Umair Jaswal has been riding high with his recent Coke Studio stint but the rockstar is keen to remind people that his hit single Sammi Meri Waar isn’t the whole story. In fact, there’s a whole back catalogue waiting to be discovered by his fans. As the former Qayaas vocalist gears up to release his first solo album, he speaks to The Express Tribune about the project and how he never thought of traversing the musical path as a lone wolf.
“I was actually scared when I performed live as a solo artist for the first time,” he said. “I thought people wouldn’t show up but I was mobbed. It inspired me as it showed how much people care about my music. I’ve been fortunate enough to become a bigger name than the band itself,” he added. With his new album in the pipeline, Jaswal feels he has finally pieced together what he thinks defines his music. “The reason why this album is so important to me is that I’ve written these songs myself,” he shared.
“I was really shy to share them with the world. I always thought they’d be rejected because they’re simple feel-good songs as opposed to my former band’s image.” Jaswal stated he released one of these songs, Khayaal, right after earning spurs with Charkha Nolakha in Coke Studio 6. “It took me 10 years to be confident enough to present that song. It did really well and ended up being a soundtrack for Waar.”
Legendary singer Abida Parveen played a role in Jaswal’s cosmic symmetry when he was on the verge of giving up on his music career. “I’ve gotten international fame because of Sammi Meri Waar and I think it’s all because of her prayers,” shared Jaswal. “I remember I was sitting at her feet last year at an event when she blessed me, saying, ‘Tumhain Allah bohat kuch dega, tumhain Allah qabool karega’. I can’t forget those words and that was the time when my band broke, my dreams were shattered, but everything started falling into place.”
The musician has also recorded a track with Parveen, one he wrote himself and which will be a part of his new album. He’ll record the song again as it was recorded in his former studio. “I requested Madam Abida Parveen and she was excited to come on board yet again,” he added. Her magical voice will grace a couple of other songs as well.
The album features 10 to 12 tracks, half of which have already been revealed. These songs include Jee Raha, which is the OST of Jalaibee, unplugged teaser of Na Rahoon and Khayaal. “I’m keeping the next five tracks under wraps so that people have something to look forward to.” Jaswal plans on releasing his album by mid-next year and wants to follow it up with a live nationwide tour. “I want my album to reach out to all my fans in every small and big city.” Apart from that, the full-throated rocker has undergone a minor surgery that has caused delay in recording some pending tracks.
Jaswal feels blessed to have worked with some of the greatest producers, including Rohail Hayat and Strings, but is particularly effusive about his mentor Sarmad Ghafoor, who is also working on his current album. “I think there’s no better producer than him in Pakistan. He understands me as a musician. I’ve actually grown in front of him.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.