‘Mohabbat’, the song that former US President Barack Obama had listed as one of his summer playlist favourites for 2021, has earned a Grammy nomination for Pakistani performer-composer Arooj Aftab.
The singer earned two nominations on Wednesday morning for the 64th Grammy Awards, the biggest being for the Best New Artist, which lands her in a crowded field with nine other breakthrough artistes that include The Kid LAROI, Arlo Parks and Olivia Rodrigo. Her track ‘Mohabbat’ has also been nominated in the Best Global Music Performance category.
Fans took to social media shortly after the announcement to celebrate her nomination, with former singer and music industry veteran Fifi Haroon leading the congratulations on Twitter. “WOW! Pakistani singer #AroojAftab gets nominated for a #Grammy in the New Artist Category for an Urdu song! In July 2021 Arooj made it to President Obama’s Summer playlist for her cover of Mohabat (karney waley kam na honge) an original by Mehdi Hasan,” posted Haroon.
Bollywood actress and filmmaker Pooja Bhatt also responded to Haroon’s post lauding Aftab’s “incredible voice”.
Twitter user Omer Khan added: “Omggg Grammy @arooj_aftab so so proud of you as Pakistani you represent our nation I wish you best of luck more power to you.”
“Proud moment for Pakistan. A Pakistani girl is nominated for Grammy for two categories,” posted Ahmad Waqas Chughtai.
The Saudi-born singer, who currently lists Brooklyn, New York as her home, is known for her soothing music with minimalist, jazz and neo-Sufi overtones.
While Aftab commands a large following with her Pakistani and Asian fanbase, her breakthrough can be credited to Obama for placing her on the map and giving her global visibility.
Incidentally, Obama has also been nominated for a Grammy this year, his third overall, for his audiobook ‘A Promised Land’, which has made it to the Best Spoken Word Album shortlist. He is up against Dave Chappelle, LeVar Burton, Don Cheadle and J. Ivy.
This year’s nominees has seen Jon Bapiste earn the maximim number of nominations, with 11 to his credit. Bapiste is best known for his nightly appearances since 2015 on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’.
Coming in a close second are Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R., who have eight each; Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo are tied with seven nominations.
Fan favourite Taylor Swift earned just one nomination for album of the year, for her ‘evermore’. Kanye West’s ‘Donda’ is also up for the big prize, along with three hip-hop awards.
Meanwhile, K-pop supergroup BTS may have won big at the recent American Music Awards but the septet got one nomination, for pop duo/group, for ‘Butter’.