ISLAMABAD Sept 5 (TNS): Today is Pakistani singer-songwriter Momina Mustehsan’s 25th birthday. She is one of the most sought-out media personalities in Pakistan.
She at first learnt to play violin and sang in public for the first time in a choir of her grade school, without any formal music training. Recalling, Mustehsan told that her teacher had asked her if she had something to show and had said, “I think you sing well”.
Her first encounter with the music came in 2004, when she recorded her first cover of Irish singer Damien Rice’s song “The Blower’s Daughter”. Despite having no background of musical training she was praised at that time.
2011–2015: “Pee Jaun” and Ek Villian
At Junoon’s twentieth anniversary, Mustehsan recorded a song “Sajna” for their album Junoon 20 in Volume I, the song was written by Ali Azmat and was a bonus track on album.
In 2012, she wrote the lyrics for the song “Pee Jaun”, and sung with Farhan Saeed. The song was also featured in 2015 Nescafe Basement with Mustehsan singing along with Hamza Tanveer.
In 2014, she recorded a song “Awari” for Pakistani band Soch who approached her, without telling her that they are going to use the song in Indian film Ek Villain.
She explained, “I was approached by Soch and they wanted me to feature on their track without disclosing what it was for Indian film.” She recorded the song in her university dorm. “It was an extremely casual process and I never met anyone in person. I recorded the song on my own in New York. The contract was signed after the track had been lined up for release.”
On her future ventures she said, “I’m always working on new pieces. Music is a passion for me and not a profession. I have plenty of time on my hands… I might be working on a Pakistani project later this year. It’s something that I am excited about.”
2016–present: Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay and Coke Studio
In 2016, Mustehsan recorded her first song “Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay” for a romantic drama film Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay and marked her Coke Studio debut as a featured artist in season 9 later that year. Her first song “Afreen Afreen”, alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, broke all previous Coke Studio records by accumulating over 2.5 million views in one day. The other songs she performed “Main Raasta”, partially written by her, and “Tera Woh Pyar (Nawazishein Karam)” along with Junaid Khan and Asim Azhar respectively. Commenting on her Coke Studio success she said, “It was very overwhelming for me because these are classics I am singing with very well-known singers. For me it was a great honor. I was also very nervous – I never get nervous for anything. But I got appreciated a lot once the songs were recorded.”
Revealing on her future in music Mustehsan said “I don’t want to pursue music as a career. For me, it was hard to make a decision since I had no references. Maybe after me, people would come out to show their talent,” and explained “I don’t think releasing number of albums defines a musician. I do music for myself and not for the masses. I’m not into the idea of being a celebrity or having people know or follow me.”
In February 2017, she released the anthem for the Pakistan Super League franchise Islamabad United. In December 2016, Mustehsan became the goodwill ambassador of a cricket team, Islamabad United for the Pakistan Super League.
She is planning a distant education program for children in rural Pakistan along with a polio campaign. On a T.V interview, she said, “I plan introducing distant education plans for children in rural areas where there are no schools or a learning environment. We’ll introduce learning videos which, along with projectors, would be provided to the mosques in different areas to enable children to learn. From making roties [bread] to learning physics, they’ll get it all.”
Mustehsan’s latest debut Muntazir in Coke Studio’s season 10 with Daniyal Zafar remains the highest played song of this season with 4 million views on YouTube till the date.
Mustehsan’s mother Huma Mustehsan is a doctor, and father Kazim Mustehsan is a retired brigadier and a recipient of Sitara-i-Imtiaz from Pakistan Army. They live in Nassau County, New York.
Mustehsan completed her A ’Level from Lahore Grammar School, and later moved to the States for higher studies and graduated with a double majors degree in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the Stony Brook University, New York in 2016. At the time of her graduation, her name was in the Dean’s list.
We wish Momina Mustehsan the happiest 25th birthday!