I always felt Coke Studio needed more variety

As Coke Studio completes a decade this year, Shuja Haider not only returns with five compositions featuring Ali Zafar, Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, Aima Baig, Shafqat Amanat Ali and Ahmed Jehanzeb, but also as a feature artist, recreating his original from 2013.

Rohail has his own style of music, which gave Pakistani music a new, more experimental kind of sound. However, I always felt Coke Studio needed more variety as far as music compositions are concerned. I’m not a huge fan of Buddha Bar-style music, so a few songs are good, but I always knew there is more in Pakistan and a lot can be done.

When I see people saying bring Rohail back, it makes me happy to see that his music and vision is still in the hearts of people. I’m pretty sure he is up to something for his fans and I’m looking forward to it. Again, we all need to appreciate each other’s efforts and support people who work really hard for the passion of music.

Our youth needs to understand one thing, though: it’s better to spend time learning and practising rather than waiting for an opportunity which may require extremely professional skills. Musical awareness in Pakistan has become a lot better than it used to be. All the bigwigs in the industry haven’t studied music, but they all learnt it with passion and achieved success with hard work.

 I’ve known Ali Zafar personally, and that kid [Danyal Zafar] is very talented. He plays the guitar, he sings really well and he looks great. I, for one, haven’t heard Ali asking anyone for Danyal. I’ve worked with Coke for two years now and I haven’t seen parchi [favour] going around.

Sajjad Ali belongs to a musical family, his grandfather was a respected musician, his daughter [Zaw Ali] is not just any girl, and even then she had to go through an audition, she didn’t just show up on the sets.

Firstly, Coke Studio is a brand that’s been a true ambassador for Pakistan worldwide. It has made Pakistan very proud and for musicians in particular, when you watch and enjoy the show, just don’t expect a lot.

And generally, I think we’ve experimented a lot, putting across great variety. My track, ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ in the first episode started a conversation. What is often mistaken as a terrorist attack actually means ‘God is great’. I don’t mean to say that Coke Studio aspires to preach but it does paint Pakistan in a very positive light.

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Azhar Hashmi

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