The landscape of British Asian Music is set to change with talented upcoming artists aiming to take centre stage and make a name for themselves globally
This week we caught up with Zaheer Abbas Khan, the upcoming British Asian vocalist who’s all ready to release his debut album Judai. We found out more about Zaheer’s music, dreams and passion for music and how he got into making his album.
1.So Zaheer how did your interest in music start?
ZAK: Well I was a very young boy when I heard the Sonu Nigam song “Mujhe raat din” and that stuck in my head, My mum heard me sing it and she encouraged me from there. However it was very later in my teens when I started thinking seriously about becoming a singer
2.Did you learn music formally?
ZAK: Yes I learnt from my teacher Smt Chandirma Misra (Patiala Gharana) for a few years who initiated me into pure classical khayal vocal music and I am currently under the guidance of the Sarod Maestro Ustad Wajahat Khan Saab (Etawa Gharana).  I am extremely grateful to all my gurus for their guidance and training.
3.Who are your favorite singers?
ZAK: I have loads, my biggest inspiration is the Bollywood playback singer Muhammad Rafi. There was a time when I would listen to his songs all day long, I believe my real passion for music grew in those teenage years when I discovered Muhammad Rafi. There are also other musicians such as Kishore Kumar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali,Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Sajjad Ali and many many more.
4.You mentioned Sajjad Ali, you opened the concert for him last year in London didn’t you?
ZAK: Yes that was one of the happiest evenings of my life, I admire Sajjad Ali a hell of a lot and his music is other worldly. The Cadogan hall was packed out and I was very nervous but the show went well and will always be a very memorable evening for me
5.Did you get to speak to Sajjad Ali?
ZAK: Yes I did, backstage!! I told him how much I admired him and his music and after my performance he walked past me and said “well done”, something that rings in my ears even today. Also I have been very fortunate to learn music from Patiala gharana, this is the same gharana as Sajjad Ali’s.
6.Recently the Pakistani cricketer Muhammad Amir mentioned that your unreleased song has been stuck in his head?
ZAK: (laughs) yes I was quite surprised by his shoutout, I was at home when my phone kept ringing with friends texting to tell me he had mentioned my upcoming song. Amir was actually in London when I was working on the song so it was being played at home quite often while he stayed with us. He did take a liking to it and encouraged me a lot. It is a very catchy tune and I hope it sticks into the listeners minds as it did in Amir’s. Since then I have had a few people from India/Pakistan that tracked my facebook page and sent me requests for a teaser of that song!

7.So tell us about your first song?
ZAK: Its a sad song called Tujhse Judaai, I composed the song myself and the lyrics were written by my brother Taimur Abbas Khan. The song was arranged in Kolkata India by a very talented arranger, Ayon Manna. The theme of the song is separation based on mutual love and I wanted the sound to be moderm and appealing to the young generation.
8.When will this be released?
ZAK: The audio elements to the song are all complete, I am in the process of making a video and once that’s done this should be out soon Inshallah.
9.What are the other songs in the album like?
ZAK: I have tried to give a versatile touch to my album so the songs don’t all sound the same. Tujhse Judai is a very “Bollywood type” sad song however there are other songs that are of complete contrast. For example, there is a heavy rock-classical fusion song called “Allah Jaleshan”, then there is a Punjabi song called “Ishq Ibadat” that fits into the sufi genre and then a complete romantic Ballad. The album also contains a patriotic song. I hope the audience like the songs and it becomes a commercial success
10.Have you composed all the songs yourself:
ZAK: Yes I have, I enjoy composing music and melodies and feel this comes quite naturally to me. I am fortunate to have my brother as a lyric writer so we spend a lot of time together writing songs. It can be quite stressful but theres not better feeling than when a song is complete and you’re satisfied.
11.What elements do you think are needed to make a song hit?
ZAK: Umm I think a musician should try to make the song as melodious as they can and use levers to make it sound as catchy as possible. Lyrics play an integral part and the music arrangement should suit the composition style. Having said all of this, inevitably it is all in the hands of God, many great songs never became hit and many average songs took off. One can never predict the future of the song – its in the hands of a force greater than us
12.Whats your vision for yourself as a singer in the next 10 year?
ZAK: I would like to have had some big hits under my belt whether that be in Bollywood or Pakistan music industry – or both! Hopefully have had a few successful albums released and touring the world! who knows eh? fingers crossed (laughs)
13.Who is your biggest inspiration?
ZAK: My mother, she has always supported me in believing that I can achieve whatever I want. She has always gone out of her way for me and as Abraham Lincoln said: “All that I am, or could ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”
Thank you Zaheer we wish you all the best with everything
ZAK: Thank you for this lovely opportunity
If you would like to know more about Zaheer then feel free to follow him on ZAHEERABBASKHANOFFICIAL 
Or visit his website www.zaheerabbaskhan.com


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