Hadiqa Kiyani – Pakistani Pop Singers
Hadiqa Kiani followed up Roshni with a more mature album, `Rung’. In 2007, she became the first Pakistani mainstream artist to release a complete English album, `Rough Cut’. Kiani is also a judge on a new singing reality show in Pakistan called LG Awaaz Banay Star. She released her fifth album, `Aasmaan’ in June 2009. One of the most successful musicians in Pakistan, she has been awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.
Kiani was born on August 11. She is the youngest of 3 siblings. Her father died when she was 3 years old. Kiani recalled the experience of losing her father in a talk show called Heart to Heart on ARY. She said it was very difficult for a few years for her family as issues had risen after her father’s death. Her mother was, nevertheless, very brave throughout their upbringing, she added. Her mother Khawar was principal of a government all-girl school while Kiani and her older siblings were growing up. After her father’s death and the resultant loss of financial support the family had to use the school as a temporary home. Kiani and both her siblings had a knack for music, and so her mother and the school enlisted her in the Pakistan National Council of the Arts. Kiani then performed in front of a crowd of a thousand people at Liaqat Memorial Hall Pindi.
She went on to study at Viqar-un-Nisa Noon Girls High School Pindi. She represented Pakistan in International children festivals in Turkey, Jordan, Bulgaria, and Greece, winning various medals along the way. She also used to be on Sohail Rana’s “Rang Barangi Dunya”; a weekly musical.
As an eighth grader Kiani moved from birth place Rawalpindi to Lahore. She was then enrolled in “Naya Aligarh Public School”. She then went on to Kinnaird and Govt. College due to her excellent academic performance and earned a Masters Degree in Psychology.
Kiani released her debut album Raaz (Secret) in 1995. Kiani wrote the lyrics for her first single, “Jeevan” (Life). The album spawned a string of radio friendly tunes and generally had favorable reviews. One reason why Kiani’s album did well was because it was not common for female singers to release albums at the time. She was, furthermore, the first female singer to release a pop album after a former pop singer, Nazia Hassan, gave up her musical career in 1993. Kiani’s ability to sing in various dialects also helped the album gain momentum.
Still, Raaz performed well. The album’s success was highlighted by it being mentioned in an article which recapitulated the major events in Pakistan’s music history. The article stated “Hadiqa Kiani successfully releases debut album Raaz”. She also won “NTM Viewer’s choice award” for the best female Singer of Pakistan in 1995.
In 1996, Kiani’s debut album had sold over 700 thousand copies. She kept on releasing singles from the album, all of which were received well. These included “Yaad”, “Tu Agar Mil Jaata”, “Jaan E Jan”, and “Manne Di Mauj”.
In 1998 Kiani began working on her second music album, Roshni (Light). The album was dedicated to her nephew Sonu ( her older sister’s son ). Kiani takes good care of her nephew and considers him a significant person in her life. The first single off the album, “Tu Nawa Tu Sada” was released before the album was released. Kiani then released a second single, “Inteha-e-Shauq”. It was designated the official theme song for the Pakistani Cricket team for the Cricket World Cup that year. Both songs, being patriotic, gained favorable reviews, however “Inteha-e-Shauq” was much more successful for Kiani. On November 1, 1998 Kiani released `Roshni’. Initial album sales were powered mostly by “Inteha-e-Shauq”, which made the final listing of the album along with “Tu Nawa Tu Sada”.
Hadiqa’s third single off the album, “Dupatta” was an instant success. Its video was inspired by the sci-fi film The Matrix and was the highest-budget video in Pakistan in 1999. “Dupatta” also gained more popularity than any other single Kiani had released before from her debut single. The song is also listed in the Twenty Best Pop Songs Ever for Pakistan, where it is positioned at #15. The success of the song was attributed to its quasi-bhangra rhythm with fat, funky techno beats and Hadiqa’s “dreamy-meets-husky vocals” which made the results “stunning”. In the wake of Dupatta’s success Kiani soon went on to be widely accepted as the country’s leading female vocalist.
Capitalizing on “Dupatta’s” success, Kiani went on to release two other moderate hits, “Roshni” and “Woh Kaun Hai”. She then delivered once again by releasing a sixth single off the album, “Boohey Barian” which went on to become an even bigger hit for her than “Dupatta”.
