Pakistani music industry has always been in the limelight in Asian territory and our industry has produced some crazy musicians. In the current slot, a lot of young blood has emerged in the music world and is trying to make its way to the mainstream.
A lot of youngsters that same age struggle, but this guy did something different that took him away from the struggling side and let him do the PSL anthem with that big debut in the coke studio.
It was none other than Abdullah Siddiqui who found his path to success and followed it wisely. It’s great to see the way he exhibits his work by letting go of the language he’s more comfortable expressing himself with.
Abdullah Siddiqui sat down for an interview in which he answered real questions that allowed him to reveal his personality and background.
Abdullah Siddiqui from the basement to Coke Studio
Abdullah Siddiqui has undoubtedly made everyone recognize him with his top-notch musical taste, but his Coke Studio Season 14 debut has also made everyone fall in love with him. Even netizens were also satisfied and delighted with this year’s coke studio music and songs.
When asked by an interviewer, how Siddiqui became a sensation making electronic music for a country that frankly doesn’t believe in partying and therefore mostly consumes traditionally-inspired folk music, Bollywood ballads and Sufi kalams?
“My job has always been pretty dark without ever having much to shake a leg. But the first mainstream recognition I got was by Nescafe Basement, which was also a Xulfi project.
And the way he turned Resistance into an audio-visual experience that could be enjoyed by everyone, that’s how I feel.
Even then, he recognized the market for the genre and showcased the electronic elements of my song in stunning visual treatment,” Abdullah told the local newspaper.
He started his career with the bang, from the basement to creating the PSL Anthem, then to Coke Studio’s collaboration with Xulfi where he had the chance to work with famous faces in our industry.
The Go hitmaker, who often associates his music with futurism, is however afraid of reaching his peak too soon. But he is reassured by the fact that while “all electronic music may not be futuristic; all futuristic music is electronic.
“Indian music uses electronic elements” – Abdullah Siddiqui
Abdullah Siddiqui shed light on Gen-Z and the involvement of electronic elements in Indian music. He shared, “People will always pick up patterns and ideas from the past.
But they will rely on the sound vocabulary of the time with a touch of modernism. And I’m glad I came at a time when many in Pakistan were ready to accept this… change.
Siddiqui credits his constant outpouring of creativity to the audience he clicks with. “I think now I’ve done all kinds of songs, that’s why brands approach me. However, they expect everything I do to be electronic and have this sense of modernity. I think Gen Z is credited with creating that pressure.
We now have a much more global audience, a generation of people who have access to media like never before. As a result, their way of listening is very specific and global.
Indian music has been using electronic elements since the 90s. And I feel like our audience is starting to get more exposure to that sound now too. They are more concerned with variety.
“Brands trust me, probably because they don’t have a reference, a catalog of local electronic music to compare my sound to. What I’m doing is so specific that they wouldn’t want to hold me back in any way.
But I think it’s also important to be aware of your audience. For the PSL Anthem, I knew I had to speak to a specific audience, so I would call what I created a product. However, with Coke Studio, all of my work is uncompromising in terms of artistry,” Siddiqui assured.
We’re a little too late in the electronic pop party
Abdullah Siddiqui believed that the Pakistani music industry entered the world of electronic music a bit late. “We have lost a linear development of what Pakistani electronic music could have been. We had stunted musicality.
We resorted to global musical models in the mid-2010s when electronic music started to permeate the Pakistani scene. With that in mind, I refrain from using synthesizers and instead focus on manipulating local music to make it sound otherworldly.
The most notable example of this is the Kanna Yaari. If you listen closely, you’ll hear splashes of different local instruments that help create this desi pan that we’ve never heard before. The goal is always to close that gap,” Siddiqui said.
Hence the proof, because the late Aamir Zaki once said, about fusion music, that it was not an amalgamation of genres, rather, detached from any type of music, and asked if we finally succeed in making fusion music or if we are still experimenting.
Siddiqui added: “I think it’s important to experiment. It’s something I’ve always wanted to see Pakistanis do. I hope this season of Coke Studio has encouraged them to mix, match and experiment in different and more organized ways.
“I am not a live artist” – Abdullah Siddiqui
We had creative stagnation when Youtube was banned and concerts weren’t happening. But now, especially because of Covid, we have this new generation of artists trying new things.
Artists in my age group have been instrumental in transforming music and audiences. I’m not a live artist but these guys do revitalizing gigs too.
Stylistically, they all bring something new to the table. They also have images, stories and visuals. This is very important for the music consumption experience.
Despite the language barrier, he usually writes songs in English, which disconnects him from his mass audience.
Siddiqui shared, “I mainly worked as a producer so the disconnect wouldn’t affect me. But the dissonance exists, because of that I was told not to write in English. And I’m just starting to get fascinated with all kinds of South Asian music doing CS and making my next album. So, I’m also starting to get out of my comfort zone.
Recently, Abdullah Siddiqui also reached another milestone, as the short film Joyland was selected for Cannes and Siddiqui felt grateful for making music.
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