It is very rare that someone comes along with just the right amount of personality, the right amount of talent, the charisma, the style, the courage and most importantly the passion to excel at something.
When all these rare qualities come together in any individual, he creates history! For any artist, the connection with his audience is the ultimate aim of his art form. If the success of any artist is measured by his ability to captivate his audience, Atif Aslam stands far above everyone else in the industry.
“Music goes beyond language & people like it even though they don’t understand the lyrics. It connects everyone, everywhere around the globe”.
– Atif Aslam
On 12th March, 1983 Atif Aslam was born in Wazirabad, Pakistan. He soon moved back to Lahore (his hometown) and started his education.
Even though Atif always admired Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Abida Parveen. his first love was for cricket and he dreamed of representing his nation as a cricketer. He was a fast bowler and his passion for the sport saw him being selected for the national Under 19 cricket team trials. At one stage Atif was training to represent his country in the U-19 World Cup.
Spurred on by his friends he began to sing in public during his days in college and recorded his first single “Aadat” ” (“Habit” in English) as part of a band “Jal”. Within a matter of weeks “Aadat” went viral online and soon he became a household name on the basis of that one song. However, the band soon went their separate ways even before the release of their first album.
On 17th July, 2004 the first album of Atif Aslam titled “Jalpari” was released. The album featured various smash hit tracks such as “Bheegi Yaadein”, “Ehsaas”, “Mahi Ve”, “Ankhon Sey” along with the title track “Jalpari” that charted across countries in the subcontinent. Atif’s unique vocal capabilities and powerful renditions elevated him to stardom within weeks. The album had become the youth anthem of Pakistan.
Atif Aslam’s soulful voice crossed the Pakistani border and reached India when Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt called Atif Aslam to seek his consent to put “Woh Lamhey” as a song in the soundrack of his new motion picture, Zeher.
The song “Wo Lamhey” was a commercial version of the song “Bheegi Yaadein” from Atif’s first album. The movie came out in “2005” and Atif’s voice became an instant hit with the Indian audience.
Following Jal Pari, he released two more successful solo albums, Doorie and Meri Kahani. Then, within a span of three years he recorded over two dozen chartbusters for top Bollywood films. Aslam’s work on the movie Race, was nominated for the Filmfare Award. He continues to work on top productions and his growing popularity has seen filmmakers create special music videos to promote their films with his songs.
In 2009, Atif Aslam made his presence felt in the show “Coke Studio” produced by Rohail Hyatt. Coke Studio showcases live performances of artists from diverse genres as they come together to present a unique blend of fusion music. Atif Aslam remained a big hit with Coke Studio fans as he gave electrifying performances experimenting with different musical avenues.
Over the course of the seasons, Atif Aslam performed the various tracks including Jalpari, Kinara, Wasta Pyaar Da, Mai Ne, Humain Kya Hua, Taj-Dare-Haram, Kadi Aao Ni’.
In 2010, Atif also diversified as an actor and took up the challenge to star in a movie called “BOL”. The movie is directed by acclaimed Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor and provides a deep moralistic insight into the most sensitive issues prevailing in Pakistan. Atif Aslam sang two songs for the movie. The first song was called “Kaho (Aj Bol Do)” and the second song was called “Hona Tha Pyaar” that was composed by Atif Aslam himself. Both songs received a great response.
Atif has three songs from his first album (Yakeen, Ehsaas & Aadat) featured in the American independent film Man Push Cart which has won international awards and was praised by critics. He then sang two songs in Mira Nair’s film The Reluctant Fundamentalist. His two other songs ‘Doorie’ and ‘Maula’ from his second album Doorie were picked up in 2010 for the soundtrack of the Hindi version of the Mexican film La mujer de mi hermano, directed by Ricardo de Montreuil.
The musical collaboration of Atif Aslam and Lanny Cordola made waves with patriotic and inspiring tracks titled “Pakistan I have a dream” & “We Will Rise Again”. Speaking about Atif Aslam, Lanny Cordola comments:
“I couldn’t be more grateful to him. As a friend and as a musician…We have these long conversations about history and music and when we played together we had great chemistry.”
In the limelight
Due to his ever increasing popularity Atif went on various tours around the globe taking his music to the world. He began to tour internationally with performances in the US, Canada, New York & UK. He became the third Pakistan actor ever to perform in the prestigious “Royal Albert Hall” in London alongside Jay Sean. At the time, he was the youngest among all the Pakistani actors who performed before him and had spent the least amount of time in the industry.
On 22 April 2012 Atif Aslam became the first man from his country to perform in London’s O2 Arena a concert spectacular to promote love, peace and unity among India and Pakistan. Atif performed for four hours.
In 2012 he was invited for three concerts at the World Trade Centre in Dubai. In December 2012, Atif was named among top performers of Dubai for 2012 alongside Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Il Divo, Gotye, Evanescence and Swedish House Mafia.
A few weeks earlier, Atif Aslam became the first man from Asia, and the second artist after Bryan Adams, to be permitted to perform inside the Dashrath Rangasla National Football Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal. With 25,000 in the crowd, this concert was a great success.
Atif said about the popularity of his music around globe that:
“The language barrier did not matter. And that’s the thing about music, it goes beyond language. Like a Brazilian guy comes up to me and says I love your songs. There’s a massive fan-base on Facebook, 17 million fans, so imagine the circulation. And so, my music is introduced to people of different nationalities and they like it even though they don’t understand the lyrics. Music connects everyone, everywhere”.
In April 2013, Atif performed for the first time at the LG Arena in Birmingham following which he became the first artist from Asia to perform twice at London’s O2 Arena. In August 2015, Atif performed at London’s O2 Arena for the third time, in which his fans witnessed him perform Tajdar-e-Haram from Coke Studio (Pakistan) Season 8 for the first time ever.
To date, Atif Aslm has performed in more than 15 countries across the globe and captivated the heart of millions. For this incredible feat, Atif Aslam became the youngest Pakistani to be bestowed upon with the highest civil honor “Tamgha-e-Imtiaz” (Star of Excellence) from the Government in 2008.
In a nutshell
In a decade, Atif Aslam has clearly become “The biggest superstar of Pakistan”. His juvenile and humble personality has struck a chord with the youth of South Asia on a very personal level. An artist that has reached the pinnacle of success continues to amaze the world by keeping his feet grounded.
Atif said about his more than a decade long music journey:
“You’ve done the touring, you’ve played in stadiums and around the world, and you’ve met fans from diverse countries, you’ve given the interviews, but you never want to fall in a rut. So, you look to challenge yourself like, ‘okay, the last song was good but what’s next’. Self-satisfaction is essential; you can’t always deliver a hit. But in the end, it’s about loving music.”
On stage, Atif Aslam is a Rock star, he is larger than life but he doesn’t bring back that part of his performance back with him off stage. Beyond all the spotlights and the superstardom, Atif continues to live a simple life with a simple personality. Along with his powerful vocals and soulful renditions, Atif is known for his sense of humor and the ability to spread positive energy all around him.
It is often said about Atif Aslam that “He came, he sang & he conquered” but it has not been that simple. The success is backed by consistent hard work, dedication and the ability to create music with fearless confidence! Combine all that with the most humble superstar ever and only one name comes to mind, Atif Aslam!