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A talk with AWS

by Ahmed Hayat

What training did you have as a singer?


I had the opportunity of joining NAPA ( National Academy of Performing Arts headed
by Zia Moihuddin), I am also doing a major in orchestration, guitars and piano.
Your music genre?
Its hard to name just one style, my genre is more like a mixture of piano synthesizers and
guitars. It'll take more songs before I myself realize what Im coming up with. I feel no
one is doing a good blend of Synthesizer and guitars. And personally I love that particular
feel, style and sound. On a personal note, what I dont listen to is hip hop, rap, little of
jazz and RnB. I love blues, rock, local pop and some eastern classical players.

How did you get into the music scene?


My brother used to play the keyboards, so one day he taught me a few chords, I
immediately wrote a song called something 'Tarey' I was 8. After that I took up the guitar,
played on and off but was always busy with something or the other. First it was the
education, then job and then marriage. Finally due to Saira Kazmis great faith in my
songs I recorded them and came out of the closet.
The future looks promising, what say you?
The response to the songs is great. The news ranked 'Neend main' on #4 on Pakistani
charts and 'She' magazine ranked it 5th. I dont know any one in either of the
publications so it was pretty flattering. People have been calling in for the audio tracks so
it feels good that people like your music. In short so far so good.
Tell us something about A.W.S (team)?
There is Jaffar Zaidi on the piano and synthesizers, Shehzad Mukhtar on the lead guitar. I

compose, write, sing and play the guitar. At first I was totally solo but the chemistry
between us was so great that now we play together and are a part of AWS.
AWS is an acronym for my name Ahmed Wahab Shah but AWS represents a musical
expression a collaboration of musicians who are brought together under one roof
through me.
How do you get inspired?
Through living my every day life. Sometimes circumstances and events get so
overwhelming that there is only one way for them to get out of your system, through
music. Life is extremely fascinating, troubling, and rewarding at the same time.
Then other musicians music is another fundamental source of inspiration.

How is Commercial Music different from Underground Music?


Oh the most debated question
Commercial is a term applied to anything which has become popular and sells as soon as
the consumer base gets bigger you are termed commercial.
For me its very simple when I make a song I only think about what I am writing and
feeling at the moment , I am not thinking about a target market or any one else or the
fact of who will say what about the music. I am totally into it and so all my songs are
straight from the heart. Then comes the technical part of recording it where I try to
come as close to perfection as I can technically.
Musicians who when they make music think about there target market, or make music for
a target market are commercial the rest are not.
What field would you be in if not for this one?
Brand management.

What do you think about the music industry in Pakistan?


Its at a take off stage. Currently we have 15-20 artists who are making enough money to
sustain them comfortably through music. Economics is very important in life. You cant
have an industry if all you have are a handful of artists. The sudden explosion of new
bands and artists is extremely healthy for the local scene. What will happen is that its like
a sieve, all the clutter and garbage will be left behind and the good ones and serious ones
will remain.

How would do you deal with the attitude changes in people if any since you are a
star now?
Ha-ha. Far from being a star. Yeah it's nice when people come up to me and tell me that
they like my songs. Thats the best part, other wise due to the fact that I dont feel any
different now then I did before I released a video therefore most of the people also
remain the same with me. As it is being a very private person my social life is restricted to
a handful of people who couldnt care less whether I was extremely famous or a star.
Tell us something about your love life?
I am mashAllah a happily married man, so therefore its relative, Im simply singing love
songs :).
Over the years the trend in music has been such that its not just a good voice that
people seek after, you also have to look a certain way and behave a certain way to
get ahead in the business; what are your views about that?
Its true that it helps if you have the entire package, i.e. looks and talent, but for me if
people will only like my music and if Im good looking then my being a musician is
useless. I want them to concentrate on the music being generated. But yes your
presentation and the way you conduct yourself matters
What was the feeling/reason behind Neend main ?

Neend main is a song which is about a very strong presence in your life love , spiritual
etc.
Khuldoon Arif Khan, a young poet wrote the first verse of the song and I wrote the rest.
I composed the song while living in a place called Kehror Pacaa a small village in rural
Punjab.

Tell us something about your video Neend main (formation / why such a cast)?
Najaf Bilgarami heard this song almost 2 years ago while I was singing it strumming my
guitar in the back seat of my car. He loved it then and said if I ever made a video he
wants to make it. It took me 14 months of recording and later re-recorded the 2 tracks
Neend main and Acha laga before I finally said enough.
Saira Kazmi heard my songs and motivated me to record them for her upcoming play
'Kaisey Kahoon' I dont think I would have made a video and all if it wasnt for her. The
people in the video are all members of the cast of the play.
I told Najaf to make a video that people wont mind watching over and over again. With
the resources and time I gave him, I think he did a brilliant job. Also we didnt want to
put in clips of the play other wise the other music channels wouldnt play the video which
actually happened later on but in the beginning we got really good airtime

How was the reaction of your family when you came into this business?
They were all very excited to see me doing something well and different. All were very
encouraging, especially my wife.
How will you distinguish yourself from the rest in this business?
The only way I know is to produce songs which are right from the heart. I dont think I
can distinguish my self on the basis of my looks or appearance etc. Music, really good
music and songs will distinguish AWS from the rest

How do you manage to maintain your personal identity separately from that of
your professional identity (singer)?
My friends call me Ahmed, people at work call me Wahab and people in the music
business know me as AWS.
What about future plans?
First I wanted to see the response to both my songs. Acha laga the 2nd song has just
been released, and now I want to see how the local industry operates and whether
someone like me can be a part of it. So a lot rests on things to come in the future but so
far I plan on releasing just an album.
When will you be releasing your album?
Probably end this year, 2006.

Your goal?
To love what ever it is I do and not be a bitter old man who thinks he should have done
something in his life, a shot or lived life more fully. Otherwise its all about meeting great
people and read fantastic books.
Any message for the nation?
We have a long way to go, lets stop using shortcuts and learn to do the right thing the
right way.

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