He is the man who sets a million hearts soaring with his magical voice. Youth
Connect brings you an exclusive conversation with the Prince
Extraordinaire of Pop Rock and his Band. Here is Atif Aslam Unplugged.
Unlike his onstage
persona, offstage Atif Aslam is soft, somewhat reticent and talks with a
lazy drawl. Dressed in denims and a gray tee, looking relaxed, yet
every bit a star, he settles down for aTête-à-têtewith
the Youth Connect Team. He introduces us to his Band members- Sarmad
Abdul Ghafoor and Asad Ul Hafiz on the Guitar, Sameer Rasheed, the Base
Guitarist, and Salman Rafique on the drums. It’s a lively bunch of guys,
who couldn’t wait to create magic in aapnu Amdavad!
Your website and fan pages are named Aadeez. Is it your pseudonym?
Atif- Aadeez, basically is a name that my fans have given me, in fact they call themselves aadeez. That
is how they connect with other fans, by asking each other "are you an
aadee”? So it becomes easy for them to make a gang of all aadeez and
attend gigs. It’s not just a fan page. It’s like a family of fans.
How did you guys meet? How was this band formed?
Sameer- Ah!, Jab we met! (Grins) That question should be answered by Atif. He certainly has a very good memory.
Atif- Yeah right! (Looks at Sameer for help!)
Sameer- It was in 2003 December when I met you. It was love at first sight!
(Guffaws) So I met him in 2003 December and we started playing together.
One of my friends then introduced me to Sarmad, and we went on to
record my first album which took about 5 days. It’s called ‘Jalpari’. And they did a great job, though at that point of time, we didn’t have a proper band, we weren’t professional musicians, main bhi seekh raha tha aur ye bhi seekh raha tha, (pointing at Sameer). Then Mobeen Shah joined us.
joined the band in 2005 and Asad in 2008. I am here to fill in for
Mobeen, who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the trip because of visa
How difficult is it working in a band? Do you have differences of opinion?
its difficult if you have a band where there is no leader, it’s a
problem because you don’t know who is heading the band. Among us, Atif
is the leader. If all the band members have different musical
directions, then it becomes difficult. But if you exactly agree on what
you want to do with a particular project then it’s really easy.
And if you do have disagreements, how do you solve them?
Salman- we like to agree to disagree!
Sameer-oh we fight to the death! But only till Atif enters the room!
How was your experience working with American Hard Rock Band Guns N’ Roses and Lanny Cordola?
was great actually. Sarmad introduced me to his friend Mr. Todd Shea,
and he was looking for me somehow. So that’s how I met Mr. Lanny
Cordola. We have been working together for the past 2 years now. And
this time around when we were touring US, it just all came together. Khud se hi sab hogaya.
(Smiles) I am so glad and thankful to Slash (Saul Hudson, former lead
Guitarist of Guns N’ Roses.) and Matt (Matthew William Sorum, former
band member of Guns N’ Roses) and especially Lanny Cordola who made it
all happen. It’s a great feeling and a great achievement playing with
the legends at the Best Buy Theatre in New York.
There have been constant rumors circulating about your health and wellbeing.
How do you deal with them? Does it bother you?
Atif-Yes I have heard the rumors.I am perfectly fine. There is nothing of that sort.
Sameer – (straight- faced) He did have the flu a couple of months ago!
Sarmad (dead pan)- How could you forget the pimple on his forehead!?
Atif (chuckles)- Of course it bothers me, the pimple I mean! On a serious note, not really. I have a very settled life that I have to live.Sometimes
it gets too much, the attention. It bothers me when I am out with my
family, and people disturb us. But still, a lot of youngsters wanna be
in my shoes.They wanna be right
there on the stage performing like me, so all by the grace of God I
think I am blessed in such a way that I really thank Him for it.
Have you sampled any local delicacies?
All (enthusiastically)- We would love to!
Sameer- I wanna have the Gujarati puri!
Atif- I learnt some Gujarati! Hu tamna prem karu chu! (Beams)!
(All imitate Atif in very cute accents!)
Atif- I wanna talk to the people of Ahmedabad in Gujarati! How do I say mujhe dkokla khana hai?
Atif- (Learns and repeats) mare dhoklu khava che! People are going to love me for this I am told!
Sameer- aree mujhe asal main khane hain!
Atif (Grins)- khiladunga!
Rapid Fire with Atif.
Favorite Food- Ahmmm anything cooked by my mum yaar!
Three things you don’t leave home without?- Definitely my mobile phone, cologne , and gaadi yaar! Gaadi ke bagair kaise jaunga bahar!
Biggest strength- My faith.
Biggest weakness- Umm I am not sure.
(The Band answers for him. Sameer cheekily suggests it’s his ankle! Sarmad smiles and tells us "dil ke bade achhe hain, probably that’s his weakness.”
Money or Fame- Neither. Music man, just music!
brought us to the end of our lively and interesting conversation. That
was International singing sensation Atif Aslam for you! He left us as
enthralled off stage, as he does onstage!