Soundcheck: Bilal Khan on Coke Studio, OSTs, tours and more
Bilal Khan’s recent performance in London was a turning point in his career. He has rendered the official soundtracks (OSTs) of quite a few drama serials, including Mata-i-Jaan. Another achievement has been Coke Studio Season 5.
Here, Images on Sunday sits down with the Lahore-based singer for latest updates.
Q. How was the London concert?
BK. It was loads of fun, and it was also for a good cause, too. I believe the organisers were able to raise about £6,000 from ticket sales. It’s great to know that my music and especially Pakistani music has a global audience.
Q. How has been the experience of providing vocals for OSTs?
BK. The two OSTs I have done were both composed by Waqar Ali. I think it’s always interesting singing on a composition that you haven’t written. Faraz Anwar had played guitars on Mata-e-Jaan and he has done some really complicated and melodic stuff on the song. I try to follow the music director and the story of the particular drama, and the sing with that thought in my head.
Q. How has your second stint been with Coke Studio Season 5?
BK. It’s been enlightening and fun this time. Like I said that at this point in my career after having gotten the breakthrough with earlier songs it was important to discover a new sound and create a diverse body of work. I don’t fear experimentation and have no qualms doing my original songs. I think we were able to achieve a new fresh sound this season with Larho Mujhey and Taaray that I am hopeful will register over time, just like it did with Bachana and To Kya Hua.
Q. How was it different the second time round?
BK. I think there was a lot more philosophy and substance to the songs. The sound was more upbeat opposed to last season which was sad and dark. But a lot of things were similar, too, this time round like sticking to my original song model. I think I am probably the only artist on CS who has done all the four songs that I have had a chance to do as original songs and not added a Sufi piece or a Nusrat piece. All of it is intentional because I really am a proponent of original composition and lyrics writing. I think it’s important to put confidence in your own material. I am a proponent of collaborations too and I have done them fair bit in my musical journey so far but I think I have really tried to experiment with original songwriting when it comes to my two stints at CS.
Q. How is our music industry benefiting from it?
BK. I think it makes the summers a lot more bearable. Every summer people are tuned into this one thing that they know wouldn’t let them down. Rohail Hyatt’s genius doesn’t just lie in the music part of the things but also in how he has been able to find a medium to spread the music in this age of noise and it is quite remarkable.
Q. How did you come up with the tribute to Alamgir?
BK. Mobilink Jazba wanted to do a campaign on Valentines Day. It was sung in one day and shot the next. A lot of people really like how that song turned out. Alamgir is a great songwriter and adds a lot of energy to his songs.
Q. Where have you performed recently?
BK. I have played in almost every city of Pakistan except Quetta. There is so much hope and passion for music in every city. They love their music and appreciate the songs and always find a way to have good time. It is just amazing interacting with them on stage night after night. Peshawar was just as welcoming as any other city of Pakistan.
Q. When should we expect your second album?
BK. I have already released two songs from the album titled Maktoob. One is Bhool and the other is Mil Hi Gaya. I will continue releasing songs from the album just the way I did with Umeed. The third song, Larho Mujhey, was on Coke Studio Season 5 Episode 2.