PMR. To begin with: a little about yourself?
Zahra Haider: Completed schooling (O and A levels) from Lahore Grammar (Defence) where she was the President of the Music Society and participated in the All Pakistan Music Conference (2nd best vocalist award). Moving on she did her undergraduate degree, B.Sc. (Honors) in Economics from LUMS and actively participated in all endeavors by the LUMS Music Society. After graduating from LUMS with high merit, she went to England for her Masters degree (MSc) in Marketing and Strategic Management at the University of Warwick. On graduating from Warwick, Zahra worked for Citibank and later for Microsoft. Zahra has been singing since she was in pre-school and received basic training during her school years.
Hassan Haider: Completed schooling (O and A levels) from Aitchison College Lahore where he actively participated in sports and various extra-curricular activities including vocal performances. He was also a founding member of the Music Society at Aitchison. Moving on, Hassan went to the United States and completed his undergraduate degree, B.Sc. (Honors) in Finance and Economics from the Pennsylvania State University with distinction. He actively performed at shows organized by the South Asian Students Association at the University. Upon graduating from Penn State University, Hassan worked with KPMG for a year in New York City. Hassan did not receive any formal music training and is three years younger to Zahra.
PMR. How did you two step into music? Have things been always easy come with you or you’ve faced obstruction too like majority of the artists?
Zahra’s love with music started since her early school days as she actively participated in musical competitions and events. She was also the President of the music society in school. She even represented her school in the All Pakistan Music Conference and won the second award in the light vocal category. She was always been extremely inclined towards music to begin with.
Hassan, on the other hand, was a late comer into the world of music. He was discovered after an unexpected but pleasantly surprising vocal performance during a regular ‘sing-song’ get-together at home. He was immensely encouraged by his family to seriously pursue singing after that and so Hassan started pursuing music actively during his later school years at Aitchison through performances at various talent shows.
Like most others, we certainly have faced a number of challenges and obstacles with this effort so far, but luckily the support from our parents who have always helped us at every point in our lives made things comparatively easier for us. We cannot thank them enough.
PMR. How does the Duo describe themselves as musicians? And how do you see the uprightness of Pakistani musicians in yourself and others?
Both of us are vocalists who have the passion to make music which appeals to our heart and soul. The music we produce has to be strong in terms of melody and lyrics. Pakistani musicians have made the nation proud at numerous international forums and have earned various accolades. Names such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Junoon spring to mind immediately who have managed to put Pakistan on the International forum. Musicians have also managed to singlehandedly raise awareness for various social issues and current stars such as Abrar and Shahzad Roy continue to do so. Thus every Pakistani should be proud of them and we too are dedicated to such causes and would be delighted to honor our country worldwide.
PMR. When it comes to music, who hits the top most ranking in the list of inspirations?
That is a rather difficult question. Pakistan boasts of musicians such as Shafqat Amanat Ali and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan who are certainly any musician’s role models. There are the likes of Abida Parveen and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who have stolen the imagination of the global audience. Thus it is extremely hard to pinpoint but Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Muhammad Rafi for sure.
PMR. What genre are you covering in your music and what is the basic idea behind your music?
The duo basically caters to the pop genre and is currently trying to break into the Pakistani Musical Scene. They are extremely inclined towards experimenting with music in general and would not like to be tagged by any singular genre.
PMR. When you are going to release your debut album? I and your fans would like to know about the content of the CD and the entertainment it would offer to the people?
The album will be released shortly. There are eleven songs in total. There are seven duets and four solos. Two of the solos have been sung by Zahra and the other two by Hassan. The album is fairly diverse in its content as it has pop numbers as well as mellow soulful music. So there is a bit of everything for everyone ranging from bhangra to slow melodies to euphoric compositions to rock to luddi to sufi music etc. We hope to reach diverse tastes with this effort and be as versatile as we can.
PMR. How fair is the use of auto-tuner on upcoming singers, since now they are addicted to it. But the bad part, it prevents them badly from singing LIVE?
The use of auto tuners in lead vocals gives a very artificial touch to the sound of the original vocal. In addition to this, the concept of the auto tuner undermines the seriousness of training that is required of a singer. The use of auto tuners should be limited to the extent of creating a specified effect in the song. Personally we believe that a true musician should always sound good live.
PMR. How has your experience with media been so far?
The experience has been great so far. It has given us a lot of exposure and recognition in the industry. We have interacted with people from different mediums be it radio, or television. Every encounter has been a great learning experience.
PMR. What do you think about our site www.pakmediarevolution.net and the exposure we give to the talent around the world?
We are indeed indebted and thankful to you for the wonderful support you have given us. We hope that you continue to carry on the good work and we would be more than delighted to regularly contribute to your website. It is a wonderful forum for young musicians to launch themselves and the support that has been extended to the upcoming talent is indeed commendable.