Nazia Hasan: The Iconic Singer Who Revolutionized Pop Music in South Asia

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By Mohammad Shameem Khan

Nazia Hasan was a trailblazing Pakistani singer whose melodious voice and innovative style left an indelible mark on the music industry, particularly in South Asia. She was born on April 3, 1965, in Karachi, Pakistan. she rose to fame at a young age, captivating audiences with her captivating vocals and dynamic stage presence. With her groundbreaking contributions to pop music, Nazia Hasan became an enduring symbol of creativity and talent.

Nazia Hasan was born into a family with a passion for music. She received her early education from Karachi Grammar School and later pursued higher studies at the Richmond American University in London. It was during her time in London that Nazia’s musical talents began to flourish, as she immersed herself in the vibrant music scene of the 1970s.

Nazia’s professional music career started at the age of 15 when she met Indian Film director, producer and actor Feroz Khan at a party in the United Kingdom, who later asked her that she should give an audition with Biddu, a London based Indian music director, for his film Qurbani.

Biddu liked her voice and signed her his song Aap Jaisa Koi, the only song composed by him for the film, the rest of the songs were composed by Kalyanji – Anandji. The song got huge success in the Indian sub-continent and she became an overnight sensation in the music industry. She won the Filmfare Award for the best playback singer for the song. She was the youngest to win this award at the age of fifteen and the first Pakistani to win the award. 

In 1980, Nazia Hasan, along with her brother Zoheb Hasan, released their debut album “Disco Deewane.” The album became an instant sensation, propelling Nazia and Zoheb to overnight fame. The title track, “Disco Deewane,” became a chart-topping hit not only in Pakistan but also across the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. With its fusion of disco beats and Urdu lyrics, the album revolutionized pop music in South Asia and cemented Nazia Hasan’s status as a musical icon.

Throughout the 1980s, Nazia Hasan continued to captivate audiences with her soulful voice and infectious energy. She released several hit albums, including “Boom Boom” and “Young Tarang,” which further solidified her reputation as one of the most influential artists in the region. Nazia’s unique blend of Eastern melodies and Western rhythms set her apart from her contemporaries, earning her widespread acclaim and numerous accolades.

Apart from her singing career, Nazia Hasan was also actively involved in humanitarian causes. She used her platform to raise awareness about social issues, including education and healthcare, and supported various charitable organizations.

Tragically, Nazia Hasan’s life was cut short when she passed away at the age of 35 due to lung cancer. However, her legacy lives on through her timeless music, which continues to inspire generations of fans around the world.

Nazia Hasan’s contribution to the music industry goes beyond mere entertainment; she was a pioneer who shattered stereotypes and paved the way for future generations of artists. With her unparalleled talent and unwavering passion, Nazia Hasan will always be remembered as the queen of pop music in South Asia, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for years to come.

She was married to Karachi based businessman Mirza Ishtiyaque Baig. This arranged marriage happened on March 30, 1995. Her marriage was full of problems and difficulties and they parted 3 months before her death. Ishtiyaque claimed that Nazia was his wife until her death.

On June 21, 2000, a leading newspaper of Pakistan Daily Jang published an interview with Nazia Hassan. In that interview she opened about her marriage, how she faced difficulties during her marriage. She accused her husband of forcing her to give statements to the media that everything is fine in their marriage. She also talked about her husband’s extra marital affair with a Pakistani actress.

In the same interview Nazia stated that her husband refused to bear the expenses of her cancer treatment and those expenses were borne by her parents. Hassan said that she would prefer to die than live with her husband as she claimed he caused her more pain than cancer.

The couple had a son, Arez Hassan, born on 7 April 1997.

Nazia Hassan died of Lung Cancer in London at the age of 35 on August 13, 2000.

Film Soundtracks

Qurbani (1980)

Star (1982)

Dilwaala (1986)

Ilzaam (1986)

Main Balwaan (1986)

Adhikar (1986)

Sheela (1987)

Saaya (1989)

Student of the Year (2012)

Miss Lovely (2012)

Studio Albums

Disco Deewane (1981)

Boom Boom (1982)

Young Tarang (1984)

Hotline (1987)

Camera Camera (1992)

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