Known for his long list of mesmerising tunes that millions of people jam to — singer Atif Aslam is easily one of the most popular names in Pakistan.
However, he shocked fans with the revelation that singing wasn't his first choice of profession. He wanted to be a cricketer instead.
He recently appeared on AB Talks with Anas Bukhash, a YouTube show that highlights the human aspect of celebrities and influencers, and discussed a side of himself many people might not know.
The interview began with Aslam admitting how Covid forced him to sit down with his family, spend some time with them and be grateful for the blessings they had.
Much to the surprise of his fans, Aslam admitted to being a rather snooty kid who lost a lot of friends because of his own behaviour. He said he didn't have a close relationship with his brothers due to their age difference.
"My childhood wasn't so great with my brothers," he began, explaining how he was the youngest (and by default the most bullied). "But now it's amazing. Now we bond really well," he said, admitting they grew up to be friends.
Initially, it was this loneliness that made him explore a new side of himself that he wasn't previously aware of.
"I was an athlete. I was planning to become a professional cricketer. But I gave up on that because my parents knew it was just a hobby, not something serious. I guess they didn't know how good I was," the Hona Tha Pyaar singer said.
"I gave up on that because they wanted me to study. I was missing out on my studies because my interest was in taking wickets. And then I explored myself [but] didn't have any outlet. I became quiet, I became lonely and then I heard Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with Michael Brooks... and there was no turning back," he said, revealing how the album had a mesmerising effect on him.
"It started calming me, making me pray to God — and when I started praying, it made me look for answers." he said, eventually explaining how that self exploration then led him to realise he was gifted with a beautiful voice.
Aslam holds his father in very high regard. "My father has taught me consistency, how to treat others, and how to be stubborn professionally," he said, crediting his focus and hard work to him. However, it wasn't until his first song Aadat was released that he revealed to his parents that he was a singer.
"I didn't tell my parents about the first song," Aslam laughed. "I said I was going to go with it. After three years, the neighbours came over one day and told my father 'oh your son has a great voice.' My father ignored them, and then said 'wait what are you talking about' and they said 'oh his song is great'. Initially, he didn't like it but after people started praising my parents saying 'he's great', 'a lot of people know him' and 'he's doing well for himself' — I think they came around."