I awoke, tethered in a society that seized independence, womanhood, and voice, to feed its ever-growing, growling, appetite for domination, governance, and control. I came to realize soon that if I had to survive without contention, I had to be quieter, smaller, and less visible. Fortunately, I awoke, too, with a roaring hunger to listen, speak, sing, and narrate tales of restraint, joy, and glory – I could not abandon my need for artistic freedom and contribution, within walls of imagined boundaries and invisible infrastructure.
I have found in music what could not find me, in my society – I have found myself, laced within rhythm that converses with me to celebrate, rejoice, but also to fall into depths untouched. I have found rebirth, dawning through words that stretch from one region of the universe to another, uniting the differences with a calming sense of similarity. What has reached my ears, has traveled as energy to the souls around me – sometimes, caught from wandering, and other times, driven to run and love. It is music that once lifted me, led me to move beyond Pakistan, against odds unthinkable – I have found in music a kinetic energy, a capacity to push and pull, to reveal the magic that was kept a secret behind barbed wires, walls, and borders.
I formed the first all-female ensemble in Pakistan, then an indie project there onward, and now I’m looking to grow differently, determined to learn more and give more. In my years of being a musician and a listener, I have learnt a valuable lesson – good and bad is relevant to each, and music cannot be painted in black and white – it is spread over a bright spectrum. I have resonated with Thom Yorke, Aphex Twin, James Blake, to the traditional Gambian streets in the sound of Susso, to Phoebe Bridgers, Julia Jacklin, and Big Thief. I have found inspiration also in Brockhampton, Kevin Abstract, Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, and Anderson Paak.
However, I am more instinctively inclined towards particular sound design – a play of dissonant chords, intricately inserted within an ambient character, with lyrical composition that manages to gently touch conscience. I think of music as a composition with distant imaginaries and moving images, utilizing ears and lens to frame the weakening struggles of humans at humanity. I have found Thom Yorke to project that, very strongly. My inspiration is also heavily stemmed in the works of artists like Pauline Oliveros.