With his frequent international tours for concerts singer Shiraz Uppal’s star is certainly on the rise. From just a heartthrob he now has bagged the star status. On the face of global musical industry his tracks are holding top spots on prestigious charts, making him a must-to-have songster in order to come out with a hit album. The multi-talented singer has been causing us to tap our feet for years now. The musician has not only proved his mark worldwide but also keeps on introducing fresh talents. His beats are unique and musical arrangements leave audience mesmerized. His compositions cause an emotional stir and groove on the beats. In an exclusive interview with Sunday Plus Shiraz shared his current and future ventures with us.

You seem to have a pretty busy year so far with giving music for '3 Bahadur', 'Bin Roye' and 'Karachi Se Lahore' to name a few besides touring abroad. Has 2015 been as exciting for you as it has been for your fans?

Alhamdulillah, 2015 has been the best year of my musical journey so far. Each movie was a great experience and even a greater challenge at the same time. In film music, the idea is to come up with the right song for the given situation and I am happy with the feedback that I have not disappointed the audience as well as the respective film directors. I am glad that the film directors gave me full creative freedom and extracted the best out of me. I loved the fact that I introduced some fresh voices from Pakistan besides singing couple of songs myself. Harshdeep Kaur was roped in from Bollywood to sing "Ballay Ballay" with me for the movie "Bin Roye" who's title track has also been composed and sung by me. 

Your last album came out in 2009, I believe. After 'Ankahi', was it a conscious decision to work on OSTs and singles alone or was it by chance?

Indeed it was a total conscious decision after doing four pop albums "Tu Hai Meri", "Tera Te Mera", "Jhuki Jhuki" and "Ankahi" as I was in pressing demand for film music both in Bollywood and Lollywood. This happened after receiving the Indian Mirchi Music Award for being The Best Upcoming Music Director in 2010 on my song "Rabba" from the film "Aashayein". 

Can we expect a Shiraz Uppal album in the future?

I believe I should be doing an album pretty soon InshaAllah. 

You've sung for films and drama serials both. Which medium is more enjoyable?

Both have their own charm. It totally depends upon the composition that I come up with according to the situation. Most of my Drama OSTs become a part of a Bollywood movie eventually :-) so I enjoy both.

Tell us about your recent experience touring with A R Rahman in North America as we speak.

It was a tour of its own kind. I had a chance to perform alongside the best musicians across the globe lead by the maestro A R Rahman. He has always had a large troupe of musicians in his concerts to bring out the sound that he produced in the records but this time he preferred experimenting with only 12 best skilled musicians/singers on stage that took his live setup to the next level. Besides singing my favourite songs in the tour, it was an additional pleasure for me to play the keyboards for his songs as well. It was called "The A R Rahman North America Intimate Tour".  We started off rehearsing in Chennai for 10 days and then did our final rehearsals in Nashville, Tennessee (The city of country music) where we all tried to do our best and achieve the sound that A R had in mind. The tour kicked off from New York, rolling on to New Jersey, Toronto, Connecticut, Virginia, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Jose and finally ended in Seattle. It was an entirely new experience for me being on the road tour like the western style where we travelled on specialized tour buses that the musicians use in the west.

How was it performing with Academy Award winner AR Rahman? You have worked with him earlier for 'Raanjhana' too. Has the camaraderie maintained?

It has always been a great learning experience whenever I have worked with my guru. Had it been the title track of "Raanjhanaa", Alahada from "Lekar Hum Deewana Dil", "Ayila" from "I" or performing with him in concerts. 

You met the legendary 27 time Grammy award winning Quincy Jones, my sources tell me. Where did you meet him and how did it go?

It was in Los Angeles that is the hub of Hollywood celebs. Amongst the other celebs, Quincy was also invited by A R to see the concert. I have always been a great admirer of Quincy Jones for being the producer of all Michael Jackson's hit albums and being a great jazz musician, so it was a dream come true. The best part was when he appreciated my voice, I told him that I am from Pakistan and I was surprised to see his photographic memory when he told me that he came to Pakistan in 1956 and still remembered the name of the hotel he stayed in (Metropole Karachi).    

What are some of the exciting projects in the pipeline?

I am producing two songs for a Bollywood film called "Yeh Laal Rang" directed by Syed Ahmed Afzal who is the director of "Youngistan" as well which had my share of two songs "Daata Di Diwani" and "Mere Khuda". Couple of other projects in pipeline which I will disclose when the right time comes.

Tell us about your tracks for 'Bin Roye' and 'Karachi Se Lahore'.

I produced two songs for "Bin Roye" called "Ballay Ballay" and the title track. In "Karachi se Lahore" the music is under a new entity called "Sur Darvesh" that is a set of three musicians put together (Shiraz Uppal, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza).  This is also a new experience as I have never collaborated as a music director with anyone as yet. We all shared our music expertise to come up with a different sound which I am sure, can be a source of delight for the listeners.