Mustafa Zahid has had a long career. From launching an album in 2006 with his band Roxen to doing popular soundtracks for Bollywood film, Awarapan and Ek Villain and playing live gigs – he has now made a return to local airwaves with a soulful song.
The new song ‘Meray Saathiya’ features Sadia Khan and is part of an upcoming album titled Bhula Samundar that is being released under the banner of T-Series.
Instep speaks to Roxen front man about his rather erratic musical journey in Pakistan and what’s changed since the last album he released.
“The only concern I always had was that I’ve done songs for many big films and doing an independent song now will be doing injustice to my music,” Zahid begins.
He adds candidly: “I waited for someone to release it in Pakistan but everyone laments lack of resources and I was set on a big label release.”
Roxen shot the song in May and Zahid shared it with friends in India he recounts, and it reached T-Series. “I feel they were interested in releasing our music because Bollywood hasn’t come out with a good album in a long while and they are remaking old songs. Bollywood has space for this kind of music and artists in their country.”
Zahid and the band (Roxen) are happy, admitting that they are pleased their song is out via the Indian label, knowing they might have gotten half the views if they had released it independently.
“True satisfaction for an artist is when their music is heard on a big level. We can make money through shows but when you’re putting your music out, the goal is for it to reach every single person possible,” says Zahid.
Between 2006 and 2018, Zahid dabbled in playback singing for Indian films but after 2011, he tells Instep, he decided not to perform without his band. “I wanted people to know that Roxen is alive and we’re not going anywhere. We have so much music that if we want, we can release a new song every week but there are no avenues.”
Zahid shares that he wants to create a company where he can help other artists make money. To bring that vision to fruition, Zahid has launched a company called Three Records a UK-based label, operating in Pakistan as an artist management company with RDB and Roxen on board. “We’ve started producing our own shows but we work on giving people a holistic experience where we take care of the sound, visuals, etc.”
On the upcoming album, he reveals that the next song will be more rock and roll. “This [‘Meray Saathiya’] was a comeback song so we wanted a blend of pop, rock and Bollywood but the next song will be catchy and will tell people we’re pronounced as Rose-en, not Roxanne.”
He also shares that making videos to go with the songs is of utmost importance. “I’ve come to a point where I don’t want to release a song without a video so the entire album will have videos to go with it.”
When asked to comment on how the local music industry has progressed since his last album, he notes, “It started off really well with corporate giants coming in but I think they should not be made part of the music making process because only an artist can make it right. I think the moment they started dictating is when we lost the soul in our music.”