Ifirst witnessed Junaid Younus flexing his vocal chords in the band Siege’s first award-winning track, Armaan which caught the nation by storm. Siege touched its zenith with the album ‘Police’ where the title track became a viral hit. However, Siege, like many other Pakistani bands, couldn't survive as a unit. And, one only witnessed the frontman and vocalist, Junaid Younus in his solo appearances. While I write regarding the break up of Siege, Junaid Younus, sitting next to me, denies the fact with conviction.
“Siege is not over. It is just that the band members are busy in their individual ventures hence I thought I can do some solo singing too but don't worry Siege will do some music in the near future.”
Catching up with Junaid is always fun. He is a fun-loving person with great sense of music and witty sense of humour. He cracks jokes almost instantly. Although, he denies the break up of Siege, he does believe that keeping a band intact is a challenging task. According to him bands break up due to lust for money, limelight and of course, creative differences.
It is positive to note that Junaid didn't halt his musical activities even after the dormancy of Siege. He continues to belt out solo numbers at regular intervals. In fact, he recently ventured into a new genré – ghazal.
“I’m releasing a classic ghazal written in PTV’s golden era by legendary writer Khuwaja Pervaiz and sung by Madam Noor Jahan titled Jo Na Mil Sakey. I always wanted to sing this ghazal so I’m very happy that I’m doing it now. It is a collaboration between myself, Hasan Omar of Symt band and famous sitar player Rakae Jameel,” informs Junaid.
As one looks forward to his upcoming release, his versatility as a singer was evident in his last release entitled Allah Ho, a spiritual song on the month of Ramzan. The track was in collaboration with Sarmad Ghafoor. It was written by Fauzia Bhatti and the video was directed by Ali Umair. The song was very well received. This makes me wonder as to what really is his genré. Junaid is quick to respond.
“Well, I am a singer and don't like to be defined by the genrés as I love singing all genrés and I've almost sang them all.”
His singing inspiration comes from the legendary Muhammad Rafi.
“The way he sang every song with such versatility is amazing. I think if I can sing even 10 per cent of what he has sung I’ll feel I’ve achieved something,” he shares. But, can one consider this as confusion? “I think in the initial phases, it was confusion. You are trying to explore yourself as an artiste, but later as I grew as a singer, I chose to sing these genrés,” replies Junaid.
Junaid is very much excited about his exploration into ghazal. But is the youth ready to listen to classical and ghazal music? He quotes, “I think the new generation enjoys diversity and they want to listen to different genrés of music. In fact the fusion of ghazal and classical with western instruments have a good future in this part of the world. This has been proven by bands like Fuzon and singers like Ahmed Jahanzaib that if it's done well, the youth will listen to it.”
He is a strong proponent of collaboration and plans to do more in future. “I am doing a few fun collaborations in USA with rapper named Ace Boogie” he reveals.
Junaid is very candid about the Pakistani music scene.
“Well, music in Pakistan is very hard to keep as a profession. Let me be honest with you, the music channels that we have play foreign content on more than half of their airtime. Besides, there are hardly any concerts. Overall, it's a tough time.”
Interestingly, Junaid has acted in a drama serial, Family Band, as well, which according to him was a great experience. In his hosting stints, he has hosted for live TV and award shows such as the Lux Style Awards and Nobel Peace Prize. Regarding the experience, he merrily quotes, “Hosting gives me a different kind of high which singing or acting doesn’t. The sort of authority you command on stage is simply amazing.”
However, out of the three fields, Junaid considers singing his eternal passion.
“Primarily, I am a singer and would choose singing over anything any day, but I love doing acting and hosting too,” he shares.
These days, Junaid is busy with new songs and videos. He has a few movie song offers, after the hit title track of movie, Actor in Law and will be travelling to the US later this year.
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