Kiani’s massive success in 1999 was highlighted when she won PTV World Viewer’s Choice Award for the best female singer in 2000. She also released a seventh single off the album, “Intezaar”.
`Roshni’ sold over a million copies in Pakistan alone. Kiani’s image also became a signature look in cities like Karachi. The album is listed in “The 20 Best Local Pop Albums Ever” for the country, positioned at #15. Hadiqa is just one of two female singers in the entire list. The other one is Nazia Hassan. The review stated
This is the album with which Hadiqa finally overcame her reputation of being a folksy Nazia Hassan imitator. Glided across various different genres in a single album, from millennium techno to crisp FM Pop and the usual Folk-Pop thing. The brilliant production continues to be the highlight here.
In another list called “The 10 Best Local Pop Albums…ever” Roshni was placed at number 9. The review also highlighted Hadiqa’s status rise by stating
However, on the excellent and crisply produced “Roshni”, not only did Hadiqa manage to ultimately become the next Nazia, but the way she so effortlessly glided through the many distinct genres she explores on “Roshni” (from Neo-Filmi-Pop to FM-Pop to Techno), elevated her status to being one of the post-modern Indo-Pak pop scene’s leading “pop diva”
Kiani’s success got her signed by “UniLever” for celebrity endorsement of Lipton Yellow Label in 2001. In 2002, she was signed again by “UniLever” for Sunsilk Shampoo. Throughout 2001 and 2002, she performed live concerts in USA , Canada , UK, Middle East, Far East, Australia, Norway, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey on multiple occasions.
Hadiqa Kiani released her third album Rung (Colors) in September 2002, for which she’d chosen the album title herself. Prior to Rung’s release, Kiani sang an OST for a drama called Cheray. The song also made the final listing on Rung.
The first single released from Rung was “Yaad Sajan”. The song helped the album sales propel throughout September and August 2002 and was an instant hit. It didn’t however make it as big as “Dupatta” or “Boohey Barian”, but generally got great appreciation.
Where Kiani released multiple videos for her previous albums within months after the album release, she didn’t do so with Rung because of a personal crisis in her life. Her marriage was seeing problems. Issues with her marriage saw her being removed from the spotlight for the rest of 2002, and early 2003. Rung’s sales slowly declined since no other single had been released. Her divorce was finalized in March 2003. She decided to take a few months off from her music career then. As a result, Rung’s sales seemed stalled.
She returned to promote the album in June 2003, almost 10 months after she’d released “Yaad Sajan” with a new single “Ranjhan” and several stage performances and tours around the country. She then released other singles off the album throughout 2003 and 2004. These included “Jogi Bun Kay Aa”, “Mahi”, and “Dholan”.
Her newer singles saw her videos seeing a drastic improvement in standard and concept. In “Jogi Bun Kay Aa” Kiani plays various roles of women, including a traditional Japanese, an Arab, and a tribal woman. She played the role of a vampire in her video for “Mahi”. The video was also sending the message to not judge people of different faiths and casts, and to not stereotype. It was the highest budgeting video of the year 2003. Despite the setback from her divorce, Kiani’s album sales picked up through 2003 and 2004. In 2004, she received the Best Female Pop Singer Award by Indus Music, the first 24 hour music channel of Pakistan.Dr.Asim Raza won an award for best video for directing her video Mahi.
Rung got mixed reviews from experts. Overall it didn’t capitalize on the momentum she generated by Roshni. Many argue that this is due to the fact that Rung has more mature slow paced ballads than Roshni, while some say the turmoils of her personal life. However Kiani still remained a strong figure in the industry, despite the setback. Her name was mentioned in a list called “Pakistani Pop’s 10 most Influential Acts Ever”, where she positioned at number 9. She is also one of just 2 female singers in the list, with the other being Nazia Hassan. A UK based Magazine declared Hadiqa as the 22nd greatest music maker of South Asia out of Top 50, also mentioning on how she raised the standard of music videos in the country.
