At the young age of 17, Rafay Israr caught a lucky break working on Weekends with Mahira. He catapulted to other gigs, getting hired as a backup musician for top music artists, like Atif Aslam, Ali Zafar, Abida Parveen, Edward Maya and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Inspired by such top level talent, the ambitious young musician started writing and composing his own music. Rafay tells Sana Zehra about his recently released singles Sajni and Beliya

Tell our readers a little about yourself and how you stepped into music?

I ventured into music at the age of 16. As I don’t have any family member in the music industry, it was extremely difficult for me to convince my family. I was able to prove myself though, and they were able to accept music as a legit(imate) career.  Initially, I started singing at my school functions. Then, I did unplugged performances at cafes. From there my music journey progressed and I started getting concerts. So far, I have performed in almost 300 concerts all over Pakistan.

What’s your favourite genre in music?

I cannot actually choose a specific genre by saying “I love X”, but for me I love any melody that touches my heart and the tune is catchy. I think, if someone can easily sing along to your song then it’s working.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years, I see myself touring with my band and performing all over the world. Watching the crowd lip sync with our songs is truly the best feeling in the world.

Tell us about your latest release Beliya and who composed it?

After my debut song Sajni, I have recently released my second single called Beliya and the response has been amazing. I composed it myself just like I compose all my other songs.

Recently, an Indian record label has signed me on. I’ll talk more about it soon!

What are your upcoming projects? Any new music videos or releases happening anytime soon?

I plan to release a couple of singles this year. Last year. I stopped doing shows and recorded my music so there are a lot of different flavours. We did a lot of collaborations with different musicians, as well and experimented with different genres. The next music video is releasing on Eid ul Azha and I’m super excited for it.

Do you think the music industry is evolving and is there scope for newcomers?

The music industry is stable and evolving. A lot of concerts are now being held so there is always a good scope for new musicians. Upcoming talent can’t complain about not having a platform because there are tons of shows promoting and supporting young talent. Things that are missing right now are music TV channels and record labels.

“Recently, an Indian record label has signed me on”

What’s your favourite vacation spot?

Santorini, Greece is my favourite vacation spot. I look forward to shooting my music video there in the near future.

“Upcoming talent can’t complain about not having a platform because there are tons of shows promoting and supporting young talent”

If you were offered to work with Bollywood singers, which singer would you like to do a duet with?

Umm the wish list is long though but, to name but a few, I’d love to work with Shilpa Rao, Neha Kakkur and Monali Thakkur.

A few words for your new fans out there?

I would like to thank all my fans out there for such an overwhelming response to Beliya and Sajni. To all those who have not heard my songs, listen to them and post me feedback.

Let’s stand together and support original Pakistani music! XOXO

Good Times


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