One fine day, this picture leaked. It was one of those ordinary days when daily news drips of poison and pain. But then came a picture that brought with it… a dash of hope and some excitement. The picture was of Strings men Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia with Atif Aslam. It first surfaced on Strings’s official website (www.stringsonline.net). Soon it turned into one of those uncontrollable cyberspace stories that gets picked up almost instantly. And speculation brews with each passing day. The news cycle runs on its own. And that of course is because of the collective power of Atif Aslam and Strings.
Both Atif Aslam and Strings have confirmed the newsbyte. Something is definitely cooking in the studio.
“Bilal (Maqsood) suggested the idea of doing a song. We met up later and had four meetings, we came to some solid conclusions and it began from there,” says Atif .
“Something is definitely cooking. We are recording a song together and soon we’ll be hitting the studios. The structure of the song and the lyrics have been finalized. It’s quite uplifting. All of us are really excited about it. This song has nothing to do with United for Pop. It’s our own little effort towards something positive. So, I guess, you just have to wait for that…” trailed off Bilal Maqsood of Strings.
Recording together has brought the young Atif and the pros of pop Strings closer.
“Atif is a great guy. He’s down to earth and easy to work with. He is young but there is no doubt that he is hugely talented. He is successful yet grounded and a lot of fun,” says Faisal Kapadia about Atif.
And Atif is all praises for Strings just the same.
“They are what… 13 year older to me, maybe? I grew up with the sound of Strings. I’ve sung their songs at schools and college competitions. I am humbled that I’m working with them. It’s been an interesting process.”
The tune that is still going through the creative process of recording has input from both artists.
According to Atif, the lyrics are written by Bilal Maqsood whereas his interest was more towards song structure.
“We worked together on some melodies and structure because I am really interested in that part. The composition towards the end, its direction was mine whereas the rest is Bilal,” says Atif candidly.
Atif Aslam is a pop chameleon. He can roll with commercial Bollywood (remember those days of ‘Aadat’ remixes and ‘Lamhey’) and in the same vein, he can sing with Ustad Riyaz Ali Khan with vigour, respect and a doze of infectious youth as seen and heard on Coke Studio.
They call him the star of this decade. But Atif Aslam’s latest fixation is neither being a star nor looking back. Between Olper’s raging hit commercial and researching how an actual music industry should function and what it entails in the local scene, Atif is also excited about working with Strings. This isn’t the first collaboration for him. He sang with Hadiqa Kiyani the tune, ‘Meray Pass Pass’ for a television series. And it was absolutely brilliant. And after the experience of Coke Studio, this should be a walk in the park for the boy who has become such an aadat for us in the past few years.
On the other hand, if Atif is pop chameleon of this decade, Strings have been doing it for almost two decades with five solid records to their credit. With gems like ‘Sar Kiye’ ‘Aaj Din Bhar’, ‘Jab Say Mein Ne’, ‘Duur’, ‘Anjaane’, ‘Khirki’, ‘Na Jaane Kyun’ among countless others – this is one band that can’t be written off even if they take wee bit longer in releasing a full-fledged record. Their collaboration with Indian act Euphoria, ‘Jeet Lo Dil’, in 2004 was also a positive musical blast from the duo. This one is more personal because it brings together two generations that define contemporary music in Pakistan.
With their last record Koi Aanay Wala Hai, Strings roped in John Abraham for the video. But John Abraham tied up with Sony Music via his own company and was more than just a model in the video. It was the first music product John’s company had put out. That’s Strings for you. And their talent that hasn’t ceased yet.
Now imagine the power of these three men together. We do hope though that Strings and Atif release this tune as an official single, as is the norm with collaborations around the world. And that a video is in the works soon.