Zameer Talks About His Debut Album and Upcoming Projects (Interview)

by Hani Arif

Zameer Rizvi is a Canada based musician and released his great debut album From under the bleachers in 2009, here is a little Q & A session with him, done by myself.

1). Why do you think your album release didn’t get you the popularity of a white skinned artist would have gotten with the type of the songs on your debut album “under the bleachers”, Is it a defect in Marketing from your part or are the music purchasers to blame here?

I think good music transcends skin colour. I feel that the success of my debut album was neither helped nor hindered by my race. I think our marketing was really successful actually! Without expecting it, one of my songs was licensed by the Paralympics, I had the opportunity to perform on a cruise with John Mayer, my album was produced by a 5 time Grammy award winner, and I toured North America, Europe and Pakistan, all while maintaining a very comfortable living.

2). Are you satisfied with the response for the album ,”under the bleachers”?

I’m thrilled with the response! It was a self-released album, and my expectations were in proportion to that. I didn’t expect this to sell millions. An album release on iTunes costs $20 and anyone can put anything up for sale there. That’s what I did, and hoped for the best. I got more than I asked for and I’m grateful for the wonderful response.

3). Did you ever consider that as an artist it would be more satisfying in Urdu from the amount of feedback you could have gotten compared to when singing in English?

I don’t do this for the feedback or response. I do this because I love it. So no, I didn’t consider changing my art to get more feedback. I do love Urdu, and grew up speaking it. And in the future I intend to write an Urdu album, but not because I want feedback. I’ll do it because I feel like doing it. I also disagree that an Urdu artist gets a better response than an English one. Bryan Adams sells out stadiums in Karachi. He sings in English.

4). The track “Yaad” which you did in Urdu, do you have further plans to make more songs like that or will you be sticking to English as the language of choice?

Absolutely, ‘Yaad’ is the 3rd single off my first Urdu album which will be released later this year. Other singles that have already been released include ‘Rahon Ko’ and ‘Jannat’.

5). Being in Canada, do you think there is enough of a music community to share ideas with and jamming with other than people from your own band ?

Canada is definitely small, and its population is only 10% of that of the US. However, Toronto is huge, and is one of the largest metropolitan cities on the continent, with around 7 million people. There is a huge independent music movement, and there are an incredible number of talented people to jam with. This why I change my band line-up so often, every time I play with someone new, I have to bring them on stage with me!

6).When can we expect the next album to be out ?

My next English album will be out in the beginning of 2011. My first Urdu album will be out this year!

7).Any plans to perform in other parts of the world other that North America or Europe?

Well I did 4 shows in Pakistan in last April — and I intend on going back to promote my Urdu album. I also intend on hitting the road in India and more countries in the UK.

8). Do you write/play for other artists as well or are open to do so in the future?

I have a very musical family, and they are a great bunch of people to collaborate with. Between my brother’s band (DeadShyre), my cousins’ band (Noori) and the amazing band I tour with, I am very pleased with the creative output we generate. In addition, I am always open to collaborating with other artists in the future.

9).Could you throw some light on your song “mind over murder” as its despite being very interesting can be quite controversial looking at just the words?

I grew up in Saudi Arabia and in Pakistan and lived there until my mid-teens. I am familiar with the sentiment of the peoples of these Islamic countries towards the west. I understand having criticism. But I don’t understand being filled with hatred, anger and violence. In ‘Mind Over Murder’ I write about my dissatisfaction with violent and hateful means of expression promoted by religious extremists and fundamentalists.

10). Any message for your fans?

I’m nothing without you. Thank you for your support, and I promise to remain most loyal to you.

Hani writes full time on his website