Cornetto Music Icons revealed the top six finalists in its third episode that aired on Sunday night.
From classically trained traditional singers to hardcore rock vocalists, the show has managed to dig up some good raw talent within Pakistan. The show’s versatility is evident in the type of singers it presents — ranging from those who have grown up listening to the soulful renditions of Udit Narayan and Sajjad Ali to those who take their inspiration from the success of the very distinctive Ali Azmat and Atif Aslam. The six of them more or less represent a fusion of Pakistani rock, folk, ethnic pop and filmy music.
Baig is the last of the final six contestants and stands out for his ability to sing rock songs to perfection. Although Junoon’s Neend Aati Nahin is more of a pop-rock song than essentially rock, Baig’s slow and atmospheric version of the song spoke a lot about his vocal capability. His voice texture is very raw, piercing and unorthodox and that seems to be missing from the Pakistani music industry since the heydays of Roxen. Rather it has become very difficult to find a proper rock vocalist but Baig definitely has the potential to be identified as one. With the sudden increase in the demand for Sufi-rock singers both in Pakistan and India, Baig should get a lot of opportunities if he trains a bit more.
Rameez Khalid is a complete package, who would have been given countless offers had he participated in some Indian talent show. With his chocolate hero looks and a truly soulful cover of Yeh Shaam by Vital Signs, it seems that Khalid will be adding a lot of flavour to the overall line-up of the show. Despite the fact that he is a trained classical singer, he has the ability to venture into genres such as pop amongst others.
One cannot help but say that Natasha is the only true rockstar of the show. With a bandana on her head and a dynamic personality, Natasha has the right combination of energy and talent for her age. She sang an improvised version of Dekha Na Tha by Alamgir and that smile on Alamgir’s face, who was sitting right in front of the stage, said loads about how much the judges and the audience enjoyed her powerful performance. Although this version of the song was a little slow and off-tempo at the beginning but it was good enough to introduce the audience to a voice that has the potential to do miracles in the near future.
Although female artists are often sidelined in music shows as observed in many Indian reality shows, Kanza has managed to charm audiences with a unique vocal texture which is perfectly suitable for pop music. Although her high and low notes might not be as perfect and need a little more training, her style of singing surely makes her stand out. She sang Khwaab Adhoore Sahi by Junoon, a song that requires a lot of variation but she successfully managed to give a raw spin to it with her soft, mellow voice. If used properly, she has a voice tailor-made for electronic pop music with a touch of trance.
An incredible vocal range and vivid influences of folk and filmy music make Ali a musical powerhouse from Lahore. Although, it takes a lot of guts to pick up a classic melody like Sham Se Pehle Aana by seasoned singer Alamgir, Ali succeeded in doing justice to the song by not leaving a single high or low note unfinished. Ali is one of those rare voices from Pakistan that is absolutely fit for playback singing. With so many local films coming up and Bollywood opening its doors, there couldn’t have been a better time for Ali’s talent to surface.
Shabbir Ali, who covered Anjane by Strings, is the first finalist of the competition who will get the opportunity to be mentored by one of the top musicians of the country and enhance his singing skills. A brilliant pop singer, Ali’s strength lies in his very distinctive tone that can take him to new heights, if guided properly. Just as Aslam rose to fame with his discernible, sharp tone, Ali, too, has the potential to bank on his voice. However, only time will tell about his persistence as an upcoming artist.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2013.
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