Zoe Viccaji Speaking at IGNITE at IoBM

PMR:  In which part of the world were you born and in which year?

A:  In Pakistan- Kharian to be exact! 1983

 PMR:  Define ‘Zoe Viccaji‘ ?

A: A specimen of the fidgety category. Can’t stay in one place for too long and wants to experience everything in one lifetime.

 PMR: What does the word ‘Zoe’ means? And from which language does it come from?

A: Its Greek, and means life.

 PMR: What is your qualification?

I’m a Fine Art and Sociology Major, with a minor in theatre.

 PMR: What is music for you?

A: The most powerful medium of expression. 

 PMR: What is the genre of your music?

A: I don’t think I can put myself into any particular genre. All my singles as you’ll see this year will be all over the place!

 PMR: You went abroad for music/singing classes. How was the experience?

A:  It was a work shop which brought together aspiring singers from all over the world to come under one roof to share what they were passionate about. There were several components over the six weeks ranging from vocal technique to stage performance and even acting. One of the best choices I’ve made! It’s really given me that boost I needed to embark on a career dedicated to music. 

 PMR: First step on ‘Coke Studio 3’, then season 4. How will you differentiate the two? How did Rohail Hayat approach you?

A: It just keeps getting better- In the first season, I was just getting the hang of things, and by the forth I felt like I really had a huge part to play in the music. Season 5 has been the best, and I think it’s going to supersede expectations. Rohail had seen me performing in Mama Mia- the musical and I had been recommended by a few people as well… I think the overlapping of so many references led to him calling me in to be a part of the house band. There wasn’t really any audition.

 PMR: In the 4th season of Coke Studio you have collaborated with Atif Hussain Samraat. What made you collaborate with him?

A: When Atif Hussain first came in to sing at Coke Studio, I was very drawn to his voice and style of singing, as well as the song. One evening while Rohail and I were going over the tracks, I started humming and singing with the song, and it was decided there and then that I needed to be a part of the track.

 PMR: If you weren’t approached for Coke-Studio, do you think that you would have been able to capture the audience?

A. I’d like to think so. One never knows how things would have panned out if another path had been taken.

 PMR: How supportive have the ‘House Band’ members been? Do you wish to be a permanent part of the ‘House Band’?

A: We’ve always been like a large family when we come together for a season, so the support is always there. We’re always rooting for one another. I’m not quite sure about the ‘permanence’ aspect. I believe a time will come to move on and allow others to have a chance.

PMR: Coke Studio season 5 is in its recording phase? What are your expectations? Are you going to be a part of the lead act ?

A.  The recording phase just ended, and I feel very strongly that this season is going to be sensational. I am spending this year getting better acquainted with my roots, the eastern tradition of music,  and developing singles in Urdu. My game plan is to come in next season with originals.

 PMR: ‘Strings’ and ‘Levis’. How adventurous was this for you?

A: The most unexpected and exciting little trip! Levis had asked me to choose any song of my liking and redo in which ever way I liked. One thing led to another and before long I was on the beach with Strings 🙂 

PMR: ‘Strings’ an internationally recognized band of Pakistan, how influential has it been for you?

A: I’ve always liked their compositions and melodies. I wouldn’t say they’ve influenced my music, but I do respect them very much as my seniors.    

 PMR: ‘Mera Bichra Yaar’ was on the charts for a very long period of time. What was the reason ?

A: I think the composition itself by Strings is very strong, and then the acapella (only vocal – no instruments) treatment just brought out the feeling a lot more. From the emails and comments I get from people, it appears to have struck them very deeply. I also felt a lot for the song when I was working on it, and I think that emotional connection has been communicated, which ultimately makes it successful. Acapella is also something that is new to this region, and I think listeners appreciate something different.

 PMR: Coming towards daily routine, What is the one thing that you usually do after getting free from work?

A: I don’t know if I ever really get free from work! When you choose to go freelance and do music full time, it enters every avenue of your life till your head hits the pillow at whatever unearthly hour of the morning or night. I guess the question, rather, should be ‘what do I do when I’m not working on music’- I like sitting around with friends and having good conversations. I also like a little alone-time after a long day of work, and come home and watch a movie or read.

 PMR: How do you spend your leisure time?

A: I’m generally a very outdoorsy person. I love long distance running, and sports. Sundays are beach days!

 PMR: How do you interact with your fans? Are you on any social media website?

A. Face book is where there’s the most interaction. I’m also on twitter, myspace and soundcloud.

 PMR: You did your first solo act back in JUNE 2011. What were your feelings at that time? How was the response?

A. Even though I’ve done a lot of concerts, I was nervous as hell for this one, because all eyes were on me. The response was excellent! We had a full house with more at the gate, and people seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

 PMR: When will you release your album? Would their be any surprises for your fans?

A. The online world and marketing has changed the way we put out music. The album is in recording at the moment, but Shahi Hasan and I are planning to release the songs one by one with their videos.

 PMR: In Pakistan, we lack record labels. We have few, but they are owned by different music channels and it is observed that there terms & conditions are not comfortable for the artist. What do you have to say about this ?

A: I just stick to doing everything privately and on my own terms, and with people who I know and trust in the industry. Things are too up in the air here for me to trust the system.

 PMR: In Pakistan, musicians are not getting shows which is frustrating for them.  How do you see the whole situation.

A: I think the situation is already getting better. There are more and more shows happening. If I’m not getting shows, I arrange my own. Its obviously much more work, but often more rewarding in the end. But that’s just my situation as a solo artist; it might be very different for other musicians and bands.

 PMR: If you are offered as a play-back vocalist in Bollywood, what would be your response?

A: Depends on which movie the song is for, and who I’m collaborating with on the music front. I’m always up for new experiences.  

 PMR: What are your future projects? Any upcoming releases?

A: We just recorded a single and shot the video for it on film.  It’ll be out at the end of this month (Feb)!!!

 PMR: If you weren’t a singer, What would you be doing then?

A: I think I’d be acting, and painting.

 PMR: What is your biggest achievement so far?

A. Being able to take music on as a full time venture- fingers crossed because this is just the beginning 🙂

 PMR: Your biggest regret in life?

A: Not having learnt the piano when I was younger.

 PMR: Your most favorite movie?

A: It would be a tie between ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Forest Gump’

 PMR: Your most favorite series?

A: Game of Thrones

PMR: Your most favorite song?

A: Can I change that to favourite album? Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon.’

 PMR: Your most favorite food?

A: Haleem for sure

 PMR: Your most favorite brand?

A: I’m not a very brand oriented person.

PMR: What’s your motto/advice you live by?

A: Good thoughts, good words and good deeds.

 PMR: With all the other female artists out there, what sets you apart?

A: I’m just different 🙂

 PMR: What advice/ suggestions you want to give to the upcoming artists especially females?

A: Do what you love doing, not what others think you should be doing.

 PMR: Your comments about PMR (www.pakmediarevolution.net)?

A: Great place to stay in the loop with what’s going on, on the music scene. 

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