At a time when bands like Karavan are calling it a day and when senior pop artists like Sajjad Ali are reluctant on releasing more albums in Pakistan, the idea of an upcoming pop artist is a welcome sign. Quratulain Balouch, who performed on “Coke Studio” alongside Jal, stealing the show with her vocal brilliance, is one such artist.
Popularly known as QB, Balouch recently released her debut video “Akhian Nu Ren De”. The video, which has gone viral right after the release, is a cover of the popular song by legendary singer Reshma.
Although she doesn’t come from a musical family, it is her love for music and her natural talent that has made her a singer. Elaborating on her choice of taking up singing as a career, Balouch explains, “I’m the only one in my family who is in this field. The moment I realised that I can sing, I was totally convinced that I’m cut out to excel in music.”
However, keeping in mind that many vocalists — especially females — have not had a long-lasting impact in the industry, it remains to be seen whether Balouch will be able to handle the pressure. When asked who she feels are inspirations in the music industry, she says, “I think, if there is anyone in our industry who have maintained quality it is Hadiqa Kiyani and Fariha Parvez. They know what they’re doing and their sheer passion reflects in their music.”
It is Balouch’s heavy and husky vocals that set her apart from other artists in the industry. “Having a husky voice allows me to hit the high notes,” says Balouch, adding that she has now learnt the ropes of the business and knows how to handle the problems that come with it. “If you trust yourself and you know which direction you are supposed to head to, then I think you can convince your audience of your talent. I’ll give it my best and keep my fingers crossed.” A die-hard fan of Strings and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Baloch wishes to collaborate with these artists at some point in the future.
Similar to QB, Huma Khawaja also made her debut with a cover of Nazia Hassan’s “Dil Ki Lagi” but she ended up being a one-hit wonder. QB, although taking inspiration from the legendary Reshma, also believes in creating original music.
“It’s always good to bring the old legends to this new era. However, I don’t think one should attempt to do a cover of these legends if one isn’t that good. If you’re not that good then you should go for something unique and far-out,” she adds.
Her first album, due to be released this year, will have a few covers which she associates with certain events in her life.
QB’s voice can be an amazing addition to the Pakistani music industry — which has not seen a good pop icon since the legendary Hassan. We have had the greats like Hassan, Kayani and Parvez in our pop music industry but only time can tell whether QB will leave a long lasting impression or not.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2011.