Saima Mumtaz is a young talented singer who has unique voice. She has the ability to mesmerisethe listeners with her songs. Although she does not belong to any famous singing family but because of her craze for singing and diligent efforts she has achieved a prominent place in music industry. She has a large fan following on radio from where she started her singing career and won the Best Singer Award; which was previously given to Taranum Naz. There are many hit playback songs of TV plays like Takmeel, Khamoosh, Taqdeer, Dil sa Dil Tak to her credit. She has also sung songs for Syed Noor’s films. For a long time she has been working with PTV and has performed in many famous programmes like Sajra Phool, Music Room, Sureeli Sham, Gheet Kaar, Mahmal, Tariq Aziz Show, Phullan Bhari Changair, Samundron Doonga, Raat Gai and the list goes on. In an exclusive interview with Sunday Plus she talks about her career in music industry and her future aims. Following are the excerpts of interview:

How did you come into singing?

I have been singing since my school days. I used to sing national songs and took parts in many Naat competitions. With Grace of Allah I always won accolades whenever I performed at school and college level and got first position in all the Naat competitions. All these successes made me to take singing as my future career. Acknowledging my singing talent and unique voice, my father encouraged me and helped me to pursue it further.

Did you get any formal training for singing?

During my school and college days my father used to give me useful tips and some basic training because he is also good in singing even though he did not sing professionally; afterwards I got training from many renowned singers and musicians like Akhtar Hussain Akhian, Qadar Shugan, M. Ashraf, M.Arshad, Mujahid Hussain, Wazir Afzal, Wajahat Attre and a few others. To hone my skills further these days I am getting training from music director Mohsin Raza.

How many genre of music you can sing?

I am good in Pakistani folk music, pop, gazal singing and light classical songs. I have also sung many songs in different Pakistani languages.

Which genre of singing is close to your heart?

I love to sing ghazals and I have sung almost all the famous ghazals of Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Faraz, JavaidQurashi, Wasi Shah, Nasir Kazmi, Daagh Dehlvi and many others. Let me add that in near future my album of ghazals is being released. Mohsin Raza is the music director of this album.

What are you future aims?

I want to be one of the best playback singers and for that I am working hard. Music is my passion and I want to be a famous singer like Micheal Jackson. One learns throughout his life so I will keep on learning to get perfection in my career.

Who are your favourite singers?

I love those people who spend their lives for music and have become synonym of music. Mahdi Hassan, Madam Noor Jahan, Lata Jee and Asha Bhosle are my favourite singers.

What do you see in a good singer?

A good singer always sings from his heart. They learn and practice music for years. These days many singers many have got popularity but in fact they do not know the basics of music.

Technology has made singing and music composition easy. What do you say about this new development?

Yes technology has revolutionised the music industry and it has helped even the great musicians to compose good music. But one thing is sure that nothing can take the place of original music or orchestra. People who have spent their lives in learning and practicing music have special sense and talent for music which no technology can take place.

How do you see the present situation of music industry in Pakistan?

The present situation of Pakistan music industry is not very encouraging. The survival of a real artiste has become very difficult. Mostly those artistes are getting projection who are already affluent, they invest more and earn most. On the other hand, those artistes who have dedicated their lives for singing do not get promotion because they have little resources and money to invest. The role of our government and concerned authorities is not supportive. There is no encouragement for the young talent. There was a time when PTV use to telecast music programmes which it no longer does. But the present age of rating and glamour has devoured the talented artistes.

What are the occupational hazards of being an artiste?

Artistes are not paid well in Pakistan which makes difficult for them to fulfil their basic needs. To meet their expenditures they often have do something other than their profession which of course affects their work. There used to be a time when public performances were common and artistes were paid handsome amount of money but the deteriorating law and order situation has decreased not only the number of shows but also brought down the earning of singers. Even PTV pays well to the visiting artistes but is insensitive towards the permanent artistes affiliated to this organisation.

What are your suggestions for the prevailing situation? How can we get rid of it?

The government should promote the young talent and should create the opportunities for the old ones also. PTV is a very big organisation which is not run by any single owner like a private TV channel. It should not flow with the tide of rating rather it should play its role to create balance in old and new values. PTV is a state run channel and should not be in the rat race of ratings. It should play its national role as is done by BBC in UK. Artistes are the ambassadors of a country and government should support them and send them on tours to different countries as they can present soft image of Pakistan everywhere in the world.