Architect, mother and singer: California’s Afghan pop star
By Fazal Khaliq
SWAT: Mehr Angez, bestowed with both beauty and talent for singing, is knocking on the door of stardom with her debut single “Awargi”.
The song has become a sensational hit among the Afghan community worldwide because of its appealing concept and inspirational lyrics.
“I am a perfectionist and I am in a constant battle with myself to improve what I do artistically,” Angez told The Express Tribune over the phone.
Her voice has a powerful component that astounds, particularly in terms of voice quality. Though her singing style is somewhat similar to renowned singers such as Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali Khan, her voice retains a unique sober quality to it.
“Awargi” won Mehr Angez an award for Best Female Artist of the Year 2010 at Afghan Music Box Office, a people’s choice awards.
Commenting on the awards she said, “Winning awards is not very important to me. Singing is my passion and a hobby, and I do not want to politicise it.” She captivated millions with her May 2010 music video in which she appeared as a mature, talented Afghan woman illustrating her past and seeking to be discovered again.
Currently she is working on a short film where she questions God about the chaos and sadness in the world.
The singer, who started singing at the age of seven, hails from a prosperous family in Afghanistan and has a solid educational background. Her mother was a teacher, her father, a civil engineer. As her parents’ were not initially very inclined towards her hobby, she pursued her passion for music by performing before family and friends.
Things took a turn for the worst for her family, along with millions of other Afghans after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistanin in 1979. “We went through a rough patch when my father lost his job and came under government surveillance, but luckily we managed to escape Afghanistan,Â” she said. After short stays in Pakistan, Turkey, Romania and West Germany, they finally settled down in America.
Mehr earned a masters degree in Architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, a leading university in America. About her career, she said, “I am not a professional singer but singing brings me personal satisfaction.”
At present she is an architect, a wife and a mother of two children.
On visiting Pakistan and Afghanistan she said, “I would love to visit Pakistan and Afghanistan, though I am waiting to complete a few more songs. Also the security situation is not encouraging in either country.”
She undoubtedly is a pioneer in creating a modern, yet modest, image of Afghan women in America. She paved the way for young Afghan women to pursue their talents and skills while staying within the boundaries of religious and cultural norms. She has not forgotten about her homeland. Her thesis proposed an architectural outline for Kabul University students, particularly those who have suffered psychologically and emotionally in the wars.
“The three wars fought in Afghanistan have totally ruined the educational prospects of children there. They have not lost, but they fought a long time.”
Source: The Express Tribune