Meet Pakistani folk-jazz singer Natasha Humera Ejaz
Her sweet voice and vocal gymnastics make for a fine package
Put on her award-winning record, Till The End Of Time, and you’ll see why the folks at Ziro Festival of Music were prepared to jump through the many diplomatic hoops it takes to fly this 28-year-old folk-jazz singer in from Islamabad. Her sweet voice, vocal gymnastics and the superb production value of her tracks make for a fine package—she’s like a sub-continental Tori Amos. But it’s taken training, practice and a lifetime of work to get here. All that and a few trade secrets.
Keep ’em guessing
Ejaz is also a trained Kathak dancer, choreographer and a well-known stage actress. Her level of training and comfort on stage are apparent in her stunning performances, and it’s hard to imagine her doing anything else—but wait, she has another skill, too: “I feel like I use up all my words while writing my songs, so I started drawing.”
Stay freaked out
“In my professional life, I try to always keep one project going that I have no idea how to pull off,” she says. And these days, that project is her electro act, Stupid Happiness Theory. After several years as a singer-songwriter, Ejaz performed her first electronica gig this year. She’s now working on an EP due next year, which she says is going to be “progressive, jazzy, quirky stuff”.
Turn off the mic
If you’re expecting a moody, whimsical artiste, you have the wrong number. Ejaz’s days follow a set routine and she always has a few long-term projects simmering. “Discipline keeps my sanity intact,” she says. “Growing up in an artistic family exposed me to not just how wonderful creative expression can be but also how draining it often is. I’ve consciously developed a sense of discipline so I don’t fall into a pile of confusion.”