Qayas to Mor-Mehal: A success story of Umair Jaswal



LAHORE – Umair Jaswal is a Pakistani actor, singer, and music producer.
He is known for his power-packed live performances.

He started his career in 2008 by joining the rock band Qayas.
Umair gained popularity with the song ‘Tanha’.
He joined Coke Studio season 5 with his band in 2012 and performed the song Charkha Nolakha with Atif Aslam.
Being the son of a prominent scientist and having studied geology, the brilliant artist pursued his musical dream and in a short span of time gained popularity.
In an exclusive interview with The Nation he talks about his career.
Following are excerpts of the interview:

How did your music career start off?

My elder brother Yasir Jaswal had a band named Irtash.
I used to do photography for his concerts.
Being a photographer on stage, I would see them up-close performing jamming and rehearsing.
That inspired me towards music.

How does it feel like to be part of Pakistan music industry?

It’s a fantastic feeling to be associated with the music industry of Pakistan and being a prominent name of it.
I feel honored of being a part of it.

Tell us about Qayaas, how did it start?

Qayaas was the name of my band which disbanded year and a half ago.
We won a couple of international awards with that band; we start off in 2008 with our debut album “Us Paar”.
That band was a super group of musicians who were underground singing for almost 20 years and they came together for this band.
I was the lead vocalist of this band.
Qayaas was a big learning experience for me and my career.
I still miss the time we had with Qayaas and we have great memories.
All of us are now doing our music separately and I think it is a wise thing to do.
I wish everyone who was with me in Qayaas all the best for whatever they are doing.

How do you feel about being part of Coke Studio? Share your experience working with Naseebo Laal on your latest hit.

It’s a fantastic feeling being a part of Coke Studio.
It’s like my second home.
I am very fortunate and thankful to my fans as they keep writing  to Coke Studio bring me back and they keep calling me back.
Coke studio is the best thing that is happening in music and is keeping music alive in Pakistan right now.
Naseebo Lal is phenomenal folk singer, her scale of singing is so high, when I heard the song I was blown away and the first thing that came into my mind was how I am going to sing.
I took it as a challenge and I said I wouldn’t say no to it just because it was a difficult song to sing.
I am getting so much love for that song and people are really enjoying that song.
Her voice is phenomenal and she is an asset to our music industry, that’s what I believe.

We love how you are so casual with your fans and how actively you engage with them over social media.
But we all know how it is in the online world and while there’ll be many supporting you, there’ll be many sending you hate speech.
How do you handle and take that criticism?

Well, being criticized is part of what you do, criticism is very important as far as its constructive criticism.
Sadly what we see on social media is not critique, its hatred and intolerance.
This is my message to everyone.
How I deal with hatred and criticism: I laugh it out, because I actually feel its funny sometimes there are very hateful comments.
We artist and musicians are very sensitive people.
It does affect us whatever you guys write to us just know that we are trying our best to entertain you guys.
We are not doing it just for our own selves, we think of you guys every day when we create music or any art form.

We loved your role in More Mehal tell us something about it, How do you see yourself as an actor, are we going to see any new projects on the TV screens?

I have been very fortunate to land such a great role as my debut acting role.
Sarmad Khoosat is a phenomenal director and I am very happy and glad to be part of Mor Mahal.
I still believe that I am learning.
I am not an actor.
I am just learning from the best and following the greats.
Yes I will be working more as an actor and there will be more acting projects but I really have to like the script and I really have to love the character to do justice with the role.
Hopefully you guys will be seeing me in good projects.

Tell us about sound clash; are you a fan of Ali Azmat’s music? What type of music really inspires you?

Sound clash is fun; it’s basically an event which showcases two acts at the same time on two opposite stages.
They play songs one by one and they engage audience and check their reactions to see that who is performing better.
Ali Azmat is like my elder brother and I am like his younger brother.
There is no such thing as fight and clash between me and Ali Azmat.
I have been following Ali Azmat’s music since I was younger.

You’re all time favorite song?

Sweet child of mine by guns and roses.
That’s one song which is very close to my heart.
I covered it live for years.
As a kid I was known for it, that’s how I started music.
That song gave me fame and that song is really close to my heart.

Musicians you would love to collaborate with?

There is a long list of musicians I would like collaborate with.
I would like to collaborate with big names of Pakistan.
There are a few I have already worked with and it has been very awesome.
I would really love to work with Rahat and Abida Parveen! There is a list of underground musicians I would like to collaborate with.

What is your favorite musical instrument?

Guitar! I don’t play much instruments but guitar always fascinates me.
Acoustic guitar has to be my favorite musical instrument.

Any advice for the people who want to join the music industry any tips you want to give to them?

I just want to say I hope you are coming in for right reasons, I hope you know it’s not easy and it takes a lot of patience.
Some people get one hit and they go up and some people have to work for years to get that one hit.
I personally had to work 10 years where I am today, it takes a lot of sacrifices.
You might have to sacrifice friendships, you might have to sacrifice careers, be honest to yourself.
I did all of that! I did a lot of sacrifices to be here.
So come prepared and know your stuff.
Work hard and be positive.