Pakistani musicians who were featured in NY Times Square in 2022
Music has always been a way for people to come together and celebrate the talent that is in our country. With that being said, the Pakistani music scene has been on the rise this year. From Coke Studio 14 reaching new heights and Pasoori getting global recognition to Spotify being launched in Pakistan and Arooj Aftab receiving Grammy’s and to top it all, some of our favourite Pakistani musicians were featured in New York Times Square Billboard by Spotify’s RADAR and EQUAL initiatives.
EQUAL Pakistan, Spotify’s Global Music Program looks to celebrate women creators by giving them a platform to share their content with the world. Whereas, Spotify’s RADAR program connects people to rising artists from across the globe.
In 2019, Ali Sethi made it to the Times Square billboards as part of an international artist collaboration. A video titled Future Tradition celebrating the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning Chinese composer Du Yun and featuring Ali was played numerous times on several screens at the popular tourist destination.
Arooj Aftab became the first Pakistani artist to be featured on the Times Square billboard as Spotify’s EQUAL Artist of the Month in March. “I am extremely excited to be the first Ambassador of EQUAL Pakistan because this kind of well-structured program will help uplift women in the audio industry of Pakistan,” the artist said in a statement.
Pakistani Sufi and folk singer Mehak Ali was featured in Times Square by Spotify EQUAL in April. She was selected in light of the holy month of Ramadan. The new edition as stated in a press release had “updated its Ramadan Destination for Pakistani listeners, curated for every Ramadan moment”.
The singer was featured on Times Square as Spotify’s EQUAL Pakistan’s Artist of the Month for May. Her song Yaad from the album Vasl has been added to the Equal Global Playlist for Spotify listeners. Her singing career spans over two decades and is the recipient of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz. Kiani is also Pakistan’s first female Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations who has recently entered the field of acting and is currently starring on ARY Digital’s Pinjra.
The Faltu Pyaar singer was featured by Spotify’s EQUAL Pakistan’s Artist of the Month for June following the release of the song with Hassan Raheem. She has worked with various musicians in the country including Abdullah Siddiqui, Talal Qureshi and Strings to name a few. Laiyaan Laiyaan from her debut album Ronaq was released earlier this year and the rest of the songs will be released over the next few months.
The Shikwa Jawab-e-Shikwa singer was featured as Spotify’s EQUAL Pakistan’s Artist of the Month for July. Starting with Cornetto Music Icon, her music career spans over seven years. She dabbles into various genres including Sufi Rock and over the years has become a popular name in the music industry. Talking about this opportunity, Natasha said, “It’s an amazing opportunity for an artist from Pakistan because it’s a way to connect globally. It means a lot to me because being the first girl from Hunza who managed to create her own space in the mainstream music scene of Pakistan was already a huge milestone for me and now Spotify’s EQUAL Artist campaign is enabling me to dream even bigger.”
The pop sensation made it to Times Square on the eve of her death anniversary in August. Nazia Hassan has given us some of the greatest hits of all time, and 22 years later Spotify paid tribute to her by featuring her in the EQUAL Pakistan initiative and an EQUAL playlist dedicated to her music.
The Afreen Afreen singer made it to the list of women who were featured in Times Square in September for Spotify’s EQUAL Pakistan initiative. She took the opportunity to send an important message across to the world by reflecting on the challenges faced by the world due to climate change. “Today it is Pakistan. Tomorrow it could be your country #ClimateEmergency” read her message.
The Kana Yaari singer became the first female Baloch rapper to make it to Times Square as Spotify’s EQUAL Pakistan’s Artist of the Month for October. She started her music career in 2014 and now has almost 400,000 listeners on Spotify. Her song Rozi was featured in Ms Marvel, earlier this year. Talking about the EQUAL Pakistan initiative, Eva said, “I feel super excited to be a part of Spotify’s EQUAL program. I feel very proud. Initiatives like these aren’t just important, but they are required. They are the need of the hour.”
The Gen Z sensation rose to fame as he started uploading his singles on YouTube including Joona and Aisay Kaisay. He became the first Pakistani male artist to make it to Times Square for Spotify’s RADAR initiative in November. His song from Coke Studio 14 Peechay Hutt became popular amongst Gen Z soon after its release.
Shae Gill rose to fame after her song Pasoori with Ali Sethi became a global hit after its release. From Hollywood to Bollywood everyone was seen dancing or singing along to the song. It also became the most hummed song on Google for 2022. The young musician became the Spotify EQUAL Ambassador for December.