There are a number of talented singers in Pakistan but there are only a hand full of female singer that have still been successful in maintaining their name in the industry. Hadiqa Kiani is one of them
Hadiqa was born in Rawalpindi as the youngest of 3 siblings, her older brother (Irfan) and sister ( Sasha). Her father died when she was 3 years old. Her mother Khawar was the Principle of a Government Girls School. Since childhood, Hadiqa and both her brother and sister had a knack for music, and as such her mother and school enlisted her in the Pakistan National Council Of The Arts. During her childhood days, she used to perform in front of crowd of thousands of people, at the Liaqat Memorial Hall Pindi in various children music festivals. Also music was taught as a subject in her school and she recieved early education in music from her music teacher Madam Nargis Naheed.
She went on to study at Viqar-un-Nisa Noon Girls High School Pindi. She represented Pakistan in International children festivals in Turkey, Jordan, Bulgaria, and Greece, winning various medals along the way. She also used to be on Sohail Rana’s children’s program “Rang Barangi Dunya”; a weekly musical on PTV.
As an eighth grader Hadiqa moved from birth place Rawalpindi to Lahore. She was then enrolled in Naya Aligar Public School Lahore. She then went on to Kinnaird and Govt. College, due to her excellent academic performance, and earned a master’s degree in Psychology.
In Lahore she got classically trained by Ustad Faiz Ahmed Khan (Late) and was also groomed by Wajid Ali Nashad (Late).
In early 90s, Hadiqa came onto TV to host a children music program from PTV called Angan Angan Taray. In the three and a half year long run, she had sung over eight hundred songs for children and also hosted the same show along side renowned music Composer Amjad Bobby (Late) and later on with music composer Khalil Ahmed (late).She also appeared as a VJ for a music charts program called Video Junction on NTM.
Hadiqa sung songs as a playback singer for a musical movie called Sargam (featuring Zeba Bakhtiar) in 1994 (muscic of which was composed by Adnan Sami Khan). The same year, she received various awards for her playback singing.
She won “NTM Viewer’s choice award” for the best female Singer of Pakistan in 1995. In the same Award show, Late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was awarded as the best Male Singer of Pakistan.
Hadiqa released her debut album Raaz (Secret) in 1996. She composed and wrote the lyrics to her first single, “Jeevan” (Life). The album spawned a string of radio friendly tunes and generally had favorable reviews. One reason Hadiqa”s album did well was because it was not common for female singers (from non musical backgrounds) to release albums in Pakistan. Also, she was the first female singer to release a pop album after a former pop singer, Nazia Hassan, gave up her musical career in 1993. Hadiqa’s ability to sing in various dialects also helped the album gain momentum.
In 1996, Hadiqa’s debut had sold over 700,000 thousand copies, a very impressive figure for Pakistan. This milestone came when piracy in Pakistan hit an all time high. She kept on releasing singles from the album, all of which were received well. These included “Yaad”, “Tu Agar Mil Jaata”, “Jaan E Jan”, and “Manne Di Mauj”.
Her increasing popularity was further highlighted in January 1997 when Hadiqa became the first Asian singer ever to perform on the British National Lottery Live BBC1 (a program with an estimated viewership 16.6 million at that time). Afterwards she worked on two more shows with Bally Sagoo for BBC 2 and ITV before moving to perform in the U.S. Her U.S. tour covered 15 states and a show in Canada too. The same year Hadiqa performed on several other international events such as “Celebration Hong Kong 97” at Happy Valley Race Course, alongside other International singers like Lisa Stansfield, Wet Wet Wet, Michael Learns to Rock, All 4 One and The Brand New Heavies.
By the end of the year she became the first Asian female singer ever to be signed by Pepsi Cola International. She was the second female in the world to achieve this, with the first being Gloria Estefan.
In 1998 Hadiqa began working on her second music album, Roshni (Light). The album was dedicated to her nephew Sonu, the son of her older sister, The first single off the album, “Tu Nawa Tu Sada” was released before the album was released. Hadiqa then released a second single, “Inteha-e-Shauq”. The song became the official song for the Pakistani Cricket team for the Cricket World Cup that year. Both songs being patriotic gained favorable reviews, however “Inteha-e-Shauq” was a much better success for Hadiqa.