Her increasing popularity was further highlighted in 1997 when Kiani became the first Asian singer ever to perform on the British National Lottery Live BBC1 (estimated viewership 16.6 million). Later on she worked on two more shows with Bally Sagoo for BBC 2 and ITV before moving to perform in the U.S. Her U.S. tour covered 15 states and a show in Canada too. The same year Kiani performed on several other international events such as “Celebration Hong Kong 97”, alongside other singers like Lisa Stansfield, Wet Wet Wet, Michael Learns to Rock, All-4-One and The Brand New Heavies. By the end of the year she became the first Asian female singer ever to be signed by Pepsi Cola International. She is also the second female in the world to achieve this, with the first being Gloria Estefan.
Kiani didn’t release any single to promote Rung sales in 2005 and 2006. However, she continued to build on her success by touring heavily these years. Most of the time she was the official representative of Pakistan appointed by the government.
On August 11, 2005, Kiani performed in Nagoya for the Prime Minister of Japan Mr.Junichiro Koizumi. Kiani was invited to perform in Toronto on 14 Aug, 2005 by The Pakistani Consulate. She performed in Houston on 13th August 2005. The show was at Sam Houston Race Park, and it was attended by over 15000 people. Chief guest of the show was Sheila Jackson Lee who is a member of the US House of Representatives. Kiani was asked to take out the lucky draws of PIA and she announced the names of the lucky winners. She then performed at the “Mets” in “Shea Stadium” New York on August 18, 2005. She also performed at the Pakistan Day Parade in New York on August 28, 2005.
She performed in Malaysia on the 2nd October 2005 at the newly built Convention Centre in Kualalampur downtown. The Honorary Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr.Shaukat Aziz was the chief guest of the show. The show was part of Expo 2005 in Malaysia. Important business and political personalities from both countries attended the show. She sang a Malay song, not a Pakistani song.
Kiani represented Pakistan on the 25th Anniversary of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) in Turkey. Islamic Countries such as Azerbaijan, U.A.E, Iran, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Turkey, Pakistan and Yemen took part in the celebrations. The event was organized by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. She performed at the AKM concert Hall on 23 November 2005. Among the audience were musicians from various countries. The biggest surprise for the audience was when Hadiqa sang “Sanalama” (Turkish song of Living Legend “Sezanaksu”). Hadiqa told the audience that as Turkey stood beside Pakistan in good and bad times, she wanted to convey the love of Pakistani people for the Turks. She also told that she visited Turkey as a child star in 80s and represented Pakistan in the International Children’s Festival in Turkey so had beautiful childhood memories associated with Turkey. The audience gave her a standing ovation. At the end of her performance, The Mayor of Istanbul presented a bouquet of flowers to her. After her performance she received invitations for Pakistan to participate in the upcoming Art festivals in various countries such as Iran, Syria, Qatar and Lebanon. During her stay in Istanbul she officially visited various historical sites in Turkey and conveyed the love of Pakistan for Turkey. Her performance in Istanbul was important news in various Turkish News papers.
Kiani performed in China for the Chinese 2nd Premier on 21st Feb, 2006. She performed for President George W.Bush on 4 March 2006. Commenting on her performance, Bush said he liked her accent and wanted her to perform in USA. She performed for the Crown Prince of Brunei Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah on 29 May 2006.
Kiani performed for Mrs.Laura Bush on September 21, 2006 at The Kennedy Convention Centre, Washington, D.C.. She closed the year by performing for HRH Prince Charles on October 30, 2006, and the Chinese President on November 23, 2006.
2005-2006 music contributions
Though Kiani couldn’t release music and didn’t promote sales for Rung due to her touring in these years, she still remained a strong figure in the industry due to her contributions and experiments. She also won an Indus Music Award for the Best Female singer for the second time in 2005.
Throughout 2005, Kiani did not release any video to promote Rung. She did however sing in various collaborations with other male singers. She sang the OST for a drama on HUM TV called “Aas Paas” with singer Atif Aslam. She sang 2 more OST’s for the same channel, one being “Koi Lamha Gulab Sa” with Ahmed Jehanzeb, and another solo OST for a drama called “Tum Meray Ho”. She also was featured in Najam Sheraz’s single “In Say Nain” alongside many other featured artists. She was the only female artist in that song. She also performed for a special show on ARY’s The Musik called “Re-Mastered”, where she sang her songs and covered popular band Fuzon’s song Teray Bina. In the same show, Fuzon covered her song Boohey Barian, and asked her to sing with them on their closing number, Aankhon Ke Sagar.
