Thursday, May 10, 2012

“I felt so much love from the crowd in Quetta!”

interview: sound bytes

Singer Annie Khalid tells Instep Today about performing in Quetta collaborating with A1 and deciding not to be a part of Sur Kshetra

“I never wanted the night to end! It was magical! I am taking back beautiful memories of you guys to Lahore and hope you will call me again soon. Quetta rocks,” Annie Khalid wrote on her Facebook page after performing in the city last month. In an interview with Instep Today, Annie talks about performing in Quetta for the very first time and a lot more…

Instep Today: You performed in Quetta recently. How did the performance go?
Annie Khalid:
The performance was amazing. We had a really good turnout despite the city being on red alert the whole time. It was quite daunting in the beginning and kind of scary, but the overall performance was great and the feeling that I had when I left was just overwhelming. I felt so much love from the crowd in Quetta.

Instep Today: How many people were in attendance? And how was their response?
It was about 2000 people total, because it was a very small intimate crowd and the venue (the Taj Mahal Hall) was very small too. But according to the venue it was quite full, like jam-packed. Because of that reason I was also able to have a very intimate one on one concert with the fans. I was able to talk to them, listen to them and get to know them. And every single song that I would sing, they would sing back to me and that was the best feeling in the world.

Instep Today: Have you ever performed in Quetta before?
No, this was the first time and it was a very good experience.

Instep Today: Were you concerned about the political condition in Quetta while planning the concert?
When I was told about the concert I was a bit concerned and I discussed my concerns with my manager and parents obviously because it's not one of the safest places to be in right now. But you know, my dad said that if we don't muster up the courage and go to places like Quetta where people claim it's not safe, then what about the residents and their entertainment? They also want to have some fun and enjoy themselves. God forbid if anything has to happen it will happen and I just believe in that. We were very optimistic about it and we knew that Insha'Allah nothing will happen. We are going to go have a good time and make it a night to remember. And it sure was memorable!

Instep Today: Can you share any memorable incident from that day with us?
Everything about that day was memorable. The moment we landed and stepped into the bullet proof cars, being surrounded by so much security obviously is very overwhelming - kind of scary. But you know what, it was just memorable from the get go straight down to the evening. Before the concert, meeting up with all the fans, taking pictures and having a one on one meet and greet session was so much fun. You also get to hear their stories of life in Quetta. So many people have been living there and it's their home. They all are waiting for a change and their optimism is so gratifying.

Instep Today: How much has the country's security situation affected artists?
It has affected the artists a lot because getting NOCs to perform and not being able to reach out to your fans is very sad. As an artist, it's very important to perform and sing your songs in front of your fans and you don't get to do that which is quite upsetting.

Instep Today: Is there any location in Pakistan where you would particularly like to perform?
I have been to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. I have been to Baluchistan. I have performed in Punjab. I have performed in Sindh. MashaAllah I have seen almost all of Pakistan but there is one place I haven't been to and that is Swat. We have performed as far as Peshawar but never been up North to Swat and I know I have so many fans there so I would love to perform for them. I have also heard that it's like heaven on earth, so I would love to go there.

Instep Today: You collaborated with pop band A1 last year and also performed with them at the O2 Academy. How was the experience?
The entire experience of the collaboration was amazing. It hasn't been released yet. We recorded the song together and then performed it at the O2 Academy where I performed with them as a special guest. That was a really amazing experience.

Instep Today: Will 'Just Three Words', your song with A1, be released as a single?
Annie: The song is going to be released in May. The song premiere is going to be at the Norwegian Emmys where we will be performing it. That's a huge thing for me, to be able to stand there and represent my county Pakistan. After that, somewhere around mid-May, the song will be released. We are hoping for a really good response. Just can't wait for that.

Instep Today: Do you have any other collaborations lined up for the future?
There are a lot of collaborations. I have just done a couple of songs with some different artists which I can't disclose right now. But yeah, there is a lot of really good stuff coming up and collaborations are definitely the way forward.

Instep Today: In what capacity were you going to participate in Sur Kshetra? And why did you decide not to be a part of that project?
I was supposed to be a part of Sur Kshetra as a host from the Pakistan side, but then things didn't work out right till the end even after signing the contract. So it's ok. Some things are just not meant to be. It happens. But there are some more Indian projects coming up and these are going to be more about the music.

Instep Today: What can we expect from you in the coming months?
There is so much happening with a few Bollywood projects in the coming months. Some more music videos, some more music, and that's it.

- Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 10th May, 2012

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