On November 1, 1998 Hadiqa released Roshni. Initial album sales were powered mostly by “Inteha-e-Shauq”, which made the final listing of the album along with “Tu Nawa Tu Sada”.
Hadiqa’s third single off the album, “Dupatta” was an instant success. “Dupatta” gained more popularity than any other single .The success of the song was attributed to its quasi-bhangra rhythm with fat, funky techno beats and wah wah guitars, and Hadiqa’s “dreamy-meets-husky- vocals”, which made the results “stunning.” In wake of Dupatta’s success, Hadiqa soon went on to be widely accepted as the country’s leading female vocalist.
Capitalizing on “Dupatta’s” success, Hadiqa went on to release two other moderate hits, “Roshni”, and “Woh Kaun Hai”. She then delivered once again by releasing a sixth single off the album, “Boohey Barian” which went on to become an even bigger hit for her than “Dupatta”. To date, “Boohey Barian” is widely accepted as Hadiqa’s best single ever. So much so that it was adapted in TWO Indian films as “Hum Tuharey Hein Sanam” and Dil Laga Liya”.
Hadiqa’s massive success in 1999 was highlighted when she won PTV World viewer’s choice award for the best female singer in 2000. She also released seventh single off the album, “Intezaar”.
In October, 2005, Hadiqa became the first person to adopt a baby from the earthquake. She has named the baby boy “Naaday Ali” and officially announced her adoption decision on Geo TV the same night she adopted him on a live show “Capital Talk”. She then proceeded to announce it in an official press release. Later she was given the sole guardianship of the baby by the honourable court of Law.
Hadiqa represented Pakistan on the 25th Anniversary of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) in Turkey. Musicians and Artists from Islamic Countries such as Azerbaijan, U.A.E, Iran, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Turkey, Pakistan and Yemen took part in the festival. The event was organized by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. She performed at the AKM concert Hall on 23 November 2005. Among the audience were musicians from various countries. The biggest surprise for the audience was when Hadiqa sang “Sanalama” (Turkish song of Living Legend “Sezanaksu”). The audience gave her a standing ovation. At the end of her performance, The Mayor of Istanbul presented a bouquet of flowers to her. After her performance she received invitations for upcoming Art festivals in various countries such as Iran, Syria, Qatar and Lebanon. During her stay in Istanbul she officially visited various historical sites in Turkey and conveyed the love of Pakistan for Turkey. Her performance in Istanbul was important news in various Turkish News papers. She had to extend her tour of Turkey and performed in Ankara and Izmeer (Police Academy)
As an Ambassador of Pop culture in Pakistan, Hadiqa officially performed for various royalties and Heads of the states. She performed in China for the Chinese 2nd Premier on 21st Feb, 2006. She performed for President George W.Bush on 4 March, 2006. She performed for the Crown Prince of Brunei Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah on 29 May, 2006. She performed for Mrs.Laura Bush on September 21, 2006 at The Kennedy Convention Centre, Washington DC. She closed the year by performing for HRH Prince Charles on October 30, 2006, and the Chinese President Mr. Hu Jin Tau on November 23, 2006.
In January 2006, Hadiqa released a single, “Iss Bar Milo”. Although the song was off her album Rung, it was used instead to promote a duo between her and Aamir Zaki. They both had planned to release an English album. The song became a huge success, and its video continue to build on the trend of videos Hadiqa had released. In the video Hadiqa plays a schizophrenic patient at a mental institution for women. Reviews for the rock song were extremely favorable, with people appreciating her acting and her decision to sing different genres.
In Feburary 2006, Hadiqa’s mother got paralized. She is not just a mother but her best friend and her biggest support in life. Her mother is also the lyric writer of Hadiqa’s songs like Boohay Barian, Ranjhan, Mahi, Jogi and many more. Hadiqa decided to focus all her attention towards her mother and everything else came later.
On March 23, 2006, Hadiqa was awarded the “Tamgha-e-Imtiaz” by the Government of Pakistan, one of the highest civil awards of the country, for acknowledging her services in the field of music and bringing good name to the country for over a decade. The award was announced on August 14, 2005, but the ceremony was on March 23 2006.
