Pakistan’s present day pop industry is flooded with a number of one-hit wonders. One example is the rock band Azal who took the whole nation by a storm with their super-hit track “Aisi Taisi”. With the success of that, some even thought Azal had the potential to add to Junoon’s legacy. However, much to their dismay nothing worthwhile came after “Aisi Taisi”. Another rock band Raeth — who amassed a large following with their song “Bhula Do”— met the same fate.
A similar talent is Ali Khan, who set the music industry ablaze in 2006 with his single “Saathiya”, an extremely well-received song that topped the charts for several weeks. After “Saathiya”, Khan receded into the background, busying himself with just a few unplugged performances. However, after a span of almost five years, Khan made a comeback with the video of “Koi Aye Na” and has a long story to tells about what he was up to.
“I produced ‘Saathiya’ overnight, sitting in the studio at my place,” Khan told The Express Tribune. “I never thought the song would be such a hit and the positive response gave me a lot of confidence that I could create my own music.”
Fame was something new for the boy who had just stepped into the music industry and despite all the criticism regarding his very synthetic voice, electronic compositions and copied music video ideas, fans and producers had their eyes fixed on him. That is when Indian record label Tips Music approached Khan.
“They offered me a three-album contract worth INR37.5 million, which included the cost of producing the album plus music videos per album. Apart from that, they even told me that I might get an offer for one of their films as well,” said Khan.
During his visit to Mumbai in 2007, after several meetings, Khan agreed on the offered deal. However, since he wanted to produce the album himself and not with Indian producers, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tips. “I saw Atif Aslams’ talent get wasted when, in my opinion, he produced below-average music for the album Doorie with Indian producers. Therefore, I decided to sign an MOU which would allow me to take time in compiling the album for worldwide release,” said Khan.
Khan corresponded with Tips, sending them songs and was told by the recording company that, right after the publicity and release of Ahmed Jehanzaib’s album, Khan was next in line. But then, the 2008 Mumbai attacks changed the scenario.
“The MOU is only valid for three months and since Tips and I were constantly in touch, I didn’t feel the need to renew the MOU. I didn’t even sign a contract because that would have limited the time I was getting to make songs, but it all got ugly with the Mumbai attacks” said Khan.
He added that people at Tips stopped answering his calls and got back to him after a couple of months, only to tell him that they were helpless and couldn’t help Khan.
“They released Ahmed Jehanzaib’s and Atif Aslam’s albums because those were already in-process and it was relatively easier to defend their case. I believe it was an understandable move by Tips due to the volatile situation at that time, with many Pakistani artists being kicked out.”
It was 2010 when Khan decided to revamp his album. “Finally, I decided that there was no point waiting for any other lucrative deal. So I released the video of ‘Koi Aye Na’ to get back to my audience and, with more than 23,000 hits on my personal YouTube channel in five days, I was overwhelmed by the response.”
Khan, who has also been approached by some foreign labels, is now looking forward to the release of his album.