you & me
Bursting into the Pakistani pop scene in 2011 with ‘Right way to fall’, Natasha Humera Ejaz has been providing her distinct brand of mischief-music to Pakistani audiences for over a decade. Natasha is a Pakistani singer-songwriter who is well-known for her distinct vocal tone and varied approach to composition. Jumping through genres, her style of music is infusing electronica, jazz, local and global folk music - Natasha is probably best described as eclectic-pop. Spending the early parts of her career juggling a degree in music production in Kuala Lumpur, Natasha’s music always stood apart. Her work in 2018’s ‘Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor’ and ‘Cake’ garnered her both critical and commercial success, with Natasha winning the 2019 Sepma Award for Best Playback Singer (Bol) for the latter. Her only studio EP to date, ‘Till the end of time’, earned her nominations in two-categories at the 2015 Lux Style Awards.
Featured as this month’s EQUAL Pakistan Ambassador of the Month, her recent track that Spotify is highlighting is called ‘Khud Se Baatein’ with music and lyrics by Natasha Ejaz and Rishabh Rajan, and additional vocals by Zeeshan Ali. The song is reflective of how Natasha is willing to be sincere and vulnerable as a lyricist and write about inner conversations, conflict and tears that so many of us hide. That she can bring those emotions and feelings to the song as a singer makes any listener a part of that musical journey. Musical components in the song also demonstrate Natasha’s emergence as a force to be reckoned with, a vocalist with heart and chutzpah (when needed). Her musical credentials include composer, vocalist, lyricist, audio engineer, and producer, so whatever the task, Natasha delivers on it. The singer gets candid with You! and shares more about herself in an exclusive interview…
Since how long have you been active as a musician?
Since 2005, as a live performer. And then, I released my first single in 2011.
What inspired you to pursue music?
I grew up with a lot of music and arts at home and was always curious as a child and enjoyed mimicking sounds and melodies and characters growing up. Once, I learnt how great it can feel to express through singing, I was hooked.
What is your specialised field of singing?
I’m interested in a blend of styles, mostly Broadway, Jazz and South Asian performance styles. I end up writing music that becomes a blend of those.
What is your most memorable concert to-date?
I just had the honour to perform a second time at the Telenor Culture Prize Ceremony in 2022, after showcasing original work first there previously in 2016. It’s always such a privilege to present my music in the unique arrangements that platform provides.
What are you currently working on?
‘Khud Se Baatein’ was the first of a brand new body of work I developed in 2022. Some of it belongs to my debut album while others are collaborations with some interesting artists from around the world.
How does it feel to be the Ambassador of the Month for Spotify’s EQUAL Pakistan?
It’s been really lovely following the EQUAL programme over the last year and seeing so many of my friends in the fraternity shine. It’s mostly a few different shades of joy and gratitude.
How important do you think initiatives like these are for women artists of our country?
Anything that helps anyone find and present their authenticity is my cuppa.
Tell us about your song that is being featured on the EQUAL playlist.
‘Khud Se Baatein’ was written during a phase where I was ripping away layers of fear and self-doubt. It went through many iterations over the last many months and was eventually placed in the masterful hands of Rishabh Rajan after I saw people at shows were vibing with it more than I’d considered would happen. It also was the start of a conversation of an album with Rishabh so the song has kind of become this new really good friend I didn’t know I needed but the universe sent anyway.
Have you released any music albums so far?
EPs mostly so far, and singles along with some compilation and residency albums. 2023 is the year though.
Top 3 songs in your playlist?
‘Get Me Some’ by Tokimonsta, ‘That Life’ by Unknown Mortal Orchestra and ‘Hello Hello Hello’ by Remi Wolf.
Who is your icon in the music industry?
Locally, Haniya Aslam. Solid musician, generous heart and basically the coolest of cats. Internationally, Beyonce.
Who was your favourite rock/jazz/ pop star when you were growing up or in your teens?
Tool, Nat King Cole, TLC. Special mention to Alanis Morissette, who falls under none of those categories but was my hero growing up.
What was the first instrument that you learned to play?
Your most irritating habit…
Overthinking and being a perfectionist. Also, I crack dad jokes.
Your all-time favourite movie:
Are you a shopaholic?
What bores you the most?
Low gig season.
How do you like to spend your Sundays?
Combination of nature, time with family and friends and good food.
You are crazy about…
What is your favourite tune nowadays?
‘Ghazab Kiya’ by Ali Sethi.
If you could have a musician tag along with you on tour for a month, who would you choose?
Your favourite way to hangout?
If you had access to a time machine, which era would you revisit?
I’d go to all the eras where civilisations were lost to unknown circumstances to find out what happened.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
Myself from yesterday.
Do you agree that it is important to learn and understand old music and its history?
I think it’s fun and enjoyable but who am I to say there can’t exist a human that hasn’t studied any of that and is still a brilliant creative.
Song that always gets you on the dance floor?
‘Josh Naal’ by Josh.
What’s the last thing you bought?
A meal with friends.
First thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Turn around and sleep some more.
When I am not working, I am usually…
So many things but mostly try to make it to nature as often as I can manage.
The most important relationship lesson you have learnt so far…
Holding compassion for our own dark side makes it easier to communicate from a more authentically conscious and helpful place.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Honestly, I have no idea. Hopefully, somewhere fulfilling and ‘with the flow’ as opposed to against it.
Something very few people know about you as a person....
I’m actually an alien trying to make my way back to my planet.
Your ultimate desire…
Still figuring that one out. Today’s was to consume carbs. It was nice.