Hadiqa had released another video by the end of 2006. She was featured on UK based producer Khiza’s album Loyal To The Game. The album’s lead single, “Mehr Ma” featured Hadiqa. The song was a massive success in Pakistan and UK, and was seen as a great return for Hadiqa after her ballads in Rung. This was highlighted by the fact that Khiza’s same album in Pakistan was titled Mehr Ma and not Loyal to the Game. In the video, Hadiqa is seen with different hairstyles and outfits. Its reviews have been extremely favorable. Hadiqa also performed the same song at the 2006 Lux Style Awards.
In March 2007, Hadiqa was one of the many artists that were featured in a widely popular track called “Yeh Hum Naheen”. In this song, various Pakistani artists joined to send out a message that people should stop blaming Muslims for the innocent killings of other Muslims. The song also sends out an anti-terrorism message. Other artists in the song are Haroon, Ali Haider, Ali Zafar, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Strings, and Shuja Haider.The song had been picked up by international stations like Fox News and BBC, and had received over 70,000 downloads.
In 2007, Hadiqa Kiani released her fourth album, Rough Cut, which was her 1st Eastern Alt Rock album in collaboration with Aamir Zaki. With the release of Rough Cut, Hadiqa became the first Pakistani main stream artist to release a complete English Album.
In April 2007, Hadiqa released the first single from the album, titled “Living This Lie”, a song which talks about the stressful life of being a star. The same week, Hadiqa was named “Hotstepper of the week” for a Karachi based magazine. The magazine also stated that
“Ultimately, as long as Hadiqa is around, there is still hope for women in the patriarchal music world of Pakistan”.
Hadiqa’s second single that was released from the album was titled “All The Same”. Because of having limited audience for such genre of music, Rough Cut didn’t sell as much as Hadiqa’s older works. Many experts said that since an overwhelming majority of people in the country do not understand English, the album didn’t sell as much. However the single “Living This Lie” got nominated for “Best English Song” for “The Musik Awards” in 2007. But, due to the emergency situations in the country in 2007, the awards were called off. Hadiqa also got nominated for Best Female Singer in the same awards.
In August, 2007, Hadiqa was one of the performers for the London Day Parade at Trafalgar Square, London which was broad casted by Geo TV to celebrate 60 years of Independence for the country. Hadiqa was the only singer who sang completely live that day. She was also part of closing the show with the popular patriotic song “Jeevay Pakistan” alongside Ali Zafar.
Later that year, she also released an Urdu single titled “Zindagi” which was a rock themed song about the life (Zindagi) of Pakistani children. The song was released a few weeks after the London Day Parade.
Hadiqa did not perform much internationally as she did in years before, and even toured around Pakistan less frequently towards the end of the year 2007 (primarily due to the state of emergency and the turmoils the country went through). However earlier in 2007 (May 19) Hadiqa performed at Dead Sea Marriott Jordan for 28 Heads of States at the World Economic Conference. During her performance Hadiqa performed an Arabic song too.
Hadiqa performed on Ten Sports Channel at a 20-20 cricket match between Pakistan and Bangladesh on April 20, 2008 at the National Cricket Stadium Karachi.
On 13 August 2008, Hadiqa Kiani’s 2nd marriage officially came to an end.
Later in September 2008, Hadiqa was signed as a Brand Ambassador for another Uni Lever Brand “PONDS (Age Miracle).
In October 2008 Hadiqa went to Mumbai to shoot two new Music videos.
After coming back from Mumbai, Hadiqa was signed as the Brand Ambassador for a Shoe Company “Soul Collection” a Company owned by Service Shoes (the biggest local shoe making Company in Pakistan). As the brand Ambassador of Soul Collection, Hadiqa revealed the 1st reversable shoe of the world called Soul Mirror.
In 2009 Hadiqa became one of the judges for a Music reality show on GEO TV called LG-Awaz Baney Star (1st student singing competition in Pakistan).
Later, on 16th June 2009, Hadiqa was signed as the Brand Ambassador for LG-Mobiles alongside singer Shehzad Roy.
On 17th June 2009 a press conference was held in PC Hotel Karachi in which Hadiqa’s 5th Album (4th Pop Album) “AASMAAN” was released officially in Pakistan by Fire Records (the leading Music Record Company in Pakistan). The same day her music video “Sohnya” was released on various music channels.
From 2010 till 2012 she has been busy in various projects inside and outside Pakistan. These days she is doing a singing reality show (Pakistan Idol) as Judge
We wish her best of luck for future.
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