by Sana Zehra

The multi-talented star has created a buzz with his brand new song AraamNaalKar—Take it Easy based on Bulley Shah’s poetry featuring Martay Mckenzie. The track is a brilliant fusion of Hip Hop with a Punjabi folksy tune. Yasir’s powerful vocals resonate through his own composition and do justice to Bulley Shah’s poetry. Soon after the track dropped, Yasir Akhtar brought down the house at the Manzil Manchester show with this upbeat song along with the electrifying performer and rapper Martay Mckenzie. They were accompanied by none other than the King of Bhangra, Sahara Nafees, amongst other exciting performers. Yasir is always miles ahead of other big names in the industry. The roaring success of his previous single Sansani-The Sensationalist scored almost 6 million views. After creating a niche for himself in Pakistan, this trendsetter has launched many successful projects one after another in the UK 

Hello Yasir, hope you are doing well.

As usual, you have launched another blockbuster. Tell us about it.

It’s a different sound because I have tried to mix Punjabi music into Hip Hop with live instruments like Sarangi, Harmonium, and Tumbi with electronic instruments. It’s a blend of East and West with a folk melody and English rap. The concept of the video covers almost all major cultures and styles in the UK. It has a multi-cultural look and sound.

It was quite a difficult task to find a good female rapper, I went through so many portfolios and auditions. Finally, I found Martay McKenzie from London who fit like a glove into this project. She has a wealth of experience in singing and rapping with power house vocals, undeniable screen presence and an intrinsic ability to rock.

Although the main poetry is by Bulleh Shah, I have written the rap, composed and fused the poetry of the great Punjabi philosopher in this song that explains that within a dot, the whole mystery is solved. So we, the created, are not different from the Creator. We the lovers, are not separate from the Beloved. It is this unity of being and existence that is one and can be reduced to one little “nukta” that has all the answers and comforts we spend our lifetimes attaining. The point or dot is the starting point of anything and everything.

Enlighten us about the plot of the video.

As far as the video is concerned, I am playing a double role: a philosopher and an antagonist, embedded in an abstract concept with a vivid storyline. The dual characters depict two different lines of thought in our society, i.e. spiritual philosophy and materialism. The concept revolves around a modern philosopher roaming around the streets of London singing Bulleh Shah’s poetry and explaining the concept of surrender to the antagonist.

Martay is shown to be mocking the poetic lines of the philosopher in favour of the materialistic mafia king. A drastic turn in the storyline can be witnessed where the philosopher finally manages to convince the audience about changing everything.
The music and the visuals of Take it Easy are an amalgamation of various styles and genres. The video is shot at some of the most beautiful locations in London, including Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Lambeth and Southall. I am deeply thankful to the team behind SK Media consisting of Shaista Iram Zahid,  Zahid Hamid and Kamran Hamid for joining hands with me and making this a successful project in every way.

The readers are eager to know some more details about your latest venture.

I have chosen some special verses of the great Shah’s poetry that depict my experiences since childhood in the field of music and entertainment industry, especially the following lines:I have seen the rising sun set…

I have seen the rising sun set…

I’ve seen the unlit lamps lit…

Diamonds and stars are priceless, but I have seen the
Useless coins turning into precious ones.

The team working with you is very dedicated. All of you have pulled off amazing work.

I’ve produced the song, while the music has been composed by the musical genius Jo-G. Additional musical arrangements are by Sher Abbas. Other artists appearing in the video are Asli Baharaan Punjab Diyan, Naina Safar, Chandni and Sonia Mobashir. The characters look promising and well suited according to their roles. The music and the visuals in this song will remind you of my earlier hits like Kabhi to Hoga Mera Milan, Chandni, Aey Sanam, My Love, Jogi, Terry Naal Dil Milea, Zara Man Ko Dekhna, Sansani and his popular musical band, The Arid Zone.  The multi-talented star has a history of making popular songs and trendsetting film productions. Araam Naal Kar-Take it Easy is another feather in this cap.

Tell us about your journey.

I stepped into the media industry when I was only 5 years old, starring in renowned writer, director, advertiser and politician Javed Jabbar’s Pakistani film Beyond the Last Mountain. In my teenage years, I appeared in a variety of TV commercials for multinational corporations. I’ve also appeared in popular drama serials like Dastak, Tapish, KhawabSuhanay, Yeh Jahan, Monsoon, French Toast, Mera Ghar Aik Whirlpool, Jayen Khan Armaan, SardAag, etc. and worked with veteran PTV producers, like Shehzad Khali, Sahira Kazmi, and Kazim Pasha.

What about the international fame achieved by Arid Zone?

I was the vocalist of The Arid Zone. Our hit songs include Milan, Chandni, Aaja Baliya, Aey Sanam, My Love, Jogi, Pyar Diyan Gallan and various others. After rocking for more than five years with the band, I decided to go solo and release the albums Jogi and My Love on my own. The band The Arid Zone is considered one of the most popular bands of Pakistani pop industry.
Everyone is familiar with you introducing concept videos in the country. It won’t be wrong to call you a pioneer in this field. do you agree?

I directed the first ever-pop chart show called Music Channel Charts while only 19. The veteran producer Ghazanfar Ali gave me the chance to direct and produce the charts show giving me full authority to launch new artists. I have him to thank for the opportunity.

You are responsible for launching the careers of many big names in the industry, serving as a mentor to many of them. Tell us about them.

I have launched the careers of Najam Sheraz, Shehzad Roy, Fakhr-e-Alam, Komal Rizvi and many other artists and music bands through MCC. I put together the country’s first telefilm series Tapal Cinema as well as the first ever branded drama serial Mera Ghar Aik Whirpool. In this way, I gave film star Zara Sheikh, Humayun Saeed, model Tooba Siddiqui, actors Shamoon Abbasi, Nadeem Jafri, Sadia Imam, Nida Yasir and Javeria Abbasi their big break.

If you haven’t done so, listen to Yasir’s latest catchy track!

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