Fondly remembered for his pop anthem ‘Purani jeans’ (Sandesa, 1993), Pakistani singer Ali Haider shocked fans in 2009 when he announced on a TV show that he was giving up music. Now, as he returns with a new album titled Bachpan Ki Badaami Yaadein, he talks about his upcoming projects and the need to revive pop music.
Ali Haider (Photo Courtesy: Facebook)
After calling it quits, why did you decide to return to music?
I announced my retirement from pop music after my son’s death. For the past four years, I occupied myself with religious poetry and kalams (devotional songs). A lot of time has passed. People had been asking me when I’d come out with another song like ‘Purani jeans’. This new album came to me all of a sudden. I was playing with my daughters and one of them asked me to narrate a story from my childhood. I started humming a tune and that’s how the entire concept took shape.
Tell us more about the album.
It’s a pop album. I want to bring back the era of pop because people miss it. There’s also a Sufi song for which I’ve collaborated with Persian artiste Maula Ali Jaanam. This is the first time I’ve sung in Persian. I’ve also attempted a semi-classical style of singing with another song in the album.
Nostalgia is a recurrent theme in most of your songs. Is that a conscious move on your part?
I am very attached to my memories. It’s human tendency to remember and relive the time gone by, and I do that through my songs. I’m happy that the sentiments I express resonate with those of my listeners. ‘Purani jeans’ was a blessing. I was still a teenybopper when it achieved success. Now people are comparing this new song (the title track) to it. I don’t know whether the new album will be as successful, but I hope people connect to it.
A lot of Pakistani artistes have established themselves as playback singers and performers in India. We haven’t seen you much.
I’d love to sing for Hindi films if given a chance. But it surprises me that people in India know me and love my music because I haven’t performed many concerts or visited often.
What are the projects you are working on currently?
I will be going on an album promotion tour to the US and Canada soon. By September, I plan to release a new album — Purani Jeans Club Mix — with rearranged versions of my past hits.