Selina Rashid – Against the odds

Selina Rashid

Selina Rashid

“Are you sure you don’t need to warm up before we go in there?” I asked Selina when we arrived at the studio and home of the person she was literally going to audition for. “No, no” she responded nodding her head, as if to suggest that I shouldn’t be worry. At that exact moment, I couldn’t help but begin to, slightly.

Sometime, almost a year and a half ago, Rohail Hyatt was looking for female vocalists who would do backing vocals for a music fusion project he had in mind. I had initially known Selina from the public relations and artiste management firm, Lotus PR; she had started in August 2007, originally from Lahore. Over time, I had heard of her singing and collaborating with several mainstream musicians in underground performances in Lahore. Some of the other local music aficionados I had been in touch with, told me she sang really well. Till that fateful afternoon we arrived at Rohail’s place however, I hadn’t heard her sing myself and kept my fingers crossed that this would go well.

There is one thing about Selina that is immediately noticeable: she exudes warmth and confidence everywhere she goes and with everyone she meets. That’s exactly what she brought with her during that first meeting with Rohail. After introductions and the accompanying small talk were made, she – without a moment’s hesitation or breaking a sweat – stood up in one corner and prepared to sing. I held my breath.

Her tone was deep and her vocals came out strong. She sang an abridged version of Killing Me Softly by The Fugees. She was free of inhibitions when she sang and that made it all the more ‘real’ – at least for me. I was pleasantly surprised and a tad blown away. She was immediately selected and appeared in the first installment of that show sometime last year.

It was during the rehearsals for that show when I found out that the fact that she could even sing something short of a miracle. “I have a growth in my vocal chords called polyps” she said, adding that when she was young, she was told she’d never be able to become a professional singer. If she sang too much and stressed out her vocals, she would lose her voice and would have to rest her throat and would have to rest her throat and take medication to restore it.

“I think I was born with it and had surgery for it when I was really young” she said, adding with a laugh that, “although my parents to this day maintain that it was because I talk too much!” while studying in college in London, she sought vocal training that has since then helped her manipulate her vocals to use them in a stronger, better manner… and helped in singing! She still maintains however that even now, she can’t sing too much at a time because it might stress her vocal chords.

Her love for music was perpetuated by the fact that she has spent many hours with her brother, Amir (known more popularly as Buzzy), who went to a music and drama school, writing and composing songs in random jam sessions they did with a Lahore-based musician called Jimmy.

Having majored in Politics (known as Political Science in North American universities) from the University of Warwick, she joined Avelon, a PR agency until she came back to Pakistan and established her own, Lotus PR, in August 2007 and hasn’t looked back. She’s conqured the odds that faced her: she continues to sing and perform on and off despite being once told she never would be able to. And she does it all with an easy-going attitude and bright smile. I think the lyrics of the last song I heard her sing randomly, Sittin’ on the dock of the bay by Otis Redding describe her easy-going attitude pretty well:

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch ‘em roll away again, yeah

– Photo by Kohi Marri

– Article by Madeeha Syed

Source: BANDBAJI | Madeeha Syed