I always welcome healthy criticism with open arms: Danyal Zafar -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

I always welcome healthy criticism with open arms: Danyal Zafar

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHIGot to admit, the telly is an unforgiving and exceedingly unpredictable beast, requiring the broadcaster – be it of news or entertainment – to parade whirlwind quick reactions, be able to tackle whatever catastrophe that might unfold and emerge still able to string a line together.

Question is: Can you test such a thing though? Well, it turns out you can. You can set all your boundaries on fire during a consultation with a supposedly unflappable neophyte singer – and see how his composure holds.

Favourably, the new-fangled star who didn’t freak out by my tumultuous questionnaire is Danyal Zafar. Coke Studio season 10 gave Danyal his big break – permitting him to progress to ‘warm-up-man’, who is now pretty equipped to stand on his own, mildly swaying away from his superstar bro Ali Zafar’s celestial annexes.

There’s a resounding theme emerging here. He says his prime counsellors in the ‘music world of broadcasting’ are maestros like Jeff Buckley and John Mayer, men who are – and probably always will be – unsurpassed in their skill of taking everything in their stride and excelling nevertheless. Also an ardent Pink Floyd enthusiast, Danyal is raring to groove to a beat of his own.

 Regrettably, the true scale of Danyal’s vocal virtuosity is hard to estimate, as we’ve only heard him once – which gave birth to my first query: What exactly is Danyal’s rejoinder to the mixed feedback on his Coke Studio debut? To that, he tranquilly responds, “Honestly, I’ve been very satiated. There has been an equal outpour of love and support and the song is actually doing very well with views for CS10, so I guess that very much speaks for itself!”As the classic me, delved deeper into the ‘critical assessment’ side of things, he unabashedly countered, “I always welcome healthy criticism with open arms, because I believe learning is an everlasting process. But the amount of love being showered upon me has left me speechless, because everything has really surpassed my expectations!”

Getting uber animated and equally enthused, he added, “I mean, there are people who have messaged me expressing how the song has touched them to the point that they’ve even had a tear or two, or that they’ve been really inspired, or that they just feel so happy and good listening to it! When what you put forward inspires people, what else could be more blissful? I aspire to inspire, so this was truly a dream come true!”

With eminence, emanate expectations. Debuting on such a massive platform, viewed by incalculable audiences worldwide, most definitely stirs a hurricane in an upcoming star’s soul. How does he deal with that sort of revolting pressure to deliver?“I won’t deny that it has put immense pressure on me, but I guess any kind of pressure for any artist is always there, and I think such pressure is maybe even good for you. It helps you reevaluate the ground you stand on as an artist – you reflect on all your next decisions and moves. But all that has sprung out from this was so fantastic that I feel even more confident with all the material I have to deliver now,” he asserted with a spirited glint in his eye. And I somehow believe him!

His song Muntazir was a duet alongside Momina Mustehsan who too grossed herself a name, courtesy Coke Studio. Since Afreen, expectations from Momina skyrocketed – and several music routines later, she’s categorically become the flag-bearer of diverse reviews – a cluster of love teamed with a horde of odium. Probed as to whether he thinks it would’ve been a smarter move to have debuted the same song independently or through a solo song; would it have received a far more affirmative feedback?

 “I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that whatever happens, happens for a reason. Hence, there is no point in speculating all these scenarios of what could’ve been otherwise. The essence of the song was based upon feelings between a boy and a girl. So me singing it independently would’ve actually taken away from it. Momina brought her own element into the song, and it just added to it. It couldn’t have been more perfect,” Danyal confessed – though I might disagree to that!Another overwhelming consequence to fame is a new-found status.

Individuals, and by individuals, I mean the youth and otherwise, have increasingly been making evaluations and comparisons with Ali Zafar. How is he handling his brand-new popularity, especially the torrid currents of female fan base?

To that he endearingly quips, “Fame for me is all about the love people have to give to you, and it’s been crazy, honestly. But I’m a very composed person, I know where my ground are, so I try my best giving back as much love as I can. I try replying to as many people as I can, thanking them for their kind words and thoughts.”

He further assured me: “Nothing’s really changed for me as a person, except for the fact that I’m just more grateful and humbled, because of the immense love I’ve been receiving”. We’ll have to take his word for it – he is after all swiftly converting into a fan favourite and is still very much rooted to the earthy terrain – which isn’t just notable, but infrequent. Kudos to him for that!The Muntazir crooner better be influencing fans soon with his breathy folk vocals to keep himself garden-fresh and relevant. So what’s next for Danyal Zafar? Any peppy singles or intense albums coming out in order to sweep more aficionados off their feet?

“Yes, I’ve been working on my album for a while now. I think just a song or two are left to be written and it’ll be ready to go. It’s almost near complete. I’m aiming for the end of this year to put my stuff out there. Let’s see,” revealed Danyal with his fingers crossed. He concluded the interview with a beaming, gurgling smile and hope in his eyes.

Illustrious now for presenting himself through an-anything-but-featherweight Coke Studio, and promptly churning into the new generation of social-media-savvy personages, for Danyal, a solo album is as old-school and left-field as it gets. And that, my friends, is the way to go!

The Express Tribune

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