"It sometimes feels like it's too much."
Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab has scored a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
The singer’s Sufi-inspired jazz sounds made it to former US president Barack Obama’s summer playlist in July 2021.
Arooj’s song ‘Mohabbat’ was one of the few non-English songs on Obama’s playlist.
The former US president tweeted:
“With so many folks getting together with family and friends, there’s a lot to celebrate this summer.
“Here’s a playlist of songs I’ve been listening to lately – it’s a mix of old and new, household names and emerging artists, and a whole lot in between.”
‘Mohabbat’ is from Arooj’s third album Vulture Prince which was released in April 2021.
Vulture Prince was dedicated to her younger brother Maher who died earlier in 2021.
Arooj Aftab took to Instagram to acknowledge Obama’s recognition.
In the caption, she wrote:
“Well, this had been wonderful to wake up to! Thank you @barackobama.”
Arooj Aftab spoke about her latest album and called it “very relevant” for the current times.
The singer added: “The way things have been unfolding, it’s just madness. It’s crazy, and it sometimes feels like it’s too much.
“And I think that’s really the direction I threw myself in when we pivoted on Vulture Prince – and how it’s come out now and the time that it’s coming out.
“I think there’s a way for artists to say something with their work that is not always very direct.
“It’s not always like social activism, but it is, you know, in its subtlety and its grace.
“It can just be there very unimposingly. And I think, Vulture Prince, by design, I intended for it to have a lot of those elements in it.”
The highest honours in the music industry will be awarded at a ceremony in Los Angeles on January 31, 2022.
Arooj, who was born in Lahore, will be up against teen phenomenon Olivia Rodrigo.
Other Best New Artist nominees include country music singer Jimmie Allen, rapper Baby Keem, singer Finneas, British band Glass Animals, Korean-American rock group Japanese Breakfast, Australian breakout star The Kid Laroi, British singer Arlo Parks and rapper Saweetie.
Congratulations 64th #GRAMMYs Best New Artist nominees: @arooj_aftab, @JimmieAllen, @babykeem, @finneas, @GlassAnimals, @Jbrekkie, @thekidlaroi, @arloparks, @oliviarodrigo, and @Saweetie pic.twitter.com/y9Ot1DUn20
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) November 23, 2021
The singer released her first album Bird Under Water in 2015 and found critical acclaim.
Arooj Aftab followed up her success with her second album Siren Islands in 2018.
The New York Times included the album in its list of 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2018.