Atif Aslam was born on 12th March 1983 in Wazirabad, Pakistan. He is a Pakistani pop singer. He is widely recognized in South Asia and has given several hit songs such as Aadat, Woh Lamhe, Tere Bin, Pehli Nazar Mein, Tera Hone Laga Hoon, Tu Jaane Na, Tere Liye, Meri Kahani and Jalpari. He is best known for his powerful vocal belting technique. In 2008, he was awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan.
Early life and education
Atif Aslam was born in 1983 in Wazirabad, Pakistan. Started kindergarten in a typical town, Lahore at Kimberley Hall School, where he studied from grade 1-3. It was his first stage in the presentation of fancy dress at school when he was in the first row, where he was doing and Imran Khan (former commander of the Pakistani cricket team). Since then cricket was his passion. At the time he did not listen to any particular type of songs.
At the age of 9, moved to the city of Rawalpindi, and studied at Cambridge School of St. Paul from grade 4-8. He returned to Lahore in 1995 where he continued his studies in Divisional Public School, Model Town, Lahore. Was chosen in his school cricket team as designed. Acquitted of degree 10 in the age of 14 with the edge of the characteristic of being always the smallest boy in the class because of his double promotions. During that time he put his best efforts to become a professional cricketer. He passed from the school official of the Division after the completion of his secondary school certificate.
He went further his education at the Faculty of the Air Force of Pakistan, Lahore, where he completed his F.Sc (pre-engineering) with the class of 2001. Used to be aimed at the main attack of the college cricket team and has represented his university studies in various other cities, and got in the end specified in the under 19 national cricket team to Pakistan. Competition won his first singing festival in celebration of Independence at the college. He then went to the University of Central Punjab and completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
He used to sing at the college canteen when his friends urged him to participate in the singing competition on Independence Day celebrations at PAF College Lahore in 1998. He performed there and won the competition. Thereafter, he also won several other college competitions.
He met Goher- a guitarist who became his future Jal band-mate, at his college. Together they practiced and started doing mini-concerts for their friends. Aslam used to perform on the songs of Junoon and Strings at these concerts. They started performing in their college, McDonalds, Uncle Bubba’s Rabba Dabba and other restaurants. Thus began the original line up of Jal.
Jal recorded their first song Aadat at Mekal Hassan’s Studio. The song became popular on different musical websites in Pakistan and was also aired on major radio stations of Pakistan like City FM 89, FM 100, Mast FM 103, FM 105 etc. The video for this song was released on ARY Digital and The Musik and then it was played on almost all the channels.
After leaving Jal due to personal differences, Aslam released his first solo album, Jal Pari on 19 July 2004, under Sound Master and IC records. Its promoters declared it to be the best selling album of that year within just 5 months of it’s release. Besides his native country, he also became popular in India and his career took off to fame in both the countries. In the meantime he also cleared his Bachelors in Computer Science (Hons.) from the University of Central Punjab. His second album, Doorie was released on 22 December 2006.
His first major concert was at Al Hamra Hall, Mall Road Lahore where he performed during the break of a stage drama Moulin Rouge. On 14 April 2007, Aslam performed in Royal Albert Hall. His first international concert was at W. StarDreamz Entertainment Group during his tour of USA and Canada with RDB and Annie.
Aslam has also sung many songs for Bollywood films, like Pehli Nazar Mein in Race, Bakuda Tum Hi Ho in Kismat Konnection, Tera Hone Laga Hoon and Tu Jaane Na in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, both of which have been well-received by the Indian audience.
His last Indian venture was Prince in which he sang four songs, Tere Liye, Aa Bhi Ja Sanam, Kaun Hoon Main and O Mere Khuda. The songs were composed by musician Sachin Gupta.
Atif Aslam’s three songs featured in the Hollywood film, Man Push Cart. While Aadat is the main track, Ehsaas and Yaqeen are the other tracks. These songs are taken from his debut album, Jalpari. Atif is the 3rd Pakistani singer after Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Strings to be featured in any Hollywood movie.
Aslam is expected to make his acting debut in the second film of well acclaimed Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor. The film titled Bol is set to release in 2011. The film will also star famous Pakistani TV anchor Mahira Khan. Aslam plays the role of a doctor in the film. The film is being shot nowadays in Karachi and Lahore.
After the release of the song Aadat by Jal, there were disputes within the band about Aslam’s brother being the band’s manager. At this point Aslam broke off from the band to do his own solo album. His solo album was released a few weeks before the release of the Jal’s album, Aadat. As both the albums shared certain tracks, such as Aadat, Wo Lamhey, Rangon Mein and Dil Harey, an unofficial war over rights began between both the groups. Goher Mumtaz sued Aslam for using the name Jal in his album title cunningly (Jal Pari, meaning mermaid).
Tell us about your involvement in Kalyug and how it came through?
Atif Aslam:It was because of Mahesh Bhatt. He had already used my song in his movie, Zeher and he had heard ‘Aadat’ before. So he was inclined to it in his next film. He invited me over and I went to record it in one of the best studios in India.
