Interviews·Music

Komal Ghazanfar — The rise of a singer

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As a child passionate about music, Komal Ghazanfar constantly sang along to the radio in her parents’ car, and becoming a singer was just a dream for her.

Even recently, at only 19, and as a first year student in economics in Lahore, Pakistan, she seemed far away from this world. Yet, she was chosen to sing the vocals on the title song of movie ‘Bachaana’, which was released on 26 February in Pakistan, and is set to come out in the UK to delight the Pakistani community.

Komal is casually seated on her bed when she recalls how she started singing. “I was five or six. I used to sing at kindergarten. Both my mum and my aunt used to sing. I think that’s where I got it from.”

She later covered the songs she loved and took every opportunity. She joined a choir at school, participated in competitions and even won some of them. Thanks to Simon, a producer who met Komal’s sister at her audition for “Pakistan Idol”, Komal ended up singing covers in another national show in 2008. That was her first TV experience. “Then, ‘Bachaana’ happened. That’s all new to me.”

It all started when, as the president of her school’s music society, she sang at a competition. Luck was on her side: one of the judges, working for an advertising agency, asked her to record jingles and introduced her to Ali Sher, the composer of ‘Bachaana’’s title song, in January 2015. Sher also liked her voice, asked her to be part of his upcoming project, and there she was, plunged into the adventure.

In her blue jeans and black patterned top, with discreet make-up and blue nail polish, she still remains down-to-earth.

“Ali Sher didn’t really tell me what sort of project that was but I said: ‘I don’t care whatever it is I’ll do it’ because as long as I get to sing it’s fine. I didn’t really take it seriously. I actually even forgot about it later.”

Komal went back to her student life with great memories. But when remembering how Ali Sher called her back five months later, she still sounds surprised. “At that point he told me that it was a very huge project, that it’s going to be released internationally. I couldn’t believe it.”

So much so that she admits only her parents and sisters knew about it as she was unsure the movie would be successful.

Komal remembers a friendly atmosphere during the recording. Her mum would attend every session, and Ali Sher would guide her, but never criticise her.

She is aware that the music industry is Pakistan is highly competitive, but she finds this “challenging and motivational”. She knows she has to work hard and make efforts to succeed. But even if her family wants her to take her grades very seriously, music will always come first. Komal later wants to record her own album, and will “probably be the first in line” if an audition for another movie’s song happens.

This is a childhood dream coming true, and Komal’s determination will bring her a promising future in the industry. “I’ll keep on trying until I get there. My passion for music is greater than the failures that could disappoint me.”

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