Ali & The Army
“My guitar, my bike and my fans without them I’m not me”. This single quote defines the whole life circle of Ali Azmat – without whom Pakistani music industry would not be standing where it is now. The rock chapter could easily go unnoticed have it not carried the brilliance of Ali. His innovative and daring infusions of rock with sufi music of the South Asia has given a whole new dimension to music. Ali is an international icon, a global identity, and world ambassador for music and peace. Pakistani music industry can never be written without a complete section dedicated to Ali Azmat. Ali Azmat has set his marks and reached unprecedented recognition in international arena.
Ali stepped in Pakistani music arena when there was very little media penetration in the masses. Most of the singers who chose to pick up ‘pop’ music, preferred to go solo. And they are treated as icons themselves. Ali bravely took up the challenge and used his originality to make his presence felt. Started with one of the first rock/pop bands of the country, ‘Jupiters’, Ali gave the music industry the ever green song, ‘Dosti’.
In 1990, Ali started the most famous and accredited band of South Asia, ‘Junoon’, as lead vocalist. This was the actual start of legendary career of Ali. The music produced by Junoon marked a new chapter in the music industry. It was a beautiful and mesmerizing blend of rock and sufi music. Junoon also produced a few hits based on socio-political issue of the country. Over a decade, Junoon produced around 20 albums. For which 20 million copies were sold worldwide.
In 1999, Junoon won the “Best International Group” award at the Channel [V] Music Awards in New Delhi. In 2001 Ali appeared in the VH1 News Special Islamabad Rock City, a rockumentary on Junoon hosted by Susan Sarandon. In October 2001, he sang it again, this time on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly with an Indian band. The New York, Times and the Village Voice among others wrote rave reviews of his performance, the only rock concert ever held at the UN. In 2002, Ali was nominated for an Emmy award.
In 2003, Ali detached himself from Junoon to establish himself as solo singer. His first solo album “Social Circus” was released in March 2005. “Social Circus” gained a titanic triumph as it won 13 awards in Pakistan including Best album, Best producer, Best single for “Na re Na,” and best new video. His second album “Klashinfolk” hit the markets in August 2008 with “Gallan” being the first video to come out of the album followed by “Tanha Hai Kyun” and “Tera Mera Milan”.Since he parted ways from ‘Junoon’, the phenomenon that got Pakistan recognition on the international platform, Ali Azmat has been the centre of much speculation; however, ‘Social Circus’ shines through all the supposed dents that many have tried to create in his career. It brings out the true artist in Ali Azmat, and sheds light on his music from angles which were previously unexplored. It is an honest compilation, which aims at stirring up every emotion, resurfacing every feeling, in people who have faith in art and music.
Ali Azmat showers his charisma on the stage with his hypnotizing performances and quintessential emotional involvement in every second of his live singing; one of the many reasons that have kept his fans faithful to his music. His live performances have been an artistic delight which penetrated the venues on national and international stage.
Adventurous by nature, Ali has toured extensively, doing two North American tours a year since 1992. He has performed in Europe, the Middle East and China and at the renowned European rock festival, Roskilde in June 2000, where Pearl Jam, Iron Maiden and Travis performed, among others. In 2003, he appeared live at the Royal Albert Hall. He stands now as a true international celebrity.
On the South Asian media scene Ali’s new group was awarded ‘best band’ by IM (Indus Music) in 2004 and later an award for promoting peace through his music at the ARY Bollywood awards in Dubai. In India, Ali was also nominated for Best Sound Track and Best Song for his single ”Garaj Baras” for the Indian hit “Paap” by Pooja Bhatt at the Sahara Awards London. At the 2012 the IM Music Video Awards, Ali’s song ‘Na re na’ won the awards for ‘Best Video’, ‘Best Costume’ and ‘Best Art Direction’ while ‘Deewana’ won the award for ‘Best Animation.’
His charismatic and successful career has earned him close affiliation with brands such as Walls, Paktel, McDonalds and Sony Ericsson, with successful ad campaigns that have explored a new spectrum of Ali Azmat’s various glorified definitions of art. When speaking of his aesthetic capacities, one cannot go without saying anything about his acting career as well, we’ve seen this multi-talented artist do a job well done in his dramas and his music videos.
There are two types of successful people in the world; those who thrive for success on the basis of their talent; and those who work hard to achieve success in life…. And then there is Ali Azmat! He was a naturally talented boy who worked his way up to the high notes in his life. The circumstances he has faced would not allowed him to settle for either talent or hard work.
He is best as solo because nobody can match up to his standards. His norms, his style, his attitude are purely his. Ali Azmat is one of the persons, whose life is filled with struggles, dares, innovations and rewards to those struggles. This multidimensional artist has been called the “Bono” of Pakistan by MTV and has been christened Asia’s answer to “Santana” and U2 of South Asia by the New York Times. Today Ali Azmat is an iconic rock singer – mark of excellence and distinction in global music industry. He is now reinventing the South Asian music arena, exhilarating audiences everywhere with his fervent and trademark poetic fusion of east/west musical traditions.