But the version you recorded for the movie was in complete contrast to the original one. What do you have to say about that?
Atif Aslam: One has to understand that the Indian market caters to a completely different audience. This is why changes are made to the songs, which are used in a Bollywood movie. They have a market for filmi music, which has a different sound and is nothing like our pop music. Pakistan has its own market. We appreciate pop music and that’s why our pop industry is bigger. The lyrics and the melody of ‘Aadat’ had to be changed in the original version there is no chorus but in the Kalyug version, there is. Now you see that it’s a big hit already and if I hadn’t done it, it wouldn’t have been a hit.
The soundtrack has the original version of ‘Aadat’ as well, why is it there then?
Atif Aslam: No one listens to that version. Everyone listens to the version I recorded. Just to save them from controversy, they wrote, ‘music by Jal and singer Atif Aslam’. As I said, they have a different taste in music and that’s what they like. I also wanted to test my talents as a playback singer and this is another reason I went ahead to record the song. Various music directors have listened to it and they have all appreciated it.
Don’t you think that this is tampering with your music?
Atif Aslam: This is not the exploitation of the song in any way. They know their market better and if they think that this is a better version for their market, they are not wrong. We can sit here and criticise a lot of stuff but we don’t know what kind of market we are going to deal with once in India so it’s better to let them decide. I’ll just give you an example, how many of us liked Adnan Sami’s ‘Lift Karade’? But it was a big hit there. This is how it works. Different strokes for different folks.
So you don’t have any objection to the way the song has been altered?
Atif Aslam: The changes have been done with my consent and I have no objections with it. I initially had a problem with the lyrics, and I made them change the lyrics. I am fine with it now.
How was the experience of singing or giving your songs for Bollywood productions?
Atif Aslam: The experience has been a great one. I am very popular there and I wouldn’t say that I have ‘given’ my songs. It is because of my singing that I have been getting awards and people know me as a Pakistani who is making it big in India. I am doing it for my country. I am representing it. Yes, I haven’t appeared in the latest video of the movie, but that is only because I don’t want to represent Bollywood. If I were in the video, I would be representing them. And I repeat that I am not selling my songs!
But you are representing Bollywood when you sing for them. Don’t you think that you should have an upper hand when it comes to music, as it is your music?
Atif Aslam: In a country like Pakistan, there is very little exposure for a singer, and we all want to venture into a bigger market. India is that market for us. The media coverage, the presence and publicity is all on a global scale there. By the grace of God I had an offer from there and at that point in time, I was just 22 years old. Do you think a twenty two year old kid who has just started his music career would say no to a big Bollywood producer who is offering him to include his song in the movie? Isn’t this an honour?
But you can’t sell out just for honour. You have to keep in mind that it is your music and you should be compensated for it?
Atif Aslam: I didn’t sell it for free, obviously.
So what about the plans for releasing your new album?
Atif Aslam: It will be out within the next six months.
What is the sound of your upcoming album?
Atif Aslam: I have changed it as compare to my debut album. For me, music has no limits. It doesn’t have much classical music to it, the sound is soft rock/pop and it is aimed toward the youth.
Unlike other musicians who have ventured in the Indian market, why is that you haven’t released your album there?
Atif Aslam: Because I didn’t find an appropriate label to release my album.
Any new video to be seen on air?
Atif Aslam: You will see it in the next two months or so and it will be a brand new song.
What about Bollywood?
Atif Aslam: I will especially consider the lyrics and music of the song I sing for in future. I can’t disclose anything but there are a few projects I am working on and I have acting offers too.
Year Group Award Result
2005 Indus Music Awards Best Lyrics Aadat Won
Indus Music Awards Best Song Aadat Won
Indus Music Awards Best Composition Aadat Won
Sahara sangeet Awards Best Playback Singer Won
Sahara sangeet Awards Best Debut Singer Won
2006 The Musik Awards Most Wanted Male Won
Lux Style Awards Best Album Doorie Won
Filmfare Awards Best Playback Singer (Male) Woh Lamhe – Zeher Nominated
2007 Lycra MTV Style Awards Most Stylish Person in Music Won
Filmfare Awards Best Playback Singer (Male) Tere Bin – Bas Ek Pal Nominated
2008 Lux Style Awards Most Well Dressed Celebrity – Police Dress Won
The Musik Awards Most Wanted Male Won
Government of Pakistan Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Distinction) Awarded
2009 International Indian Film Academy Awards Best Playback Singer (Male) Pehli Nazar Mein – Race Nominated
Star Screen Awards Best Playback Singer (Male) Pehli Nazar Main – Race Nominated
2010 Filmfare Awards Best Playback Singer – Tu Jaane Na Nominated
IIFA Awards Best Playback Singer (Male) – Tu Jaane Na Nominated
GIMA Awards Best Playback Singer (Male) – Tu Jaane Na Nominated