The latest Coke Studio sensation, Momina Mustehsan is her candid best as she talks about everything from her engagement to her future plans and even digs deep to tell us something nobody else knows about her!
Q1) Tell us a bit about home, why did you move from the States to Islamabad?
I haven’t moved to Islamabad, I only came to Pakistan for Coke Studio and kept extending my trip because I love it so much here. I’m heading back to NYC in a week.
Q2) How was it being featured on a grand platform like Coke Studio (with the talented Rahat Fateh Ali Khan). How did the collaboration come about?
I have been very lucky to have been given the opportunity to be the first artist to debut at Coke Studio with three songs, each one different from the other. My first song with Ustaad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was extremely overwhelming, getting to share the floor with a living legend was a huge honour. What caught me by surprise was how humble, helpful, and encouraging he was. I had such an incredible experience working with all three producers –Faakhir, Noori and Shuja Haider– and of course, Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia. Overall, it was a very exciting, learning and fruitful journey.
Q3) When working on a song how does the process begin or does it change from project to project?
It depends on the song and its purpose. Creative processes can’t be defined or standardised. It might be the concept that comes to you first, or the melody, or maybe a bunch of interesting sounding chords you might randomly find yourself playing.
Q4) How are you dealing with all the fame? Did you ever think you would make it this big?
I never thought about a post-Coke Studio scenario. Everyone kept telling me that I should probably line up a team to handle what was to come after the release, but I really didn’t think I would need to because I didn’t expect such a huge response. Initially, I freaked out and started experiencing severe anxiety, since I consider myself a fairly private person and suddenly anything I did was everyone’s business. But I think I’m coping pretty okay with it now. The only challenge that I need to address now is how to channelise this attention that I’m getting in the right direction and for the right causes. I am really not about stardom, glamour or giving unnecessary attention to superficial things.
Q5) Tell us about your engagement, how did you two meet and what was the first thing you noticed about your fiancé?
Ali was visiting from Los Angeles for his brother’s wedding earlier this month, that’s where we met for the first time. I don’t know about myself, but the first thing he noticed about me was my love for food. My first conversation with him started with him commenting on how much food he had seen me eat at his brother’s mehndi!
Q6) Do you plan on continuing to pursue your music career?
I love making music and I would love to continue doing that.
Q7) Was your family supportive about your music career?
Yes! My family is my backbone,without whose support I cannot function. They were skeptical about it initially, and I don’t blame them because I also had my own set of concerns, but they helped me make my decision.
Q8) What is your favourite song?
My current favorite song is from Coke Studio, Jhalliya by Javed Bashir, Masuma Anwar and Shahzad Nawaz
Q9) Who do you envy and why?
Amal Clooney. She is able to make such a meaningful difference in the world by being a human rights lawyer. Also, she carries herself with impeccable grace. I don’t envy her, but I really do look up to her.
Q10) What’s on the cards for you in 2017?
I plan on starting my master’s degree in Industrial Engineering. There are a few initiatives that I am currently working on in Pakistan related to women’s empowerment, providing quality education to the deprived through instructional videos, and building a drug delivery device to aid polio eradication. I hope 2017 will see these pick up and materialise.
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