LAST WORD : Half Hour With Zaw Ali...
Everyone knows you as this immensely talented musician but who is Zaw Ali really? Tell us about yourself.
That’s such a vast question, that I’m afraid I’d get way too philosophical answering it so I guess I’ll just say “Hi I’m Zaw and I like taking long walks on the beach.”
We absolutely have to ask you about your father, the legend, Sajjad Ali; is he the reason you are a musician?
Haha, you definitely have to add my mother to the list because thanks to their collective genes, I do what I do. I grew up in an extremely fun and intellectual environment where we would discuss music one minute, philosophy the next; literature on one hand and cinema on the other. I literally either grew up in a recording studio or on the set of a music video. My father always believed in his children to find their own interest and then fully support them by providing a guideline and always inspiring us to become our best selves, so naturally his contribution has been the greatest.
Who is your greatest musical inspiration (apart from your father of course) and why?
I’ve been exposed to music from all over the world growing up, so the influence is quite diverse. But my ultimate musical inspiration has to be the queen – Mallika-e-Tarannum Madam Noor Jehan. There has never been an artist like her nor will there ever be.
If we were to walk into your room at any given moment, what will we find playing in the background?
You’d either find me singing my own heart out or listening to my favourite western classical composers while I paint.
Which of your own songs do you like best and if you could pick an artist to cover that song, who would it be?
It’s still too early to say because I feel like I’m still coming into my element every single day and the kind of music I’ve got lined up is where you will fully get to know my sound. I’m really excited for these original releases and then perhaps we can circle back to this question.
In our entertainment industry we often see actors releasing songs and musicians trying their hand at acting. Would you consider acting in a movie or a film?
Maybe if I’m doing a cameo as myself then I wouldn’t mind at all, but acting is really hard and I don’t know anything about it. I would love to write a film though.
When you make music, do you usually channel personal experiences or do external events inspire you?
Artists are empaths. They have the ability to channel a particular circumstance or a certain feeling. Artists can easily become that person and think and feel from their point of view which is why a collective audience can relate to several aspects of a song. One doesn’t necessarily have to go through something personally to be able to pen down a feeling. My stuff is a mixture of both so when I sing, I sing that feeling into existence as best I can.
When you’re not making music, what do you do to relax?
I love taking spontaneous road trips, planning movie marathons, having carrom tournaments and hitting laser tag with my friends.
Can you imagine doing something else? If you weren’t a musician what would you be doing?
Well, I started out as a film journalist then evolved into a film maker by directing several music videos before professionally taking up singing. But if I were not an artist I would be an archaeologist ‘cause I love history and anthropology.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Within the next five years I hope to have changed the landscape of our music industry through my melodies and artistic expression and represent our music internationally. I aspire to create an identity not just as a versatile artist but a creative mind which isn’t scared to fully honour its existence. I wish to touch the hearts of my listeners with beautiful and music one song at a time, and maintain a genuine image just like my father has done all these past decades.
Do you have a maxim that you live by?
You never stop learning till there’s soil in your ears.
And finally tell us something about yourself that other people would never guess about you.
I’ve got a bucket list that contains solely roller coasters.