Scorching through the charts with 4 major hit songs, Qamar Saleem is truly Pakistan's new and bright shining star. Famous veteran vocalist and voice actor based in Singapore Beverly Grafton catch up with him amidst the bustle of the new year setting in and find out what makes him tick.
Beverly Grafton (BG): You rose to fame at a time when everyone else was falling apart, thanks to the detrimental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. What can you tell us about your feelings with regards to your success?
Qamar Saleem (QS): I've been told many a time by close friends that I'm an eternal optimist. 2020 and 2021 was an immensely challenging time for all and what I wanted most was for everyone to stay positive, regardless of the many ways we find ourselves helpless. In my belief that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel, I started out with a song of hope, my first release “Janaan”. It was a gentle reminder for us all to love and stay positive. I had meant for it to reach within my circle of friends all over the world at least but then, the song's popularity suddenly soared, building me a fan base that spans globally. All this led to my insistence on composing music with a message. “Ankaha”, “Sona” and “Khelein”, are all songs that carry a deep message within them. To me, being able to resonate with millions, inspire joy and bring respite to multi-cultural followers is the real success. Knowing that the stories, told through my songs, connect people from all walks of life and the rejuvenation of my passion in music after years of dormancy brings me such contentment. I have only heartfelt gratitude to all the followers, family and friends for my music has truly come back to life and with that, so has my soul. I am constantly lit with passionate inspiration now and hence, my personal message to everyone is to pursue your dreams, no matter what.
BG: You’ve been rather insistent on only making music that has a message. Please share why it’s such an integral part of your process and how it’s impacted the relationship you have built with your audience.
QS: At this stage of my life, the lessons I have learnt through my global experiences merits for me to not just pursue my dream of making music but making a difference through it. I can never say it enough, fame and riches are not something I aspire towards with my music. Leveraging my music as a medium, as any true artist would, I have always wanted to convey a story, inspire nascent emotions, provide solace, spread happiness, and become the voice for those who need representation the most. I am merely at the start of this journey and I'm always looking towards God to help me through this. Again, it’s not about nobility as well. Music is such a strong element that has the ability to convey messages and emotions from within in a single note that may have otherwise taken a lifetime. It is this belief that has connected me to my followers in a unique way which I truly cherish.
BG: You have made it clear from day 1 that you are not interested in any lucrative aspect of the music industry. Would you attribute that to having, in parallel, a successful corporate profile?
QS: By the grace of God, I have led a successful career and have been fortunate to enjoy global respect and recognition in my profession. So, there is some truth to an extent. At the same time, I have always held music sacred and that is the reason I didn’t accept public performances for many years now, as many of my friends would gladly vouch for me. I have always felt music as something very personal to me, my space, hence my home studio has always been my safe place where I have had many fun music sessions with friends and family. Monetizing and sharing my music for many years felt inappropriate and hence I held it close to my chest. However, I am so happy I am able to share my music, share my joys and pains and make a difference at the same time. I continue to pursue my career with great rigor during the weekdays and create time over my weekends for music and hence am able to maintain a balance.
BG: Having released 4 international hit singles in 2021, are there any plans to record a full album in the coming year of 2022?
QS: Yes, God willing, I do plan to release an album this year. One can say that this would be a dream come true! Having an album to your credit is any artist’s legacy and notable achievement. I do hope my upcoming songs will continue to resonate with and surprise my followers. I say surprise because I would like to experiment and break even more boundaries with my music in all aspects in my future songs. Although the 4 songs I've released are already very different, my upcoming songs could venture even further from geography, genre, visuals, and topical perspective. So, stay tuned.
BG: With regards to your music, what new heights do you see for yourself in the next couple of years? What challenges would you like to overcome musically during that time frame?
QS: I feel my music in the last year itself has seen plenty of challenges and opportunities. Coming from obscurity, it was a challenge just to record and make my music known in a highly crowded space. Thereafter, staying consistent in making music and sharing it, thereby churning out four original songs within a year, is definitely a great challenge for a working professional like me and yet, also something I am proud of. Going forward, it is about expanding my horizons, choosing topics that matter, to not get carried away while retaining balance in life and remaining creative. The last thing I would like for my music is to become stereotypical and follow a beaten path. With music, I would rather create a path which matters and remain true to my music spirit, even if the journey is lonesome.
BG: With “Janaan” signifying hope, “Ankaha” solace, “Sona” love and “Khelein” Cricket, what can we expect from your upcoming single?
QS: My next song is going to be very different, once again and I plan to take my music beyond boundaries. I am truly excited about sharing it with my followers as it is going to be about a topic that would touch many hearts! The plan is to release it in February this year, which is approaching soon. I will share more about this as we get closer to launch!
Such a riveting yet humbling interview with the shining star of Pakistan. And as we wait with bated breath for Qamar Saleem's new single, there is only one thing left to do and that is to love each other a little more, be kinder to everyone and don't give up on your dreams.