Pakistan's electronic music scene is finally breaking into the mainstream but did you know about this 18-year-old EDM artist who has some seriously impressive content out there?
Abdullah Siddiqui is an electronic artist/singer who has a number of releases to his name. We're sure if you tune into CityFM89 in the mornings, you might have heard his single, 'Telescope Heart' which has around 60K plays on SoundCloud (seriously underrated); a defining moment in his short career so far has been recording 'Resistance' with Nescafe Basement, which has more than 3 million views on YouTube.
Talking to Images about his musical journey, he shared, "I’ve always been involved with music. I’ve loved singing from a really young age and I learned to play the guitar when I was nine. At 11, I started to produce music electronically and since then, I’ve been working on developing my sound as an artist. I got into the industry around three years ago and I’ve been really lucky ever since."
So what's the creative process for an artist like him?
"I wish I knew the answer to that!" said Abdullah. "Honestly, I’ve always rejected the romanticised idea of inspiration being a lightning flash moment but I’ve begun to realize more recently that that really is how it is for the most part."
"Privately, I do make all kinds of music but I choose to release the more electronic material because that’s the market that I feel not many people are occupying right now.
He revealed, "I’ve experienced long stretches of time where I’ve not had a single musical idea, but then have been instantaneously struck with an entire chorus. It’s all quite random and erratic. I tend to write in a stream of consciousness style, where I’ll get an idea and then allow myself to write whatever comes to mind in the instant.
Often I can’t rationalise what I’m writing about at the moment, but when I read it back it makes perfect sense in the context of what I’m feeling."
Electronic music is still relatively new to the Pakistani music industry and the audiences are warming up to it. While Abdullah is doing wonders in this particular genre, he says he's "always open to trying new things".
"Privately, I do make all kinds of music but I choose to release the more electronic material because that’s the market that I feel not many people are occupying right now. I did a song with Ali Suhail not long ago which had a more rock-based sound. I’ve also been working on a project which uses more exotic instrumentation like kalimbas and hang drums."
Siddiqui mentioned he would "possibly" pursue music as a professional career, saying, "It really depends on whether this industry can grow fast enough."
"As it is now, I don’t think most independent musicians can maintain a real career in music unless they have a widely marketable sound. But I do hope that in a few years there are enough platforms and audiences for artists like me to sustain themselves with music alone."
Abdullah got his big break after being featured in Nescafe Basement and working under Zulfiqar 'Xulfi' Jabbar Khan's wing.
"It was and will always be a major highlight for me. It was infinitely rewarding to see people working tirelessly and applying all their talents to help present my work in a capacity that I could never have imagined.
Not to mention, working with Xulfi was a dream; it was so refreshing to witness his passion for music in an industry where many people become jaded. The actual process itself was tiring for everyone involved but it was beyond worth it, and I’ll always be grateful for that experience."
We inquired about whether he plans on signing with a record label or flying solo, Siddiqui said, "Is there such a thing as a Pakistani record label? I don’t know. If there are any label executives reading this, call me!"
"I was signed with Forever South for a while, who were tremendously helpful but I don’t think they were a record label exactly. For now, I work alone, but if any labels come along to get this industry back on track, I’d have no reservations about signing on."
Siddiqui was nominated for the Lux Style Awards twice, for Best Emerging Talent in Music, which he says he did not see coming.
"Both times, it took me days to believe it had actually happened. I think award shows are incredibly important because they incentivise the creation of new and exciting work."
He revealed, "I’ve experienced long stretches of time where I’ve not had a single musical idea, but then have been instantaneously struck with an entire chorus. It’s all quite random and erratic.
He admits though that the LSAs could use an overhaul as a platform.
"I enjoy and respect the LSAs, and I do believe they are mostly on the right track, but they need some restructuring. It doesn’t make sense to have any of the music categories up for public voting because there simply aren’t enough voters who are consuming all kinds of music, so the winners are usually just those with the most recognisable names.
I also think it wasn’t a great decision to remove the categories for Album of the Year and Best Music Video Director because albums and music videos are both dying artforms in desperate need of revival."
About his future plans, he disclosed, "I hope to release some more music this summer. I have quite a few tracks completed and I’m just refining them. I’m also working on a few collaborations at the moment that will be out this year. Eventually, I want to work towards releasing an EP or an album sometime in the near future."
"I just got done with my A-levels. I’m off to college after this. In terms of creative pursuits, I do want to explore some of my other interests like writing and filmmaking. I’d love to direct my own music video if I got the chance."
Siddiqui's new song, Terrified comes out on August, 9th. We'll definitely be keeping an ear out for this musical genius!