it.Recommend

  • sarah
    Jul 18, 2011 - 1:57AM

    This article says ‘One more song is yet to come in the final episode’
    I waited and waited and waited for Sajjad Ali’s performance :( only 2 songs in the final episode of coke studio! why????


  • AA
    Jul 18, 2011 - 2:15AM

    @Spaniard, think about it? Think about if all the artists, not just the singers, were to think like Sajjad Ali. You’d be in darkness for the eternity with no sign of hope.


  • Sajjad bhai's fan
    Jul 18, 2011 - 10:55AM

    I promise you Sajjad Bhai that once you release the remaining tracks , I will be the first one to buy the CD and come to your concert and pls pls pls pls dont go to India:)


  • Jul 19, 2011 - 1:58AM

    @AA, I can’t figure out what you are trying to communicate here. It is too vague for me to get a grasp of it.Recommend

  • AA
    Jul 19, 2011 - 2:42AM

    @Spaniard, Sajjad Ali is complaining about lack of enthusiasm for the art among people. He is equating the success of art with commercial gains. Art is the light which is required for any progressive and upbeat society. If all artists were to think like Sajjad Ali, the society would go down the drain. Just look around the art scene in Pakistan, there are obvious signs all over. Solution is not in holding off of 70 tracks just because there is no market, the solution is to keep the hope alive.


  • lol
    Jul 21, 2011 - 11:46AM

    Sajjad bhai pls do your song Rakshay wale in coke studio some time…it was so funny


  • Jul 23, 2011 - 4:02PM

    sajjad ali is the best and he will do what he think is good!


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