Having hits to his name such as ‘Kabhi’ which remained in the Top 10 charts of the largest music streaming service of Pakistan, Patari for five weeks, and ‘Tu Hi Hai’ which crossed 500 downloads and received more than 1.2 million views on social media, Talha Nadeem is a young and passionate pop singer of Pakistan. This Karachiite who is apparently a singer only, is a man of multiple talents. He not only sings, but at a very young age, has developed the ability to write and compose songs as well. Hailing from a literary family of Karachi, Talha Nadeem attained an MBA degree but due to his passion for music that reigned supreme over every other thing for him, he joined the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) for learning music and started his career professionally in the year 2011. His love for music earned him appreciation for his songs from leading music channels including ARY Musik, Play TV and 8XM and the largest independent music platform of India, songdew.com. I asked a few questions from this young singer who has performed in more than thirty concerts. The questions are as follows along with their answers.
How is it like being a singer in Pakistan? How do you deal with people who criticize you?
Being a singer or a musician is quite different and difficult in many ways in our society. Our social and cultural values sometimes act as hurdles and restrict people interested in music from pursuing it or being open about it. Since childhood, I have observed that music has never been given any importance in our society and nobody wants you to do it professionally. That is why a lot of talented people quit this field. I have also faced a lot of criticism but have always taken it positively and made it act as something that has opened horizons for more improvement and hard-work. You cannot let yourself be easily disheartened if you want to achieve something in life. Just focus on your goal and keep working.
Since you are into pop music, which pop singers from Pakistan have acted as an inspiration for you?
In Pakistan, we have a long list of pop music legends who made their mark internationally. Vital Signs was one of my initial inspirations. Junaid Jamshed's voice inspired me so much that since childhood I have been singing his songs. Najam Sheraz, Ali Azmat, Sajjad Ali and Strings have also sung great songs which everyone enjoys listening to and they have acted as ideals for many pop singers.
When you produce a song, do you focus on the demands of the audience or do you produce what is in your heart?
I always produce music which comes out of my heart. Talking about the original music I have produced so far, I never follow trends. For example, in the recent past, there was a trend of releasing bhangra/dance tracks and everyone was trying hands at it. I like to be less commercial and I do not want to be a seasonal singer who produces songs for specific occasions. You do not need a song for every situation or incident. Patriotic songs for national days are fine, but producing a song for a social media incident is not my thing. As far as the audience’s demands are concerned, I would like to do experimentation in it in future.
You also write and compose your songs. What do you enjoy the most among singing, writing and composing?
I enjoy strumming the guitar and always make songs while playing multiple chords. Finding the right chord is my favourite part. I love trying different rhythms and strumming patterns on guitar. Writing and composing are two very different parts of making a song. After writing down the lyrics, you can produce different compositions with the same wordings depending on your mood.
Which of these do you think is the most difficult task?
Song-writing is the most difficult part for me, as I do not consider myself a poet or a writer. But I feel that a singer should write his own songs because when you write a song yourself, you get more attached to it and you give your 100% while singing that song. Playback singing is a different thing. My song-writing skills are whimsical. Lyrics can come to me during any part of the day whether I am in the gym, driving or playing guitar. I write down the lines in my diary after memorizing them and try to complete them in the form of a song.
Have you been handling all these tasks alone or do you have a band?
I made a band twice actually. My music career started as a vocalist of a rock band, but every member had different priorities. Therefore, we could not go further as a band. Being a solo artist gives me a bigger identity and a responsibility for all my actions as well as the freedom to do what my heart says. However, I have a band for live shows and I do rehearsals with them for gigs and concerts.
Tell us something about your first experience of a concert.
My first experience on stage became a memorable one indeed. I had participated in several debating and Naat competitions at school and college, but I gave my first musical performance in the year 2007 at DHA College. I performed a song for the first time on a karaoke track and also exhibited great energy which I do not know how I got at that moment. Everyone appreciated me. Even the principal demanded me to sing one more time.
Do you wish to launch an album of yours?
Yes, my first album is almost complete. I have released nine original tracks and two are in the making. Ten songs have been written by myself. For the second album, I have decided to record the whole album without releasing singles and launch it under a record label.
With the revival of our film industry, do you have any plans to sing for the upcoming Pakistani movies?
I am always open to new opportunities and it is great to see our film industry flourishing. I have sent my work to the music directors of our industry and they have shown keen interest in my singing. If I get a chance to do playback singing, I will work hard to prove myself.
How far do you wish to take this passion of yours?
There is no limit to any passion if it is passion in the real sense. My passion has also been growing since childhood and will continue to grow if Allah wills. Music is the love of my life. I want music to be my bread and butter and I have a strong faith that with the help of Almighty, this wish of mine will come true one day.