LAHORE-Influenced as much by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as Jeff Buckley, Atif Aslam’s primary mission is to entertain, and uplift spirits of his audience by making them reach a state of optimism by the end of his every show.

It’s this diversity that defines the decade plus years that Atif has added to the genres, affording fans all over the world a listening opportunity unlike any other. He has rocked in some 100 cities across 30 countries for over two million people.

Every single song that his vocals have embraced ever since the unforgettable, ‘Aadat’, has that distinct choice elements that range from rock, Sufi, filmy, and a seal of approval with a sound that is both now and timeless.

Atif recently spoke about his childhood, career and success at the web show Speak Your Heart with Samina Peerzada, Pakistan’s first digital talk show, which offers more than just a casual chat with a celebrity. Speaking about his achievements, Atif said: “I’ve heard legends and maestros praise my voice. It’s overwhelming. I’m a no body who shouldn’t be at the receiving end of the comments and I’m extremely humbled.”

Speaking about his childhood, the Dil Diyaan Gallan crooner said: “Our parents were very prim and proper. But we always got one toy every day. That was a ritual. The money didn’t really matter.”

Growing up, Aslam was passionate of cricket. He admitted there was a time when he didn’t really like music. “There was no music at all during my childhood,” he explained.  “The first time we heard music was when my eldest brother bought a tape recorder. Even then, only he was allowed to touch it. But in our house, we listened to legends such as Muhammad Rafi, Mehdi Hasan, Noor Jehan, Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi. But even this only happened when the brothers were home alone.”

As he aged, Aslam said he became stubborn. He also told Peerzada that around the same time, he got so invested in cricket, he started lacking in his studies. “I started ditching my classes for some cricket trials that might be happening anytime soon. And I did that for quite some time,” the singer said. “After a while, my father came found out and that’s when I gave cricket up.”

During college, Aslam happened to participate in a music competition and came out as the winner. However, even then, he was unaware of his musical prowess. “My father was transferred from Lahore to Rawalpindi and our house was empty. I remember I sang with all my might. I became scared of my own voice,” he continued. “That’s when I realised I have a gift.”

After winning the competition, his interest in music grew. Aslam said his brother once brought his friend’s guitar home. That guitar became the Piya Re hit make’s life.

Talking about how Jal was established, Aslam said that it was when a student senior to him proposed that the duo should work together. The Bol actor accepted and so, the band came into being. Their first performance was at a McDonald’s!

He continued: “My brother was managing Jal, not as a favour but because he was working in marketing. So when we started attracting audiences and people started calling us for shows, I suggested that since my brother was already managing us, he should do this full-time and work for us. A monetary discussion never happened.”

Soon, fellow Jal member Gohar Mumtaz suggested his brother could manage the band as well, which ticked Aslam off. “It came down to who was earning more money and that annoyed me. Gohar then went on to ditch me while we were rehearsing for a concert to represent the band on a channel – a band both of us was part of – singlehandedly,” he concluded.