Name: Atif Aslam
It is very rare that someone comes along with just the right amount of personality, the right amount of talent, the charisma, the style, the courage and most importantly the passion to excel at something.
When all these rare qualities come together in any individual, he creates history! For any artist, the connection with his audience is the ultimate aim of his art form. If the success of any artist is measured by his ability to captivate his audience, Atif Aslam stands head and shoulders above everyone else in the industry.
On 12th March, 1983 Atif Aslam was born in Wazirabad, Pakistan. He soon moved back to Lahore (his hometown) and started his education. Throughout his school and college life, Atif was more enthusiastic about cricket than anything else. He aspired to be a cricketer some day and music was probably the last thing on his mind.
In College though, his friends encouraged him to sing. He took part in many singing competitions in college and won them. He was boosted by these competitions and decided to record from his own pocket money. That’s how “Aadat” happened. The song “Aadat” (“Habit” in English) was recorded by Atif as part of a band. However, the band called “Jal” soon went their separate ways even before the release of their first album. The song and the video were surrounded by a lot of controversies. Amongst all the uncertainty, Atif Aslam decided to continue his career as a solo artist. Many believed that a non-existent artist that has one song to his credit would not be able to survive on his own. Atif was determined to prove everyone wrong.
On 17th July, 2004 the first album of Atif Aslam was released. The album was titled “Jalpari”. On the outset, the album stood on the success of “Aadat” but as the weeks progressed; it was made clear to everyone that Atif wasn’t merely a one hit wonder. The album featured various smash hit tracks such as “Bheegi Yaadein”, “Ehsaas”, “Mahi Ve”, “Ankhon Sey” along with the title track “Jalpari”. Atif came up with his own sound. His unique vocal capabilities and powerful renditions elevated him to stardom within weeks. The album had become the youth anthem of Pakistan.
Atif never came from a family of musicians nor was he musically trained, but he used all these factors to his advantage. All he had was raw talent and the passion to be a musician. He was courageous enough to sing in his own style without giving an ear to the distracters. Many believe that his courage and passion that was displayed in the first album became the foundation of his success. As Atif rode on the success of “Jalpari”, he also proved that he was an electrifying performer through his concerts.
People were amazed to experience the kind of voice quality Atif was able to deliver in a live performance. His energy on stage, his charisma, his ability to work the crowd and his vocals made him the most sought after live performer in Pakistan. The artist started performing to sellout crowds on a regular basis. The energy level never reduced but the crowd kept on increasing.
Atif soon realized that it was time to take his music to a global platform. He started his career as a playback singer in Bollywood with the song “Wo Lamhey” for the movie “Zeher”. The song “Wo Lamhey” was a commercial version of the song “Bheegi Yaadein” from Atif’s first album. The movie came out in “2005” and Atif’s voice became an instant hit with the Indian audience. The music listeners of India are exposed to hundreds of voices and thousands of songs each year but among all those voices, Atif Aslam’s voice stood out and made a connection! The remix version of “Wo Lamhey” (also sung by Atif) was even a bigger hit then the original. With just one track, Atif had conquered the highly competitive Indian play back singing empire. The artist soon went to India to perform several times. He was received by screaming fans and admirers that had fallen in love with the voice of a Pakistani boy.
Atif Aslam was the first Pakistani singer to be nominated for the most prestigious Indian “film fare” awards two years in a row.
In December 2006, Atif Aslam decided to release his second album in collaboration with the music company “Tips” in India. The album titled “Doorie” was Atif’s way of experimenting with different musical genres and exploring his musical abilities. It was another courageous attempt because many believed that Atif was restricted to singing “Rock” and “Pop”. The artist took it up as a challenge and produced an album that had many commercial tracks that appealed to the masses along with some rock numbers as well.
Upon the release of Doorie, Atif validated his position as a versatile artist. In just 2 years Atif was given the title of “Voice of the generation”. The second album was a massive success for the artist and it solidified his reputation as a global superstar. By the time 2007 arrived, Atif had become the most popular musical act in South Asia. Atif pursued playback singing and lent his voice to various chart busters.
Atif’s third musical venture was called “Meri Kahani” and was released worldwide on 18th January, 2008. The artist went back to his roots in this album and created tracks similar to his original sound of 2004. At this stage of his career, it was yet another experiment because he presented his own sound to the masses. The album was received very well and Atif was appreciated for introducing his original sound to the legions of fans that knew him mostly for his playback singing.
