Please tell us a little about your foray into the music industry. How did you discover your passion for music and when did you get your first big break? My earliest memory of music is when Nazia and I used to participate in Sohail Rana’s programme ‘Kaliyon Ki Mala’ after school. At that time I wasn’t really interested in music or singing. It was in London that Nazia and I became interested in music after listening to pop songs on the radio. I was later presented with a guitar by my uncle, which inspired me to learn music and write my own songs. Who were some of the artists back then that you looked up to with admiration and inspiration? There were many musicians at that time who were making great music, although Nazia and I had our own style of music. I sill learned a lot from industry forerunners such as Biddu, Arshad Mehmood, etc. Did your studies take a backseat as you had started out young? How did you manage your academic life with your career? Education was always a priority. Nazia and I would participate in children’s music programmes but all the activities happened after school. ‘I have been into music for as long as I can remember. I don’t think I’ve always aspired to be a pop icon. I am just very passionate about what I do’ Had you always aspired to be a pop icon? I have been into music for as long as I can remember. I don’t think I’ve always aspired to be a pop icon. I am just very passionate about what I do and my priority has always been to make great music for my fans. What were some of your initial struggles in the industry and who helped you or nurtured you the most throughout your early years in the industry? Nazia and I were one of the fortunate ones who didn’t have to struggle too much on our way through to stardom. As soon as we launched our first professional recording, our music was appreciated not only locally but also worldwide. Tell us about your camaraderie with Nazia? Nazia and I were very close. Not only were we siblings but we made a great team as musicians. She was extremely supportive when it came to the music I made. The impact that she has made on my life will forever shine in the music I make today. What are you currently working on? EMI Pakistan has recently released my new music video “Silsilay” and album ‘Signature’. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while. There are a few future projects in which I will be collaborating with different artists. There is also a film that I am working on which is based on Nazia’s and my life. What according to you has been your greatest achievement until date? I have been very fortunate to have had the chance of doing a lot in my lifetime. My greatest achievement in terms of music is definitely to have been recognised as an artist who has played a hand in introducing pop music to the sub continent. Before Nazia and I started the sub continent didn’t really have pop in its true essence. I have also been honoured to receive 12 gold, four platinum and two double platinum discs in my music career. More than this I was thrilled when Oxford University honoured me with an award for contribution in the field of music in South East Asian. What was your driving force all along? What motivated you to excel no matter what? My family and close friends have played a vital role in encouraging and motivating me and helping me to continue my music. After Nazia’s death I didn’t have the heart to go on with making new music, but with the support of loved ones I have been able to bring this album out. ‘After Nazia’s death I didn’t have the heart to go on with making new music, but with the support of loved ones I have been able to bring this album out’ Who is the most promising Pakistani singer in today’s time? There are so many incredibly talented singers. I have particularly always been a fan of the band Fuzon, their music is very soulful, and hence I asked Immu from the band if he could write a couple of songs for me. We, at Daily Times, consider you to be one of our national heroes. Who are some of yours? I have always admired music producer Quincy Jones and singer-songwriters Stevie Wonder and George Michael. Achievements MULTI-TALENTED ARTISTE The renowned Zoheb Hassan, who is a household name, is a man of many talents. He is not just a singer but a songwriter as well and also a recognised producer. PIONEER OF POP IN SOUTH ASIA The legendary Zoheb Hassan is a pop icon and was also part of the duo Nazia & Zoheb. After the release of their first album ‘Disco Deewane’, Nazia Hassan and Zoheb Hassan became the South-Asian sub-continent’s first pop icons. Several successful albums established the duo’s status as pioneers of pop music in the region. INTERNATIONAL STAR They sold over 85 million records worldwide and topped the charts in several countries, including South Africa, Guatemala, Columbia and Venezuela to name a few. He has received 12 gold, four platinum and two double platinum discs in his music career. He is also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Nations Association of Pakistan and an award from Oxford University for Achievements in the field of South Asian Music. Published in Daily Times, August 20th 2017.