Meet Rahim Khan – Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Emerging Pakhtun Talent

I’ve known Rahim for a little over a year now; and although we haven’t met face-to-face yet (we will when I visit Pakistan early next year), we have grown close over the past year. He is now like a dear brother to me.

Recently, I’ve had the privilege to interview him about his great singing talent, as well as some of the wonderful things that he has accomplished thus far — not only musically, but personally as well.

However, before I go any further, I have to say how much I admire people who can actually sing; and sing well! We have a plethora of very incredible Pakhtun singers, namely Zarsanga, Zeb & Haniya, Sardar Ali Takkar, Irfan Khan, Haroon Bacha, Humayun, Nashenas, and Gulzar Alam – just to name a few, who have sung songs ranging from Ghani Khan’s beautiful poetry to Sufism to patriotism to love. And, it won’t be long that Rahim, too, would join the ranks (if he hasn’t done so already) of these brilliant singers and musicians. Like them, he has proved to be a wonderful and worthy singer, whose soft, melodic, and soulful voice resembles that of the former popular Pakistani singer turned Islamic vicar, Junaid Jamshed.

Indeed, there is no doubt that Rahim is one of the greatest – if not THE greatest – emerging Pakhtun talent to come out of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

And now, without further ado, I present his interview below. Enjoy!

***

1. Please tell me a little about yourself, i.e.: your background, age, where you were born, level of education, etc. (If you feel that some of the questions are too personal, you are not obligated to answer them, of course.)

Well, I was born in Peshawar in 1985 and I belong to the land of Ghani Khan, Charsadda! Peshawar is where I have studied; I did my L.L.B from the University of Peshawar and I am now a practicing lawyer besides cooking music.

2. What made you decide to go into music and singing in the first place? Was it something that you grew up with, or was it something that you just recently got interested in?

Music is something I’ve grown up with. As far as I can recall, I was always addicted to music. The hair brush was always my microphone and my squash racket was always my guitar. My tuned voice was Allah’s gift, but when I was around six or seven years old, I started taking formal training in music.  That is how I acquired more sense and polished my vocals. So I learned music and took these lessons for a good one and a half years or so.

3. Where and from whom do you get your inspiration from with regards to your music?

Oh, since my childhood, the only artists I listened to were vital signs, Junaid Jamshed (as a solo act), and of course Michael Jackson; as well as Madonna. It was not only their music, but also their fancy album covers that fascinated me a lot! *laughs* Later on, as I grew older, I also fell in love with Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), Frank Sinatra, and David Gilmoure’s Pink Floyd. Barbara Streisand and Stacy Kent also inspired me.

4. Where do you see yourself going with your music? Do you plan to keep it underground, or do you hope to promote your music nationally and internationally?

I not an underground artist as I have made on and off television appearances, but little you may say. I was only seven years old when I performed on PTV (Peshawar centre) back in 1992. Later on, in 2008, I performed on a new music channel called K2,  and I am glad to say that my music was and still is well appreciated around the globe; and not only in Pakhtun, but also in Pakistani and Indian communities, in general. And recently, Pakistan’s top film and television director Mehreen Jabbar (www.mehreenjabbar.com) incorporated my Pakhto song ‘KHUDAAYA‘ in her very recent television serial ‘Daam’, and you won’t believe the response I have received so far; it is just so superb!

5. What are your other hobbies besides singing?

Well, besides music, I am a lawyer by profession. Apart from that, I am the social editor of a Lahore-based lifestyle magazine called ‘Ink’. I am constantly interviewing local and international celebrities for that, and at times, I pen pieces for it. I love writing stories as well. Just recently, I penned a story about a multiple sclerosis patient and I am keeping my fingers crossed –  hopeful – that it will be carved into a television serial soon. I am also into photography, painting, and reading; actually, you could say that I am a true art lover.

6. Do you play any musical instruments? If so, please name them and let us know how you’ve learned to play them.

I play the guitar and Chitraali (from the word “Chitraal”) sitar. I have been playing both since a very young age, and now I am currently learning to play the rabab. I am self taught.

7. Did you ever take singing lessons to perfect your voice? If so, who was your instructor? And do you still take ongoing lessons from this instructor?

Like I said,  I’ve always had a tuned voice but as we all know, one needs to be formally trained to learn music in order to enter the music world, so I took almost two years of training from my music teacher; his name was Wilson sahib, back in 1992/1993. He really helped polish my voice and provided me with knowledge about the different types of music. Ever since then, I have been practicing my vocals regularly to this day.

8. How would you describe your music? What distinguishes you, or makes you unique, from the other mainstream Pakhtun singers that currently exist in the media today?

I believe that through my sincere efforts, I must bring Pakhto music into the mainstream, as well as into the international scene! Also, I am a very proud Pakistani and I believe that I need to work a lot on the Urdu language tracks, as well other regional languages!  I think it’s for my fans to judge how different my music is from the current lot of singers. However, I just focus on my own work, and at the moment, I have one main goal and that is to bring Pakhto music, in particular, to the international and local mainstream.

I am very happy and thankful to Allah that so far I have just tasted success and nothing else. I’ve never been fond of the typical Pakhto melodies that we still have today; I guess that’s the main reason behind my success! I sincerely have a vision in mind for our Pakhto music and I want to showcase it to the world in style and elegance! I want to change the ages old face of our Pakhto music and hence look forward to making collaborations/duets of my songs with international artists, as well as our Pakistani artists.

9. Have you ever appeared in the media? If so, please name them all. And, if possible, provide some video clips/photos.

Yes, I have appeared on television on numerous occasions. However, I believe in appearing on television only when I have something new and fresh to offer to my fans!

You can catch some of my videos on my official YouTube channel

10. Describe yourself in three words.

Optimistic, bold, and go getter!

11. Is there anything else you’d like to add, before we wrap-up this wonderfully enlightening interview?

My message is that Pakistan needs us in these hard times! It’s our motherland that has given us a name; it’s where we’re born; it has fed us and provided us shelter and still feeds us! We Pakhtuns really need to unite; we need to throw away our prejudices; we don’t need to announce that we are proud Pakhtuns or proud Punjabis or proud Sindhi’s or proud Balochis. It’s time that we unite, serve our land, and announce to the entire world that we are proud Pakistanis.

Love to all! May ALLAH bless us all! Make sure to catch me on my official Facebook page under the name, RAHIM KHAN.

© November, 2010

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