Kiani also performed for Geo TV in May 2005 for their show called “Geo Applause”. The show was held at Sailing Club Karachi, and it was attended by large number of important personalities of the pop industry. Hadiqa sang songs that were mostly slow in tempo. Hadiqa told the audience in the beginning of the show that she would sing songs that she personally liked and those might not be people’s choice. It was also her return to hosting a show after over a decade. In the show, she gave a tribute to The Carpenters by singing their song “I Need to Be in Love”. According to the producer of the show (Nadeem J), it was the best “applause” ever recorded for Geo.
In January 2006, Kiani released a single, “Iss Bar Milo”. Although the song was off her album Rung, it was used instead to promote a recently formed duo between her and Aamir Zaki. They both had planned to release an English album soon. The song became a huge success, and its video continue to build on the trend of videos Hadiqa had released. In the video Kiani plays a schizophrenic patient at a mental institution for women. Reviews for the rock song were extremely favorable, with people appreciating her acting and her decision to sing different genres.
Kiani had released another video in 2006. She was featured on UK based producer Khiza’s album Loyal To The Game. The album’s lead single, “Mehr Ma” featured Hadiqa. The song was a massive success in Pakistan, and was seen as a great return for Hadiqa after her ballads in Rung. This was highlighted by the fact that Khiza’s same album in Pakistan was titled Mehr Ma and not Loyal to the Game. Also, the album cover in Pakistan only has Kiani on it, not Khiza. In the video, Kiani is seen with different hairstyles and outfits. Kiani also cut her hair short and dyed it red for the video. Its reviews have been extremely favorable. One source says “‘Mehr Ma’, which starts off the album is easily the best track on it. With Kiani showcasing her top-notch vocals and the music, which remains hip-hopish yet very desi, thanks to the usage of sitar, tabla makes it an excellent number.” Hadiqa also performed the song at the 2006 Lux Style Awards, and was called the best performer of the night in reviews. For a while, Mehr Ma was the second highest hits of all of Hadiqa’s videos on Youtube, only trailing Boohey Barian that was until 2009.
In late October, 2005, Kiani became the first person to adopt a baby from the earthquake. She has named the baby boy “Naaday Ali” and officially announced her adoption decision on Geo TV the same night she adopted him on a live show. She then proceeded to announce it in an official press release.
There have been some conflicting opinions with Kiani adopting a baby. Some people argued as to why she was allowed to adopt when there were laws passed against adoption to prevent human trafficking. This however wasn’t a strong basis of argument, others said, since the baby was given to her, and it was not she who applied for him. Hadiqa has applied for official adoption of the baby ever since the law against adoption were released. Since the adoption she has married again. She claims the reason to be “wanting to give [her son] Naad-e-Ali the love of a father”.
On March 23, 2006, Kiani was awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, one of the highest civil awards of the country, in acknowledgement of her services in the field of music and for shining an encouraging light on the country for over a decade. The award was announced on August 14, 2005 but the ceremony was performed on March 23 of the next year.
Yeh Hum Naheen
In March 2007 Kiani was one of the many artists featured in a widely popular track called “Yeh Hum Naheen”. In this song, various Pakistani artists joined to send out a message that people should stop blaming Muslims for the killings of other innocent Muslims. The song also conveys an anti-terrorism sentiment. Other artists in the song are Haroon, Ali Haider, Ali Zafar, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Strings and Shuja Haider. The song has been picked up by international stations like Fox News and BBC and has amassed over 70,000 downloads.
In 2007 Hadiqa Kiani released her fourth studio album, Rough Cut, a collaboration with Aamir Zaki. The album had seen frequent delays in its release both due to Kiani’s busy schedule in 2005 and 2006 and due to the fact that Amir Zaki had moved to Canada while the album was being recorded. With the release of `Rough Cut’, Kiani became the first Pakistani (Main Stream) artist to release a complete English Album. It is also her only album thus far which her website has officially put up for sale online.
In April 2007 Kiani released the first single for the album, titled “Living This Lie”, a song which talks about the stressful life of being a star. The same week, Kiani was named “Hotstepper of the week” for a Karachi-based magazine. The magazine also stated that
Ultimately, as long as Hadiqa is around, there is still hope for women in the patriarchal music world of Pakistan.
