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A Short Interview of Jassi Lailpuria who is first Sikh Pop Singer of Pakistan: Interview conducted by Farhan Wilayat Butt

This time, we met Jassi Lailpuria who is the first singer and musician from Pakistani Sikh community. It was such a pleasure meeting him at his residence and we really enjoyed asking him so many questions related to his personal and professional life. Let me share some of the discussion right here for your perusal... Hope you guys will enjoy reading it J

Question 1). When did you first start singing? What initially inspired you to come into the field of Music?

Answer). Let me share a very important fact that singers never join this field with any proper planning. It is actually a God-gifted ability and a real singer who has a melodious voice very easily recognizes his talent and ability in a small age. I was too young when I started singing Punjabi songs. With the passage of time, my abilities got polished day by day and finally I got fame and popularity after launching of my first album.

Question 2). Behind every artist, support of his family matters a lot. What did your family do to encourage you?

Answer). You are quite right that family’s support is mandatory to encourage a singer but I was quite unfortunate in this regard as my parents never supported me. The main reason behind this was too simple. There was apparently no scope in singing industry and my parents wanted me to complete my education and then to select some other profession that could make my life financially very strong. But as I was extremely interested in music, I quit my school at the age of 12 only when I was studying in 7th class. I started painting banners and flexes. It was the only chance for me to learn something (as I was good in painting).

Question 3). Who else in your family sings?

Answer). As I already told you that my parents never liked or appreciated this art; nobody in my family seriously chose this profession but later on after observing my achievements and fame in this field, my younger brothers joined the music industry. One of my brothers, Mr. Suneel Lailpuria is a professional singer and he joins many musical concerts. My another younger brother, Mr. Surjit Singh is not actually interested to professionally join this industry but he sings very good and he occasionally joins different program.

Question 4). Do your kids take interest to sing or to learn playing musical instruments?

Answer). To be very frank, I would also never appreciate my kids to professionally join the musical industry. The same reason is behind this idea, as I can’t predict a bright future of my kids in the field of art and music. I want them to get higher education (as I couldn’t complete my studies) and then I wish them a good future. I don’t want them to face any hard time, same as I faced worst circumstances in quite younger age.

Question 5). What kind of music do you listen? What big names in music industry you look to for inspiration, whose work has influenced you most?

Answer). As you already know that I love singing Punjabi songs with a pure traditional and cultural touch; I therefore loved to listen Punjabi songs of Dalair Mehdi in my early age and after observing his style and music, I promised myself that one day I shall start singing like him… but it isn’t the only genre of music I usually prefer and love; I also take interest in melodious music and I loved hearing the most beautiful songs of Madam Noor Jehan, Lata Mangeshkar and Muhammad Rafi. They all are legends.

Question 6). What do you usually write when people request you for an autograph?

Answer). I always write… “Chak Ke Rakho Phattay, Mulk Da Naam Roshan Karo”.

Question 7). If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?

Answer). If I wasn’t a singer, I would be a painter. I told you that after leaving my school in a small age, I started learning painting and during all that period I painted a lot. In fact, I have a pure artistic soul. I can’t even imagine myself to be someone without having any artistic skill.

Question 8). Do you play any musical instruments?

Answer). Not at all… it has never been included in my preferences and priorities. I have a skill to sing melodiously and I therefore only sing. I never took interest to learn or to play any musical instruments.

Question 9). Who were your teachers and patrons in singing industry?

Answer). Let me share some very interesting facts with you. When I initially came to Lahore in year 2005 as it was the main hub of music, film and TV industry, my pockets were totally empty and I had no shelter to reside. I used to stay at a local gurdwara (Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore) where free accommodation and food was available all the time. There I started joining the jam sessions of some professional singers and musicians who were residing in the area of Texali (near Shahi Muhalla). I shall especially mention their names, i.e. Mr. Aneel Parvaiz, Mr. Tauqeer Babbu and Pappi Bhai. They were learned people and they helped me a lot to learn the art of singing. I was their only Sikh student and they were therefore so much interested to guide me. I spent very special time with them and learnt a lot as well.

Question 10). What hidden talents do you have?

Answer). (after sharing a deep smile) I am a very good writer. I have already written two books, named: Dastan.e.Jaddo Jehad Kala Pani and Ghaddar Party. My third book, named: Bhagat Singh’s Biography, is in process of completion. I have plans to launch it very soon.

Question 11). We never heard about your writing skills. Do you also write lyrics of your songs?

Answers). Actually, the lyrics of my songs are always written by the professional poets but in fact, they work on my own ideas; as I am in practice to share my ideas about the lyrics and situation of my songs, and then they write them in perfect style as per my demand.

