Sanam Marvi

By Gul Nasreen
Tue, 05, 23

In an exclusive interview with You! this sufi artists shares her passion for music and her likes and dislikes with our readers...

Sanam Marvi

you & me

Sanam Marvi is an accomplished and renowned Sufi and folk singer. Singing in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi and Saraiki, she offers a uniquely beautiful interpretation of Sufi poetry in her magical voice. Marvi hails from Hyderabad, Sindh. By the age of 7, she began singing with her father, Faqir Ghulam Rasool. Trained by her father, as well as classical music legends - Abida Parveen and Ustaad Fateh Ali Khan, Sanam spent her childhood singing at festivals and shrines across Pakistan. In 2009, a breakout performance on national television turned her into an overnight sensation. She has since toured the globe, uniting millions of fans across cultural borders and generations in their love of Sufi music.

She made her debut in a solo performance on the Indian soil at 2010’s Jahan-e-Khusrau, the Sufi music festival arranged by the famous film producer Muzaffar Ali. In February 2011, she performed with Indian playback singer, Rekha Bhardwaj, at Times of India’s Aman ki Asha event at Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad, India. Marvi made her live concert singing debut in 2012 with concerts held at London, Paris, New York, singing alongside Hadiqa Kiani and Ali Zafar.

Sanam Marvi feels that lyrics written by Sufi poets have a universal and timeless appeal among the public and that people find comfort in those words.

Recently, Sanam Marvi, was announced as the Ambassador for Spotify’s EQUAL Pakistan programme. She has been featured on EQUAL’s digital billboard in Times Square, NYC, standing tall, as is her stature in the global music landscape. In an exclusive interview with You! this sufi artists shares her passion for music and her likes and dislikes with our readers...

Sanam Marvi

What is your specialised field of singing?

I specialise in signing Sufi qalams. But I can also sing ghazals and qawwalis.

What is your most memorable concert to-date?

When I performed and won the UNESCO Award. I’m the only Pakistani artist after Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to win this award and it feels such an honour.

How many music albums you have released so far?

I have recorded and released more than 50 albums under different labels.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a new album and a few singles these days.

How does it feel to be the Ambassador of the Month for EQUAL Pakistan?

It is an honour to be selected as EQUAL Ambassador. Pakistan is full of talented singers, and being chosen as an Ambassador will also help me spread the love of music through my art.

What do you have to say for initiatives like Spotify’s EQUAL programme?

It is a great opportunity for Pakistani female artists. Initiatives like these encourage young women to pursue music as a profession, and will hopefully bring a lot of female singers that were fading out in the recent past, otherwise.

Tell us about your song that is being featured on the EQUAL Pakistan playlist.

When I reached out for the kalaam ‘Aye Khuda’, I was not familiar with the work of the music producer. But when I read the lyrics, I connected with it almost instantly and then I was quite emotional during the vocal recording. Then the video of this track was shot and edited multiple times, and when I saw the final version, it made me cry out of emotions as this is very close to my heart.

Sanam Marvi

Top 3 songs in your playlist?

Laal Ishq by Arijit; Jab Se Tu Ne Mujhe Deewana by Abida Parveen; and Khawaja Mere Khawaja by AR Rehman.

Your favourite international music celebrity:

BTS, as my daughter is a huge fan of this band.

Who is your icon in the music industry?

Abida Ji.

Who was your favourite singer when you were growing up?

Abida Ji, as I was more into Sufi kalaams in my childhood.

What was the first instrument that you learned to play?


Your most irritating habit…

I’m really lazy and have mood swings.

You don’t like people who are…

Liars and narcissists.

You are afraid of…


Your most valuable possession:

My daughter, Rabil.

Your all-time favourite movie:

Heer Ranjha (Pakistani - Old).

You dream about…

A chance to work with AR Rahman, one day.

How do you like to spend your Sundays?

I usually spend Sundays in my room with my daughter - binge watching Netflix.

If you could have a musician tag along with you on a tour, who would you choose?

AR Rahman.

Your favourite hangout:

I love spending time on my rooftop, the view and silence there at night gives me peace.

If you had access to a time machine, which era would you revisit?

The time that I spent with my mom in childhood.

What’s the last thing you bought?

A car.

What books are on your bedside table?

These days, I’m reading a novel on Turkish traditions by JJ Baloch.

First thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

After brushing my teeth, the first thing I do is sending my daughter to school.

When I am not working, I usually…

I watch Netflix or do riaz.

The most important relationship lesson you have learnt so far…

Be fair and honest in your relations, be that way with your life partner, friends or professional.

You get super uncomfortable when…

Somebody is not focusing on their work.

The biggest misconception about you...

People think that I’m rude.

Something very few people know about you as a person...

That I laugh a lot.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I want to set up an NGO to support talented musicians who don’t earn enough to sustain their families.