Kiani’s second single that was released from the album is titled “All The Same”. Rough Cut failed to perform on the charts and didn’t sell as much as Kiani’s older works. Many experts have said that since an overwhelming majority of people in the country do not understand English the album didn’t sell as well. It has not yet been confirmed whether Kiani will release a third single from the album. However, there are rumors that the track “City of Fallen Angels” will get a video release in which Karachi will be the city referred to in the song.
The single titled “Living This Lie” got nominated for “Best English Song” for “The Musik Awards” in 2007. Due to the emergency situations occurring in the country in 2007, however, the awards were called off. Hadiqa also got nominated for Best Female Singer in the same awards.
In August 2007 Kiani was one of the performers for the London Day Parade at Trafalgar Square, London which was broadcast by Geo TV to celebrate 60 years of Independence for Pakistan. Hadiqa was the only singer who performed completely live that day. She was also part of the closing act for the show with the popular patriotic song “Jeevay Pakistan” alongside Ali Zafar.
She also released an Urdu single titled “Zindagi” which is a rock-themed song about the life (Zindagi) of Pakistani children. The song was released a few weeks after the London Day Parade and as of May 2010 is her latest video. She also stated in an interview that she plans to release an Urdu album and concentrate on its production shortly after “Rough Cut”‘s release, and she has already completed four tracks for it. However it is not clear if Zindagi will be a track on that album.
Kiani did not perform as much internationally as she did in years before, and she even toured around Pakistan less frequently towards the end of 2007 (primarily due to the state of emergency and the turmoils the country went through). However, earlier in 2007 (May 19) Hadiqa performed at Dead Sea Marriott Jordan at the World Economic Conference. Hadiqa’s performance was on the 2nd day of the 3-day event while American singer Lionel Richie performed on the 1st day at the same venue. During her performance Hadiqa performed an Arabic song “Aa We Nos” (originally sung by Nancy Ajram). Jordanian performers accompanied Hadiqa during that song.
Hadiqa Kiani will appear as a judge on an upcoming TV show on Geo TV called Pakistan Idol. The show itself has seen airing date delays due to the crisis in the country in the Winter of 2007. Hadiqa will also do an interview for Pakistan Idol soon. It hasn’t been announced when the interview will take place.
As of August 1, 2008 Geo TV announced that the show and its auditions have been put on hold until further notice.
Kiani has been relatively inactive so far in 2008, performing only at a few non-televised concerts. The reason for her sudden absence is claimed to be her mother’s paralysis in 2006. It is since that time that Hadiqa has been taking care of her mother. More information on the matter has not been disclosed.
Despite her absence Kiani recently performed at a cricket match between Pakistan and Bangladesh on April 20, 2008. It is hoped that more information on the performance will eventually follow.
Kiani released a statement on her Facebook site and to the press to announce her divorce from her second husband, citing a long-distance
relationship as the main cause of the breakup.
In June 2009, Kiani switched record labels to Fire Records and released a new album titled “Aasmaan” (translated: sky) on June 17, 2009. It is Kiani’s first album in local languages since her release of “Rung” back in 2002. In the album, she sings in Urdu, Punjabi, Hindko, Pashto, Persian, and many other dialects. One song in the album has vocals featured by her older brother (and manager) Irfan Kiani. She has also collaborated with UK producer NAT-Z on two tracks of the album, “Sohnya” and “Dil Mera”. She also sings a Pashto duet with Pashto singer Irfan Khan.
The first single of the album is “Sohnya”. The official video of “Sohnya” was premiered a day before Kiani released the album. Since then the song+video has stayed on the Aag10 Charts for over a month thus Hadiqa Kiani received a Shield from Aag10 for being the Artist of the Month.
Within the next month Hadiqa released her second single off the album titled “Tuk Tuk”. The video was directed in India by Sajan Agarwaal. This was Hadiqa’s first video ever to be shot in India. Rightfully, the video communicates a strong Bollywood theme; Hadiqa Kiani told her fans of her Facebook site that the video was a Parody of “A Filmy Muhallaha”.
The album has stayed Number One on the Vibes Charts of INSTEP Magazine for one year now consistently. At the end of 2009 Aasmaan was named the Best Album of 2009 according to sales volume, popularity and internet downloads.
