Meet the 18-year-old Pakistani making waves in Pakistan's pop scene
Written by Aamir Khan
Posted on October 04 2018
Eighteen-year-old Abdullah Siddiqui took us all by surprise. The kid has some amazing vocals and is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the local pop scene. Check out his newest single and read his interview below.
Q. What drew you to the music industry?
A. What drew me to the music industry, ultimately, was the practice of music itself. I’ve been producing music since I was 10 years old, and there came a point where I felt there needed to be a purpose to all the content I was creating. So I started releasing things online, and I broke into the industry.
Q. Who are you inspired by?
A. Musically, I’m inspired by a lot of electronic musicians like James Blake, Björk, FKA Twigs, Imogen Heap. In a broader sense, however, I’m very inspired by a lot of my peers, other musicians in Pakistan who are creating incredible content. It inspires me because it allows me to hold out hope for a better music industry, where niche sounds have a wide market.
Q. Explain your creative process?
A. Each of my songs is sung, written and produced by me. So the process of a song can start with any of those. I might find myself humming a melody I like, or I might come up with some good lyrics, or I might make a good beat. Once I have one of those elements, I just build on it until I have something I’m satisfied with.
Q. What’s an average day like for you?
A. I’m 18, so I’m still in school. My average day is mostly spent there. The rest of the day, if I don’t have work to do, I’ll sketch out ideas for songs on my computer, and hopefully, come up with something good.
Q. Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
A. In a sense, there are hidden meanings in all of my songs. I like to keep my lyrics really obtuse and kind of vague, so that anyone listening can choose to attach whatever meaning they want to it. Of course, I know what my songs are about, but I rarely make it obvious.
Q. Do you collaborate with others? What is that process?
A. I have collaborated with others. Mostly the collaboration process for me has been exclusively through the internet. I’ve worked with people like Dynoman and Block-2 and Ali Suhail, and it’s mostly involved emailing ideas back and forth, and sending lots of files. It’s not very different practically than working on a song alone, but creatively, it is very different when you have to work within the guidelines of your collaborator.
Q. What is your favourite part about this line of work? Your least favourite? Why?
A. My favourite part about working in music, again, is the practice itself. I love being able to spend a few hours carefully constructing a beat. It’s very meticulous, and it can be very tedious, but it tends to be very rewarding. My least favourite part, however, is the lack of an audience. There isn’t much variety in mainstream Pakistani music, and so naturally, there isn’t much variety in the mainstream Pakistani audience. This makes it hard to find opportunities with a more niche sound because there isn’t yet much demand for it.
Q. Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
A. I have dealt with performance anxiety. Quite excessively, actually. But it’s gotten a lot better since my first major festival performance at LMM in 2016, where I fell flat on my face before I could get up to the mic. When your worst fear is realized, not much scares you anymore.
Q. Tell me about your favourite performance venues?
A. Nonetheless, the LMM has always been my favourite performance venue. That’s because of the pleasure of having an audience of active music lovers, people who have context for the kind of music I’m making. It’s a lot easier performing for people who I know understand what I’m doing.
Q. What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
A. Honestly, I don’t think I’m in the position to be doling out advice at this point because I’m in dire need of it myself. I will say, that it’s important to listen to as much music as you can, and as many kinds of music as you can. Once you can expand your definition of music, to the point where you can believe that Revolution 9 is just as much music as whatever is topping the charts at any given time, you can really free your mind of boundaries and allow yourself to be truly creative.