5 Pakistani artists you need to start following

Since the 90s, we have seen Atif Aslam, Hadiqa Kiani, Junoon, Strings, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, among many others appear almost regularly on mainstream music channels and PTV. Having represented the country internationally, these acts have won the love and admiration of millions. But after their rich, stellar music went mainstream, the music channels slowly faded, followed by a ban on YouTube, which left underground musicians feeling hopeless.

But now, with the digital boom in terms of video and music streaming apps and platforms, Pakistanis are discovering a new artist every two months. Until last year, we had only come to familiarize ourselves with Abdullah Siddiqui and Hassan Raheem. Today, we can’t help but sing along to the tracks of Abdul Hannan and Taha G. Yet, it seems like we’re only scratching the surface. So, to better understand today’s tastes, here’s our pick of rising stars who’ve been making music for ages now, but are finally, slowly getting the recognition they deserve. These acts change the game instead of shifting gears to just fit in. And if you don’t already know or follow them, it’s time you did.

poor rich boy

Let’s talk about the Lahore-based Poor Rich Boy act and how absurdly Pakistanis neglect them. Of Death Taxi for Cutie at Tame the impala, there’s something about their music that’s both distinctive and evocative of well-known favorites. Poor Rich Boy has a passionate love affair with sound and language that manifests in their songs that are anything but ordinary.

maanu

Maanu is another artist from Lahore who has quickly captured the hearts of millennials and Gen Z due to his musicality and catchy lyrics that anyone can relate to and shake a leg. As a rapper, Maanu is not limited to just hip-hop. Experimenting and collaborating whenever he can, he has attracted over 95,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

Abdul Hannan

Abdul Hannan is also from Lahore and has been making waves since dethroning Ali Sethi Pasoori. His music has become the talk of the town with two spellbinding collaborations with Rovalio – Bikhra and Iraaday. Hannan has that cool, sweet voice that you can’t stop listening to. With such tormented love songs, there’s a good chance he’ll go far.

Noorani Natacha

Natasha is a bilingual singer who stands out because her music cannot be boxed and stacked. She experiments with different musical modes while singing in Urdu and English. This, combined with her vast expertise as an ethnomusicologist specializing in Pakistani music, makes her an artist you will want to return to. Progressive Rock, Neo-Soul, Synth-Wave, and R&B are a few genres that this kind of multi-genre singer incorporates into her work.

Hamza Jahangir

Hamza Jahangir is an upcoming artist based in Karachi who should not be left out. With a relentless charismatic approach, he engulfs you with his 2020 EP songs that feature his soothing vocals. He feels every infinitesimal happiness while singing, leaving listeners scattered for words. And if you haven’t heard it yet, it’s time to look for it!

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