Five musicians heading for the top

July 26, 2009

There are always iconic musicians to every era who put professionalism in an energetic new light, here’s Instep’s list of five people who will define the decade in terms of presence.

Ali Hamza (Musician)
From singing with his brother Ali Noor to strumming the banjo for Ali Zafar and Saieen Zahoor at Coke Studio, this year has been the comeback of Noori and the spotlight is now on Ali Hamza. His voice has an unmistakable signature and with time Ali Hamza has proven that not only is he a fantastic singer but he is also versatile enough to carry ‘Jo Meray’ and ‘Aik Alif’ with distinct style. Fans of Noori have always wanted to see more of Ali Hamza and 2009 has made all their dreams come true! Ali Hamza burst out onto the music scene years ago with the incredibly tongue in cheek song based on an expletive, and over the years he has evolved – via countless performances and two stellar albums with Noori – to emerge on his own as one of the beacons for the Pakistani music industry. This year’s Coke Studio saw him passing on his own experience to the house band’s backing vocalists, and we expect to see more of Ali Hamza in the years to come.

FawadFawad Khan (Musician/actor)
Ever since he appeared on television for the now-iconic Battle of the Bands competition that gave birth to Entity Paradigm (EP) and Aaroh, Fawad Khan has emerged as a star to look out for. Often compared to Tom Cruise (not for the erratic behaviour and mad sofa-hopping, but as far as the clean-cut heartthrob look goes) and hugely talented: he’s not just a great singer, but also a talented actor and performer. His role in the hit film Khuda Kay Liye and dance performance at last year’s Lux Style Awards catapulted him onto every television channel, and to top it off: he’s erudite and charming and can hold his own (and look gorgeous too!) while Aaminah Sheikh swishes her hair against him in the flirtatious television advertisement for Clear shampoo.


Gumby (Musician)
He is not a conventional choice but then Gumby is anything but conventional. He is the best drummer in the country and no one else has been able to usurp his throne as yet. Scratch that – no one has even come close.
Gumby’s playful attitude and his ability to adapt from artists to genres is astonishing. He can play jazz blues with as much style as rock music. At concerts, Gumby has become iconic. From children to adults, the man commands attention. He may not have billboards or endorsements like pop acts but Gumby’s star has been on the rise since he started out as a teenager. His roster of work is immense, he’s incredibly popular with musicians and his versatility makes him adapt to everyone, from young acts like Kaavish as well as now-established and super popular bands like Strings. He never gets boring: Gumby plays a different tune every time. His style – from the quirky ponytail to the straight mane – that he’s been sporting during Coke Studio is as varied as his music, and Gumby has literally emerged as one of the biggest musical icons of our time.

Omran ShafiqueOmran Shafique (Musician)
If anyone knows how to make a stunning mark, it’s Omran Shafique. Within a short span of time, Omran has become an integral part of the music industry. He fronts the punk-funk outfit Mauj and his talent is splattered all over their self-titled debut record (currently available online for purchasing) and that’s not all. Omran is a part of Co-VEN and he is a part of Ali Azmat’s live as well as studio band. And then there is Coke Studio where Omran has proven his mettle as a pure musician.
As a performer, Omran Shafique has just the right attitude onstage. He’s cool, laid-back and he can play with the best of them. His ever-changing looks – from long curly hair to short, slight stubble to clean cut to a French beard – Omran’s always experimenting with his look, quite like his music. And he knows how to pull it off.

ObaOmar Bilal Akhtar (Musician)
Front man of the upcoming band (the rather creatively titled) Aunty Disco Project – Omar Bilal Akhtar may just be the next musician to truly personify rock star after Ali Azmat. OBA, as he is popularly known, has garnered quite a fan following not just because of his music and the rock star vibe he gives out at concerts, but also because of his highly witty blog ( where he talks about everything under the sky, including the trials and tribulations of trying to make it big in the Pakistani music industry. It’s the same irreverence and attitude and the same penchant for leather pants that Ali Azmat was known for during Junoon’s years of glory, and Omar is definitely on the radar of musicians on the verge of becoming Pakistan’s next big superstars.

Source: The News | Instep