Every single released from the album `Aasmaan’ has reached number one. “Sohnya” was number one AAG10 Charts for over a month and was titled the best Pop Song of 2009 according to The Nation. “Tuk Tuk” has been Number One on UK’s Prime Tv Charts. “Az Chashme Saqi” has been Number One on PlayTv Charts for quite some time. At the end of 2009 it was declared the third best music video of 2009 according to Koolmuzone.
Then came February 2010, Hadiqa Kiani had collaborated with relatively unknown Pashto singer Irfan Khan for a remix of his song “Janan”. The song has become Hadiqa’s biggest hit till date and some say that it has even topped “Boohey Barian”. “Janan” had reached over one million views on Youtube within a few months of its video debut. Janan was even mentioned in the Los Angeles Times, it was the first Pakistani pop song to ever be mentioned in the newspaper. Kiani nailed the Pashto accent and has fully embraced the Pashto culture. Some Pakhtoons even started to call her Hadiqa Pathani, Kiani then started a massive trend in Pakistan of embracing Pashto culture, girls started to wear Pashto style dresses imitating Hadiqa’s looks on the red carpet etc. The song broke barriers, Kiani being a Punjaban singing a Pashto song and appealing to not only Pakistani Pashto audiences, but to the world wide audience. “Janan” has brought Hadiqa Kiani back to an “Icon” status in Pakistan for the youth.
1994 Won various awards as play back singer for famous musical movie “SARGAM” (Music Composer ADNAN SAMI KHAN).
1995 Won “NTM Viewer’s choice award” for the best female Singer of Pakistan.
1996 Debut Album “Raaz” sold more than 700,000 copies.
1997 First Asian singer to perform on the British National Lottery Live BBC1 (estimated viewership 16.6 million).
1998 First Asian female singer signed by Pepsi Cola International (Second female in the world after Gloria Estefan).
1999 Second album “Roshni” sold over 1,000,000 copies. Her song “Boohey Barian” acclaimed international appreciation in the south Asian community.
2000 Won PTV World viewer’s choice award for the best female singer.
2001 Signed by “UNI LEVER” for celebrity endorsement of LIPTON YELLOW LABEL.
2002 Signed by “UNI LEVER” for Sunsilk Shampoo.
2004 Received the Best Female Pop Singer Award by Indus Music (The first 24 hour Music Channel Of Pakistan).
2005 Received the Best Female Pop Singer Award by Indus Music.
2006 Signed by PEL Electronics as a brand ambassador
2007 Hadiqa became the first Pakistani mainstream artist to release a complete English album, Rough Cut.
2008 Signed by “UNI LEVER” for celebrity endorsement of PONDS AGE MIRACLE.
2009 Signed by LG for celebrity endorsement of LG GM200
2009 Signed by Soul Collections
2009 Hadiqa received the Best Female Singer Award from TV ONE.
2009 Hadiqa received a Shield from Aag10 for being the Artist of the Month for her single “Sohnya”.
2009 Aasmaan had the highest sales and internet downloads of any Pakistani album in 2009
2010 Hadiqa was assigned along with Shahid Afridi as an Environmental Envoy for Pakistan by the UNDP
2010 Nominated for Best Female Act and Best International Act at the Brit Asia Music Awards 2010
2010 PTV Award for Kiani’s contributions to music in Pakistan
A personality that is reserved, controlled and yet ambitious and fiery – Hadiqa Kiani is a mature and focused woman. Her album Rang has just hit the market.
How did it all start?
Hadiqa Kiani: Music has always been a part of my life. My siblings and me have been musically trained as we used to attend music classes since childhood. I have been lucky to be under the guidance of great teachers like (Late) Ustad Faiz Ahmed Khan and Mr Suhail Rana. My real break came with the television programme, Rang Birangi Duniya. The programme really helped get me the platform I needed. After that, Adnan Sami’s directorial, Sargam happened; the movie’s music was what really introduced me to the Pakistani music world. The movie even earned me an award and really got me up and running in the music industry.
Were studies a priority in your life since you are a Masters in Psychology?
Studies were always the top priority in my life. Our mother told us that we were free to pursue our activities only if our studies were not disturbed. I used to sing a lot at school but never thought of it seriously enough as a career choice. I graduated from Canard College and earned a Masters in Psychology from Government College, Lahore, following my mother’s footsteps.
Tell us more about your journey towards your present stardom?
