On a viral spiral

Jawid Sharif

Jawid Sharif becomes the undisputed king of Afghan pop after his single ‘Yak Qadam Pesh, Yak Qadam Pas’ crosses one million views on YouTube

The first Afghan male artist to reach over one million views on Youtube within a couple of months of the release of his chartbuster single ‘Yak Qadam Pesh, Yak Qadam Pas’, Jawid Sharif is often referred as the king of Afghan pop.

Jawid, who discovered his passion for music at the age of six, says it was his uncle Habib Sharif, a well-known artist, who helped him pursue his passion for singing.

Jawid took professional lessons with Indian classical music teachers, but also accompanied his uncle to events to improve his skill and versatility.

Two years later, at the age of eight, Jawid performed on stage for the first time. “All of us on stage at that concert were young,” laughs Jawid, referring to the fact that his accompanying musicians were 6 and 13 years old. And from then on, says the singer, it’s been a whirlwind of ups and downs, and then a series of ups, the latest being his single going viral. “I didn’t expect it would get so popular. But as with every new experience, I just took a risk as an artist and left the rest to my audience,” says Jawid. More from the artist…

How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

While performing live, every artist in the world makes mistakes. After all, it’s a stage not a recording studio, where you have time and takes to get everything perfect. It’s the artist’s confidence and engagement with the audience which helps him cover his mistakes without the audience noticing it.

I write songs more and write lyrics less but I enjoy both of them and sometimes even during this process I imagine the project’s video.

If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?

Besides music I have two other bachelor degrees (telecommunication engineering and foreign language teaching). So, if not music, I would be pursuing one of those other fields.

How would you define the word “success”?

For me success is a temporary feeling of happiness, which you feel once you achieve your aim, but hard work, talent and luck are more important. That will make your success last longer.

My favourite quote is from Afghanistan’s first president Sardar Daud Khan—“Commitment is the first step towards success.”

What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue this career?

You need to have the interest and passion for the work you are doing in order to be successful. You need to be like a child to ask the same question several times to understand it properly, if you don’t get it at once.

How important is image?

Image is an artist’s professional and personal reflection. Our intents are reflected.

Do you write your own songs?

At the start of my career, other people wrote my songs. But now, the lyrics for about 95 per cent of the songs are my own.

I write songs more and write lyrics less but I enjoy both of them and sometimes even during this process I imagine the project’s video.

Do you have any events coming up?

Currently I’m busy with the music arrangement of a few future project and inshallah I’m planning to start shooting a video in September.

Your music has been a huge critical acclaim particularly your Qataghani songs. What has been the experience like?

Although I have written and sung in every music genre, the first qataghani song ‘Amelak’, which I consider the turning point in my career, made me focus more on this genre and motivated me to make ‘Yak Qadam Pesh, Yak Qadam Pas’, which was the first Afghan music video / YouTube hit.

Big wins

  • Best song 2007 ATN (Ariana Television Network)
  • Best singer 2008 ATN
  • Best Afghan singer 2009 Big Apple Award NY
  • Best CD and Best patriotic song 2009 ATN
  • Best song 2010 ATN
  • Best singer 2012 ATN
  • Friendship award 2015 Afghan community of Edmonton (Canada)
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