In the limelight
Due to his ever increasing popularity Atif went on various tours around the globe taking his music to the world. Atif Aslam was the third Pakistan act ever to perform in the prestigious “Royal Albert Hall” in UK. At the time, he was the youngest among all the Pakistani acts that performed before him and also had spent the least amount of time in the industry. To date, Atif Aslm has performed in more than 15 countries across the globe and captivated the heart of millions. For this incredible feat, Atif Aslam became the youngest Pakistani to be bestowed upon with the highest civil honor “Tamgha-e-Imtiaz” (Star of Excellence) from the Government in 2008.
In 2009, Atif Aslam made his presence felt in the show “Coke Studio” produced by Rohail Hyatt. Coke Studio showcases live performances of artists from diverse genres as they come together to present a unique blend of fusion music. Atif Aslam was a big hit with Coke Studio fans as he gave 5 electrifying performances experimenting with different musical avenues. The show was able to attain maximum exposure from national and international viewers due to the presence of the superstar.
Every fortnight, music lovers tuned into the show to watch Atif’s innovative and courageous live performances that he handled with utmost ease. The performances by Atif Aslam on Coke Studio not only solidified his reputation as a one-of-a-kind live act, the performances also made millions of music lovers fall in love with the music & vocals of Atif Aslam. The first live performance by Atif on Coke Studio got 375,000+ views on YouTube! The performance featured the title track of Atif’s first album “Jalpari”. Over the course of the season, Atif Aslam performed the following tracks on Coke Studio:
Wasta Pyaar Da
Humain Kya Hua
Atif Aslam received excellent reviews for each performance. Atif’s appearance on Coke Studio not only elevated him to greater heights of success, it also helped the superstar to gain the respect of his peers and critics alike.
Atif Aslam has been part of noticeable International projects as well. In 2005, three tracks from his first album (Yakeen, Ehsaas & Aadat) were included in the soundtrack of an independent Hollywood venture titled “Man Push Cart”. The movie went on to win 8 international awards and 7 further nominations.
Atif always wanted to explore the international music and as part of the journey, Atif collaborated with the pioneers of hard rock “Guns N' Roses”. The project meant to create a bridge between the diverse cultures of both countries and also aimed to raise money for different causes in Pakistan by the eventual music created.
The musical collaboration of Atif Aslam and Lanny Cordola has already made waves with patriotic and inspiring tracks titled “Pakistan I have a dream” & “We Will Rise Again”. Speaking about Atif Aslam, Lanny Cordola comments:
“I couldn’t be more grateful to him. As a friend and as a musician… We have these long conversations about history and music and when we played together we had great chemistry.”
In 2010, Atif also diversified as an actor and took up the challenge to star in a movie called “BOL”. The movie is directed by acclaimed Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor and provides a deep moralistic insight into the most sensitive issues prevailing in Pakistan. The aim of the movie is to convey a meaningful message to the audience and that is the main reason that Atif Aslam chose this particular role over all the offers he had received. He wanted to portray a character that would be of some use to the society and would also challenge his limits as an artist.
Atif had received offers for various projects in India, but he chose to begin his acting career in a Pakistani movie because he wanted to return to his roots. His music career took off in Pakistan and he wanted to do his first movie project in a Pakistani venture as well. Atif Aslam sang two songs for the movie. The first song was called “Kaho (Aj Bol Do)” and the second song was called “Hona Tha Pyaar” that was composed by Atif Aslam himself. Both songs received a great response.
The movie released all over Pakistan on 24th June, 2011 and is set to release worldwide later this year. The response in Pakistan was phenomenal as the movie created box office history in its very first week. The rave reviews from the critics were accompanied by a record breaking business of Rs. 25 million approximately by the end of first week. The response of the movie goers in Pakistan solidified the reputation of Atif Aslam as the most charismatic personality in recent history.
In a nutshell
In less than 7 years, Atif Aslam has clearly become “The biggest superstar of Pakistan”. His juvenile and humble personality has struck a chord with the youth of South Asia on a very personal level. An artist that has reached the pinnacle of success continues to amaze the world by keeping his feet grounded. On stage, Atif Aslam is a Rock star, he is larger than life but he doesn’t bring back that part of his performance back with him off stage. Beyond all the spotlights and the superstardom, Atif continues to live a simple life with a simple personality. Along with his powerful vocals and soulful renditions, Atif is known for his sense of humor and the ability to spread positive energy all around him.
It is often said about Atif Aslam that “He came, he sang & he conquered” but it has not been that simple. The success is backed by consistent hard work, dedication and the ability to create music with fearless confidence! Combine all that with the most humble superstar ever and only one name comes to mind, Atif Aslam!