“Music has always been therapy”

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Almost nine years now. When I first started this journey I hardly had any skill or confidence. But I remember having this fire; it’s still there. I’m not done, I’m not there yet. All I know is that there’s no giving up. Music has always been therapy and a way to find myself through words and melodies, dark or happy; it’s the soundtrack of my life. I don’t remember ever taking out time for it, it just happens.

What keeps me going is just one other person who’s there to appreciate, to love, to understand, to embrace.

Yes, there are times when you get lost, after all there’s so much noise. What keeps me going is just one other person who’s there to appreciate, to love, to understand, to embrace. By the grace of God I have so many of them. When people come up to you and tell you that you’ve made a difference in their lives, that your words heal them, that your voice haunts them and that your melodies carry them to another world… To me, that’s the most beautiful feeling that exists, when me and them become one. We become whole. From a short skinny kid who could hardly stand on stage and look at the crowd to someone who is inspiring young kids to pick up an instrument or start writing, start singing or performing, I’m sure that short skinny me would be proud of what we’ve achieved.

Trust me, it’s not easy being a musician especially if you’re doing rock music.

I believe in helping and not just inspiring. I remember when I was growing up I had no one to look up to. With hardly any shows or teachers or music schools I was and still am self taught -and I had to learn it the hard way. Trust me, it’s not easy being a musician, especially if you’re doing rock music. I don’t want anyone to feel alone, feel distant or give up on their dreams. I’m trying to give back as much as I can and for that I share, I share whatever I know believing that it will only grow. If you can help one person to achieve their goals or live their dream, isn’t that beautiful? My vocal mentorship sessions, collaborations and youth ambassadorship with the IHRC (International Human Rights Commmission) is all about giving back. Making them believe, giving them a chance. I might not be the biggest rock star but I’d love to be a guiding star in someone’s life.

I always say and I still say this, “I might not live the glory or the life I imagined, but I sure can pave the path for the ones to follow.” Let’s learn to love and give back, let’s learn to practice tolerance and appreciate. The beauty and survival of Art depends on it.

Umair Jaswal (1986) is the frontman of the successful Pakistani rock band Qayaas (‘Deliberation’) since its founding in Islamabad in 2008. Beyond the Indian subcontinent Umair is well-known for his epic cooperation with Atif Aslam in Coke Studio 5 and his solo performance in Coke Studio 6, as you may remember from our article about Coke Studio. Umair is Pakistan’s Youth Ambassador for the IHCR, the International Human Rights Commission, which offers amongst other projects education to internally displaced children from Waziristan and Kashmir.

Want to follow Umair? See the website of Qayaas. You can also find Umair (solo) on Facebook and Twitter.

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