"I work mostly with Electronic and Indie Pop genres."
Lahore-born Abdullah Siddiqui has been touted as the future of the Pakistani music scene and is introducing the country to Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
At just 18 years old, a lot of people are expecting him to make it big. The sound of his voice is a fresh touch to modern day music.
His track ‘Resistance’ was released in August 2018 and it got him recognised. The song had a foreign feel to it and it went viral on social media.
Siddiqui’s song featured on Pakistani music show Nescafé Basement on March 16, 2019. The song was viewed more than 2.4 million times in just three days.
Despite the song gaining immense popularity in Pakistan and in other countries, ‘Resistance’ was not one which took a lot of time.
Siddiqui said: “I wrote and recorded the song in three days. I was really unwell and it just kind of resonated in the lyrics.
“I tend to write songs that might describe my state of mind. I don’t really rationalise it. But once I read what I’ve written again, it all makes sense to me.”
Siddiqui has always enjoyed music growing up and spoke about the genres he works with.
“I work mostly with Electronic and Indie Pop genres.
“My maternal side has always been into music. No family event would be complete without it. So, I’ve always been around music and grew up with it.”
Siddiqui’s musical style of EDM and Indie Pop is a fresh approach to the electronic music scene that exists in Pakistan but is not fully appreciated.
While EDM is very popular across the world, cities in Pakistan have not experienced the full potential of such a lively genre.
We look at why that is and how Abdullah Siddiqui could be the one that paves the way for other artists at just 18 years of age.
How Abdullah Siddiqui became Recognised?
Despite the talent shown in his music, Abdullah Siddiqui is not a full-time musician. He is still studying for his A-Levels.
He has not had any professional training but learnt what needed to be done from an early age.
“I’ve been playing the guitar since I was nine-years-old. I started producing music a year after that. So, it’s been eight years since I’ve been producing songs.”
‘Resistance’ gained a lot of attention from within the social media industry and it circulated on social media.
It eventually attracted the attention of Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan (Xulfi), the creator of Nescafé Basement.
See Abdullah Siddiqui’s Performance of ‘Resistance’.
Siddiqui spoke about the moment when Xulfi first came across the song.
“That’s when Xulfi came across it. He later added me on Facebook.
“Then, I considered auditioning for the show. But luckily, the day I was actually thinking about it and was about to start recording, Xulfi messaged me on Facebook, asking me to drop by his studio and discuss the song further.”
Nescafé Basement is dedicated to underground artists being given a platform to perform live.
The song was revamped in terms of visuals in detail to maximise the impact of the song.
“It was Xulfi’s vision, the graphics, the changes of the song. He had thought it through to the very last detail.”
The song was not altered as Xulfi liked it, he just wanted the song and Siddiqui to receive more exposure.
“Xulfi didn’t want to change it all. He liked the song for what it was. He just thought Resistance didn’t have enough audience.
“He had a very clear idea on how he wanted to do it. He wanted the soul of the song to remain the same. Had I had complete control on the changes, I wouldn’t have done it any differently.”
The exposure paid off as Siddiqui’s performance has been viewed over 2.4 million times.
EDM Music in Pakistan
Although EDM has been around since the late 1980s when it was the genre of nightclubs, it has not experienced the height of popularity that it has over the last decade.
It’s increasing popularity has seen EDM become categorised as mainstream music.
Pakistan also recognises the popularity of EDM with many amateur and professional DJs showcasing their talent.
However, there are some who are unaware of the skills that a DJ needs to produce quality electronic music. For them, a DJ is someone who plays music at a wedding ceremony.
Those who do practice the art form only do it as a hobby because they cannot sustain themselves on local gigs.
Faisal Baig, one of Pakistan’s most famed DJs, said:
“Lahore has a good scene now with new people diving in, technology has made it possible for more people to try spinning and producing but mostly they keep it at a hobby level.
“EDM artists cannot sustain themselves on local gigs alone, and that’s why the professional scene just does not pick up.”
This is why many EDM fans are listening to overseas musicians as opposed to local talent.
Audiences are still small when compared to mainstream music but there are still people trying to revive the genre.
Siddiqui has explained that EDM has a future in Pakistan:
“It’s not just me but many other individual artists who are bringing the EDM to Pakistan. It is an active choice to work with this particular genre.
“However, I don’t think people comprehend that Pakistanis consume a lot more EDM or Pop than we usually think.
“But the problem is, it’s all international. It’s just not produced locally. I do think though, that EDM has a bright future in this country.”
The aspiring musician plans on taking his talents full-time after he has completed his degree.
“I plan on making music while getting a degree and continuing my studies. I hope, in the not so distant future, I see myself become a full-time musician.”
At such a young age, Abdullah Siddiqui is already so talented and he can only get better.
His popularity will grow throughout Pakistan and will hopefully inspire others to create EDM music.
It could potentially increase the popularity of the EDM genre in Pakistan, especially as it is considered a mainstream genre in the western world.