False ME246 Ahmed Jehanzeb: The Wonder Boy Interview by Genevieve Makris It is not often that one comes across a child prodigy who is also a good performer. Young genius is usually too introverted or innocent of the way of the world to be direct about winning it. But Ahmed Jehanzeb ( www. ahmadjehanzeb. com) displays mastery, not only vocally and instrumentally, but also in the art of crowd control. “ THE WONDER BOY”, the title given by Gulf’s Khaleej Times, Ahmed Jehanzeb is the son of Capt. Safir Ahmed a renowned and active music lover whose regular musical evenings were organized entirely through his own persistent love for the art. Growing up in this environment, which most connoisseurs in the city are well aware of, stimulated Ahmed Jehanzeb who began to sing when he was only 4 years old. It was quite sure that his continual efforts and unflinching interest would one day bear its fruits, and it certainly did. He became the youngest singer to launch his 1st Album titled “ THE WONDER BOY” at the age of 8 years. It was a memorable occasion, as Government Dignitaries, Film and TV personalities were present to congratulate Ahmed Jehanzeb on this amazing achievement. Recording an album at the tender age of 8 created an event unforeseen in the history of music. Furthermore, he proved his talents on the 5th of February 1989, on his Rasm- e- Gandha Bandhi, he showed the world how important Taleem ( education) is from a good ustad ( scholar). Ahmed Jehanzeb completely changed form the day Ustad Rais Khan accepted him as his shaghird ( pupil). Sunday Times, South Africa called him the Singing Sensation from Pakistan, when he toured South Africa in 1990 and performed all over with an estimated 40 shows. SABC Radio Lotus awarded him the title Youngest Ghazal Singer, and was also named Youngest Singer/ Performer/ Musician by South African Television. Ahmed will be expanding his market into the US with his upcoming single duet with the rising American R& B star, Zahra. The song “ Together” sends a message of love and peace, though the artists are from two different parts of the world and sing in two different languages— Ahmed in Ordu and Zahra in English. The song will be released through Arusa Music Entertainment in late summer and is expected to be a hit worldwide. “ Together” is featured at the artists’ “ Best of Both Worlds” website www. zahraandahmed. com.
False ME247 What would you consider your biggest accomplishment? Ans: I think I have yet to achieve it, but until now, I would say getting signed by India’s largest Music Films Company, TIPS and playback singing and being a part of Pakistan’s History making, record breaking film “ In The Name of God”, directed by Mr. Shoaib Mansoor. Explain the type of individual that would be drawn to your music? Ans: I can’t say my music is for a certain individual; my music is for everyone who loves music as I believe strongly that “ Music has no language and no boundaries”. My music is from my heart and I am very passionate about it, music is just like a religion to me, and I take it very seriously, and music which is pure, it definitely draws everybody to it. What was your big break into the industry? Ans: My big break came in 2001, when I released my first single “ Ek Bar Kaho” meaning “ Say it Once…… that ur mine”, it was a huge success, it was also taken as an OST for a drama series in which I played the lead role also. The drama was based on our Folklore love story titled “ Laila Majnoo”; their story is similar like “ Romeo and Juliet”. After my big break, there was no looking back and by the grace of Almighty, he has made me achieve a lot in a very short span of time. What American artists would you like to work with? Ans: I would love to work with everyone if given a chance but some of my favorites are John Mayer, Sting, U2, Beyonce and Celine Dion. I am very excited to be working with Zahra on our upcoming duet “ Together”. She is a very talented artist and our song has a beautiful message for everyone. What genre in Pakistan is your music under, does it fit into a similar category in the U. S? Ans: My genre is Urdu Soul, Urdu being our mother tongue and yes it definitely fits in the category of Soul and R& B in the US. How does the music scene in Pakistan differ from the American market? Ans: The music scene is very different from the US, we don’t have all the resources that an artist in the US enjoys, our industry is still in its infancy period, but its all changing pretty fast with the media boom and we believe that in the coming years it’s going to be much better. Also the US market is huge compared to our market but keeping this entire aside we have achieved a lot with limited resources and without any support from the government or anyone and we still have a long way to go. Our music is very rich and melodious and we have started making our presence felt across the border in India and pretty soon globally. If you would compare your self to an American musician, who would it be? Ans: I think I can relate myself to John Mayer. What quality about yourself would you want the American market to be aware of? Ans: My training in pure eastern classical music, it’s my secret weapon, which I have been learning since the age of 9. What has been your most surreal moment as far as being an entertainer? Ans: The most surreal moment was when my song “ Tilak Kamod”, it’s a classical raga, which I did for the film “ In the Name of God”, received thunderous applause at the film’s premiere, it was a screening for the big wigs of our music and film industry, and to be appreciated by them, it was an amazing feeling. How do you stay grounded in your industry? Ans: My family keeps me grounded, especially my father, because of whom I am what I am today, my family is my biggest critic also. And besides that I am always working in my studio when I am free, producing something new and learning from my mistakes and I try to deliver better each and every time. Check out Ahmed's latest collaboration with American R& B artist Zahra at www. zahraandahmed. com