Question 12). How do you spend your leisure time?

Answer). I am a very good reader too and I therefore have a small library in my home. I love to read Urdu, Punjabi and English books on history. I also love to watch movies and musical programs on TV.

Question 13). How do you see your next 10 months, what are you going to do? Tell us about your upcoming projects?

Answer). I have recently signed a contract with ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations, Islamabad) which is an administrative military media brand to broadcast and coordinate military news and information to the country's civilian media and the civic society. They are going to sponsor my next album, as I need to launch some of my national and patriotic songs. It will be an album of 10 patriotic audio and video songs.

Question 14). Tell us something about your biggest failure and achievement.

Answer). All the fame, popularity and love I have received yet are my achievements which I have won through my efforts and hardwork. As far as my biggest failure is concerned; I think I have failed to achieve those rewards from our government which I actually deserve. Artists have no value in our society. We are only showpieces.

Question 15). How many awards and accolades you have received yet?

Answer). In recognition of my services in the field of singing and music, I have been awarded with Bolan Awards thrice. I have also received more than 100 awards from Pakistan Army, Rangers and different other sectors including TV channels and NGOs.

Question 16). Let me create a situation for you... which female Punjabi singer will you select to have a do-it together... Humaira Channa, Naseebo Lal or Azra Jehan?

Answer). In fact, Madam Azra Jehan is a very senior and one of the most talented singers of Punjabi film industry. I shall surely select her, in case I need to sing a melodious and romantic song. However, as far as Bhangra songs with fast music are concerned; I shall select Naseebo Lal because of the perfection of her voice quality for fast and loud songs.

Question 17). And in case of male Punjabi singers, which one will you like to select to sing a song together, Arif Lohar, Ibrar.ul.Haq or Malku?

Answer). I shall definitely select Ibrar.ul.Haq to sing a song with me. Although, Malku is one of my very good friends but Ibrar.ul.Haq has a certain passion to sing Punjabi songs with most perfect vocabulary and purest Punjabi accent. I shall therefore love to sing with him.

Question 18). In our society when people usually mock at the people associated with showbiz and music industry and they use such a bad name for them; like Mirasi. How do you feel in such type of situations and how do you respond?

Answer). I simply laugh at such people who are maintaining dual standards. First, they love to attend musical concerts and they spend huge money on buying tickets to meet their favourite singers and celebrities. They make maximum efforts to come closer to their favourite singers and they struggle a lot to obtain their autographs… but at the same time, they also disrespect them by calling them Mirasi. I have nothing to say about such people. I can only laugh at their mentalities.

Question 19). Please tell us how do you spend your time with your family, especially when you are not working? What kind of a husband are you? What kind of a father are you?

Answer). I always try my level best to maintain my day-to-day professional and personal activities. I never compromise with my profession but when it is time for my family, I spend happiest time with my wife and my kids. As far as my wife is concerned; she has so much compromising nature because she understands my busiest schedules (especially, in case I am on foreign tours). Sometimes, she really feels irritated when I receive phone calls from my female fans but her anger does not stay for long. Further, being a responsible father, I am quite concerned with good education of my both sons and the only daughter. You already know that I didn’t complete my education but I really want my kids to complete their studies and to establish their careers.

Question 20). Being a minority, do you think you got more attention due to your Sikh religion and your traditional appearance? Do you feel that your unique appearance is an advantage or disadvantage to your professional career?

Answer). Believe me that I get so much attention and appreciation due to my Sikh identity only. In the beginning of my professional career, many people used to assume me an Indian and I used to explain the fact in every concert and in every program that I am not an Indian singer; I am a Pakistani. Anyways, now a huge number of people know me very well and they appreciate my traditional appearance.

Question 21). What has inspired you to keep your Sikh identity intact?

Answer). Besides my professional career and other artistic activities; I am so much religious inside. It is one of the primary responsibilities of a Sikh man to portray himself a true follower of Guru Gobind Singh ji (our 10th Guru) and being a true Sikh, it is my foremost duty to maintain my appearance. So, modernism and showbiz can never create any change in my Sikh identity.

Question 22). What kind of minorities’ projects you are currently doing?

Answer). I am not directly involved in minorities’ projects; neither I am particularly running that sort of programs but yes, whenever such organizations and NOGs invite me to join their charity programs for live performance or for some fund raising, I surely join them.

Question 23). What is your message for the Sikh youth of Pakistan?

Answer). I have so many things to convey to the Sikh youth of Pakistan… Be loyal and sincere to your country. Make your best efforts for development in Pakistan. Say NO to corruption. Spread love and don’t create hatred. Appreciate charities and help the poor and needy people.