“In today’s age, we need ‘smart artists’ “, says Sajjad Ali

The Lahore Music Meet last week saw many musicians and two of them were Sajjad Ali and Azmat Ali who talked about their early struggles and more.

Sajjad Ali mentioned that the ’90s was the era where the artist was faced with the remnants of the old generation’s problems. And for Ali Azmat, his life as an artist had been nothing but struggle — trying to survive, living on his own in an alien city, and eventually reaping some reward.

“For me the music scene happened from 1994 onwards,” he said.

Ali spoke on the new generation and its waywardness when it came to music and its inability to treat it with the seriousness it deserved. He pointed out that music has never been treated as a matter of priority in Pakistan.

It was a long time ago when Sajjad Ali himself directed the music video ‘Babiya’. He said artists were hands-on then too, dabbling in song composition and recording but something was always missing.

He expressed:

“Today, when technology has reached every home and when almost everyone knows how to record, play and sing confidently, why is there still no hit song coming up?”

Ali was of the view that the industry would not grow until it had music written originally for it.

“No industry grows by recycling. The whole process ofcreating, recording and marketing music is a science and no one is giving it to the kids. In today’s age we need ‘smart artists’, who can do all these things.”

Azmat talked about the growing commercial mindset in the music industry and how the creativity is being affected:

“If artists do not recreate and create and explore new styles of music, they will drop like flies,” he said. “You cannot keep doing the same kind of music, you have to move on. You have to stop following trends.”

He said, “I was never in the useless rat race to be number one. Artists are insecure people and perhaps it is that insecurity that keeps me afloat. There were times when I went on the high horse but I have learnt to calm myself down, to become more grounded. After all that ‘high’ doesn’t always remain.”