Like all, it was difficult in the beginning. The society that is existential (sic) in our culture does not make it easy, especially for woman to take a stand, but you have to do it. No one can be a perfect singer, you have to work hard, and then keep repeating that performance to maintain your position.
Tell us about your album ‘Rang’?
Rang has a vivacious range of songs that has shades of western and eastern music. A lot of efforts have been put in making this album, because many tracks are quite different from my usual style. The maturity and difference that comes with time is seen in this album. We have tried to put our best effort so that we can improve on our previous work.
Raaz, Roshni and now Rang. Why is the letter ‘R’ so prominent?
A little bit of superstition would be it. I was pretty adamant in having the album named with ‘R’ even though the album doesn’t have a title track by the name Rang. I liked the name because it was very meaningful and depicted all the shades of my album, but my next album’s namemight not start with the same letter.
Any favourites from the album?
A lot of heart and soul has gone in the making of each song in Rang and it would be impossible to choose a favorite. Lyrics, melody and production – all have an extended level of maturity in them from my previous work. The song Mahi na jaane haal, a light classical, had a different feel to it and that was a difficult song for me as it required me to train my voice in the classical mode. Another track, Is baar milo, a pop song produced by Aamir Zaki has a very different feel as it is totally expressed in whispers, and I had to sing that totally dissimilar from my style. Raanjhan, a Punjab folk song, basically of bhangra feel had an aggressive tone with strong vocals and a folk touch to it. These are the tracks that I feel, were challenging.
Any videos for the album?
Practically, the plans for videos are still in the pipeline, but different directors are working on different concepts regarding the videos. The tracks which, most possibly, will be video shot are Ek raanjhan, Yaad sajan, and Maahi na jaane haal. Also Dholan is being worked on too, so we are closing in on the concepts. We have recently shot a video show sequence program, in which the album’s twelve songs have been shot and the videos of these songs will be shown on television.
Rang is your third Album, how is it different from the earlier ones?
Although this album is true to my style, the difference from my previous work is its versatility and instrumentation. Also, the elevation in maturity within is seen in the music and lyrics of Rang. So, my personal growth and transition with time is evident in my work.
What does music mean to you?
Music is within me all the time, in my mind. For me music is a form of true inner self-expression. There is a spiritual connection between my songs, their lyrics, the melody and me. Once I am into the mood, the lyrics just guide the rhythm out of me.
Tell us about your performances abroad?
I have been a part of quite a few performances abroad. In my initial days, I toured with Junaid Jamshed, Aakash and Fakhr-e-Alam in the first Asian “Dream Team World Tour”, across the UK. I have done a couple of shows in the US and Canada with Bally Sagoo, and also shared the stage with many of the Western music bands and stars like Wet Wet Wet and Lisa Stanfield. Another great opportunity for me was the BBC Lottery Show. I was chosen out of 10 million people for it, and the show was televised on two international channels – ITV and BBC2. It was a great feel.
What’s your take on live stage performances?
Although in real life, I am a very shy and introverted person, and pretty self conscious in public, but I am really fanatical about music and that’s what runs through me in my performances. I have to interact with the audience and feel the pulse of the music with them. My interaction with them is really essential for me. I mostly go totally crazy when I perform. There is a high level of madness involved in my performances.
Hadiqa, your sense of style really is distinct and upbeat?
Yes, the motive is to achieve a blend of traditional with western, something that matches to the kind of music that I play. It is not just topping off every outfit with a long coat; it is about the personality. Also, for female artistes, it becomes vital to portray a strong image along with being mentally firm. Our music scene is widely male oriented and for a female artiste to take a stance is not very easy. Also, a unique dress sense adds to overall vitality.
Your brother Irfan Kiani has been with you throughout your music career. Tell us more?
My brother has been my greatest support since, like, forever. He has helped me throughout – helping me in my singing to arranging the music for me. He is my backbone, my greatest support.
What is your philosophy in life?
I have always believed that one has to have a goal in life, which one believes he or she can achieve, and then (to) give it their best shot at achieving it. Strength and confidence and in oneself and in one’s goal is absolutely necessary.
One should believe in one’s convictions strongly and then all goals will seem achievable. Music is my first and last goal. That’s what I believe in.
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Hadiqa Kiyani Pictures