Pakistani singer Ali Zafar and brother Danyal bond over 'Julie'
Close on the heels of releasing their first single together, Ali Zafar and his brother Danyal talk about paving distinctive paths in the music industry
Ali Zafar with brother Danyal
In an era where teenagers were drawn to peppy music videos to get their daily dose of cool, Ali Zafar, then 26, tugged at the heartstrings of Indian fans with the 2006 love track, Sun Re Sajaniya.
Over a decade later, his younger brother Danyal, 22, is repeating history as he creates waves in the field of music, only, this time, the lad targets a platform that the current generation is familiar with — the Internet. Soon after Danyal hit the six-million viewership mark with his Coke Studio number, Muntazir, a collaboration with Momina Mustehsan, the Zafar brothers paired up for the first time to render the track, Julie, that released earlier this month.
Speaking to mid-day from Pakistan, the musicians discuss why the peppy track was the ideal pick for a collaboration, and how they bonded over three chords of the guitar.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
Danyal, you must be enjoying the stardom that followed the success of your first track?
Danyal: I define stardom as the amount of love you get from people, and surprisingly, I've received more than I expected. It is overwhelming.
How have your fans reacted?
Danyal: I received love mails from my Indian fans. They've melted my heart. They were not merely one-liners, but essays. Everybody had something meaningful to say. I tried to reply to as many people as possible.
Ali, do you like the way your brother's musical journey has kicked off?
Ali: I feel proud. [Garnering] over six million clicks for your first song is not bad. However, his full potential and vocal range is yet to be explored.
You must have witnessed his growth as a singer.
Ali: Yes, I remember the day he was learning the first three chords on the guitar at the age of 11. He would practise for seven hours every day. At 13, he belted out tough classics like Stairway To Heaven. He has also played the guitar on my songs. It's special to see him stand beside me and tackle a genre as complicated as the blues.
Did the two of you enjoy the first collaboration?
Danyal: My brother taught me my first three chords. So, collaborating with him was an honour. We've worked together on a lot of projects, but Julie was for the world to hear. The energy we shared while recording the track was crazy.
Tell us more about the song.
Ali: I had written and composed this track because it carries a message that must be told, which is that true happiness can be derived from relationships, not money or power. Unfortunately, our minds are trained to believe that we can achieve happiness from materialistic things. If that was true, there wouldn't be anxiety or depression in the world.
Danyal: Given that Julie is a blues track, it is a middle ground [for us].
Why didn't you sing in it?
Danyal: I want people to hear me sing songs that showcase my talent before I'm heard with my brother. Also, this track belongs to his album, so, I let my guitar sing for me this time.
Can you tell us about your future projects?
Ali: Danyal has worked on the soundtrack of my first production, Teefa In Trouble. He is recording his first album. I continue to work on my fourth.
Danyal: My album is about the immediate and long-term effects of falling out of love. But, the music isn't all sad, as people would assume.
Danyal, what role has Ali played in your journey?
Danyal: He's been a teacher and a father figure. He helped me discover my passion for music, enabling me to explore the art without enforcing his principles. He helped me discover my own sound.
Do you have Bollywood aspirations?
Danyal: Art knows no boundaries. If time takes me there, helping me express my art in its purist form, why not?
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