Asfar Hussain talks about his musical journey and “Mehram”

In an exclusive listening session organized by Spotify and Coke Studio Pakistan for the song, Mehram, the fourth release of Season 14, Asfar Hussain shared his thoughts about the song, his experience of working with the only Grammy Nominee of Pakistan, Arooj Aftab, and his musical journey starting from Nescafe Basement to reaching to Coke Studio, the biggest musical platform of the country.

Mehram reveals the emotional carnage brought by loss, helped by an unsettling drone effect winding through the song. The pairing of Asfar and Arooj’s voices creates a dark aural cushion, making you feel what Associate Music Producer Abdullah Siddiqui describes as “collapse-on-the-ground-earth-shatteringly-devastated.”Asfar uses the word “mehram” in its truest sense: a person that you trust completely. He described the song as “a vessel of thoughts, where you start to think; what was life like before you knew and trusted this person? And what is life like after this person is no longer in your life?”

When asked about his experience of working with a Grammy Nominee artist, Arooj Aftab, he said, “Arooj Aftab is indeed the first Grammy nominee from Pakistan and this is an achievement which is a dream of every other artist, and that’s the ultimate recognition that one can get for their work. My experience of working with her was truly amazing. I have been following Arooj since a while when she released her first few songs around 11 or 12 years ago. And since then, the haunting quality of her voice is what got stuck with me. The way she approaches melodies is very unconventional. Initially, on sets she was slightly reserved so it took some time to break the ice but after that when I got to know her and got to spend time with her, it turned out to be an amazing experience. She has a great sense of arrangement, she is a very learned musician, her take towards the composition since the beginning was very unique and every time we would share parts of the song with each other, I always got to see the song with a new perspective. So, for me it was great learning experience as well. And I am actually looking forward to working with her more.”

Upon asking how he felt looking at his journey starting with Xulfi from Nescafe Basement and ending up doing Coke Studio again with Xulfi, Asfar Hussain said, “It’s been long since I started my journey as a musician. It’s funny how this journey started with Xulfi when I came to Lahore from Chitral. I was discouraged as well in this process by many people. But I could always see myself on the stage doing things that I wanted to do and I had this belief that what I am imagining could possibly happen one day. And I think this confidence in myself is what brought me till here. So, my journey started with Xulfi discovering me, and while this journey continued, we achieved some milestones in between and now doing Coke Studio together is like coming full circle. In the past we often used to discuss that one day we will work together and will hopefully perform in Coke Studio too, and now that has already happened finally. So, this journey was extremely beautiful and in fact, this journey has just started and will continue onwards and upwards!