It's been a few weeks since the first episode of Coke Studio Season 11 was aired. With new producers Ali Hamza and Zohaib Qazi in the house, we did not exactly know what changes to expect from this new team. Out of all other aspects, one thing was quite obvious that the lineup of backing vocals would have old names from the previous seasons. However, this wasn't the case as soon as we heard "Balkada" featuring Naghma, Lucky and Jimmy Khan. Besides the fact that the song was filled with power packed performances from the featured artists, the new backing vocalists definitely took our attention, and we couldn't help ourselves to pause the credits screen at the end of the song.
After utilizing our Social Media Stalking skills, we caught hold of Wajiha Naqvi on Facebook and then after little bit more effort on Instagram as well since she is with a cool insta handler of TRIBALGULABO. Anyhow, she was really sweet and agreed to give us a small interview. Check below Team Ravesh's conversation with Wajiha Naqvi
Where were you born and had your early educational?
"Born and raised in Karachi, did my entire schooling here up until A-levels".
How did Coke Studio happen?
"I was introduced to Zohaib Kazi over a year ago through a mutual friend as I wanted to share my music/explore ideas with him. We got along and kept in touch every now and then. Then one day he randomly reached out and asked me if I was open for an audition as a Backing Vocalist for CS season 11! I was pursuing a full-time job at the time and was really not expecting it!"
Describe your feelings when you went on the sets of Coke Sudio for the first time to record song.
"I was extremely excited! Yet nervous too ofcourse. The first song recorded with Backing Vocalists was Baalkada and the energy on set with Naghma, Lucky, Jimmy and the entire houseband was thrilling. We all enjoyed ourselves a lot, as we had this fun/friendly banter/exchange with the artists with our "THAA" and "HAANJI" and it shows in the video too!"
How was your experience working in Coke Studio with some of the biggest names in the music industry? Which one of them was most helpful?
"Sometimes I couldn't believe my eyes or ears. I was performing on songs with stars like Ali Azmat, Abida Jee, including all these extremely cool and talented musicians; the overall experience was great, especially for someone like me who is new to the commercial music scene- very comfortable yet refreshing. I loved working with my fellow backing vocalists, houseband, the entire production team- both the producers were also very supportive and let us be ourselves including the time when we said we didn't want to wear shoes! (We did that on Ghoom Charakhra). Its a huge task to pull off and everyone worked well together! I had the most fun working with Ali Azmat and Hassan Jehangir. Both are pioneers of different genres of music in the Pakistani music industry yet they were both extremely involved and entertaining throughout the process".
Do you think nepotism exist in the music industry?
"I'm pretty new to this space so can't comment much but I'm sure it does like in every industry".
Music in Pakistan is more of a journey than an art form, your comments on this?
"Not sure what this question means? For me music is more of a personal/spiritual journey and can also be used to express oneself to the outside world".
Today particularly, when music has been tied to tragedy, why is it so important to make sure for people to come together through music?
"Music definitely brings people together- it helps with healing, particularly in a place like Pakistan where there are limited avenues for people to live or express themselves freely. I felt that most strongly while teaching a music appreciation course at Szabist where a lot of my students expressed how music helps them deal with mental health and anxiety and I was relieved to hear that they had something to turn to in difficult times".
Where do you see yourself as a musician in the next few years?
"This is a tough one. I don't necessarily see myself as a musician. Though i've grown up performing at different private events including school and college concerts, I've only been pursuing proper eastern vocal training since the last couple of years. For me music is not just about being able to perform but it is deeply connected to a lot of other interdisciplinary interests including my academic training in anthropology and research on Sufi/sacred music in Pakistan. Similarly, I had been working in a full-time job in the development sector for the last 5 years in Karachi and worked on a lot of projects that have used arts and music to resolve/help mitigate conflict and violence in a diverse place like Karachi. This included helping establish an arts and cultural platform called I AM KARACHI. Currently I'm teaching a music appreciation course at Szabist too! So in the future, I'd like to continue learning/training and promote the field of music and culture, whether it is through research, performance or management, preferably all!"
Who is to be blamed for the downfall of the music industry? Quality of music or choices of audiences?
What is the best and worst thing about being Wajiha Naqvi?
"I really don't know what to say here :) There is no best thing! I just always want to do better".
Please give a small message to your followers.
"It feels funny writing a message to my followers because I've literally just started exploring my musical potential so don't feel equipped enough to start advising followers :) All i can really say, especially for people interested in exploring something creative or different than the traditional career path that don't let time or social pressures get the better of you- its never too late to do what you really want and if you are honest to yourself and others around you, things do eventually start falling into place. It's worth the risk"!
It was without a doubt most mature plus meaningful conversation we have had with any new and emerging artists. We wish her all the best for her future endevours and YES would love to see her in the music scene more often.