LAHORE: A vocalist and guitarist Danyal Zafar has already established himself as a versatile youth icon and is now coming into his own.

Finding passion for music at a very early age, Danyal has pursued music professionally by recording guitar tracks for his brother, famous Pakistani Artist, Ali Zafar since the age of 14.

Some of his popular tunes belong to critically acclaimed Bollywood film, ‘London Paris New York’.

Danyal’s initial musical sensibilities were influenced by Pink Floyd and Jeff Buckley but most recently, he has stepped away from the psychedelic and darkwave music transforming himself into a blues musician.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation he talks about his career and success. Following are the excerpts:

Were you always into music? When did you know you were going to take it up as a profession?

I used to play football a lot up till I was in grade nine, then I suffered a serious injury and damaged my ligament.  After that I had to pace myself down a little, but I still play with my friends sometimes to wear off the steam.

When my brother (Ali Zafar’s) music came out for the first time, I was a kid. I think I was in grade two or three, and he suddenly shot to fame.

People started coming to me and would ask ‘So are you also going to be a singer like Ali?’ At that time I would think ‘No! Why can’t I be businessman or a banker or something?’I wasn’t really into music at that time.

What changed things were Ali bhai bought me a guitar as a gift. I remember him calling me and saying that he had bought me something really nice and my getting excited. When I saw the gift, I thought to myself ‘Why would you buy me a guitar, I’m not even interested in music!’

But later I used to fiddle around with it, and Ali bhai taught me my first three chords, saying “You can sing at least 10 songs on just these three chords”. From that day, I started learning and playing music and realized that music helped me express a lot of emotions and figure out a lot of stuff going inside my head.

How did you come to be part of Coke Studio?

I had sent Bilal Bhai (Maqsood) some of my recordings, but wasn’t sure anything would work out. I remember I was playing a football match when I got a call from him and he had sent me a song and said that he wanted me to sing it and send it back to him.

The way I felt at that moment during the football match, is exactly how I’m feeling right now, really on the edge and overwhelmed. I just hope that I can prove myself on such a big platform. To be honest, I’m lost for words; it’s a great opportunity, and the fact that I was thought as worthy enough to appear on Coke Studio Season 10 is a big compliment and a huge motivator.

What do you think about Coke Studio as a platform and how do you feel this will impact your career?

It’s a no brainer that Coke Studio is one of the biggest music platforms in the country. For someone to be able to perform on Coke Studio, sing and show their talent, is obviously a very big deal. When you get this chance, you take it and it can be a make-it or break-it for your career because you are reachingmillions of people through this show.

Coke Studio’s music has been phenomenal over the years, andit has earned its credibility for producing the best music in Pakistan. If the younger musicians are getting the chance to be on Coke Studio with experienced artists who’ve been around for some time, you know that it’s not just anhonour but also a massive opportunity for you to learn. It becomes your responsibility to take this opportunity and perform to the best of your abilities. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you get that chance, if you prove yourself and the audiences like your performance then your work’s done.

People say you got this chance because of your brother? How do you feel about that?

See, the thing is, whoever is related to an existing celebrity, whether it’s a singer or whether it’s an actor, there’s always this pressure on them.

Like I said earlier, what matters is, what kind of a person you are. If you believe that I am talented enough or I have the skill-set that proves that I am here for a reason, then it shouldn’t matter what people say. It is easy to be a keyboard warrior or just come along and say you’re a parchee.

Sometimes people just say things for the sake of getting likes on their comments, but you can’t pay too much attention to that. As long as I know that I gave it my best and that I performed to the best of my abilities, and the audiences appreciate me, then I have nothing to worry about. Work will always speak louder than words.

Would you like to share about your upcoming projects?

I’m currently working on a debut album and serving as a music director alongside Ali Zafar in the later’s debut Pakistani film Teefa in Trouble.