Pakistani singer Shae Gill, who burst into the collective consciousness of those from the Subcontinent with her mammoth hit ‘Pasoori’, is not a classically trained singer nor was she born into a family who understood music. She just began singing cover-songs on Instagram and her best friend-slash-painter Imaan shot and uploaded those videos. There was no rhyme or design to her artistic journey or growth, claims Gill.
In 2022, Gill hit the big league when her duet song with Ali Sethi ‘Pasoori’ on ‘Coke Studio Season 14’ – Pakistan’s longest-running show which has doubled up as a platform to find new and rare talents -- went viral. Overnight, her fan-following on Instagram quadrupled and she became a known name in Pakistan and India.
“I do think my growth has been organic. I wasn’t planning to be a professional singer. My friend and I were doing it for fun … So my songs weren’t advertised or sponsored. Through Instagram where we posted videos of my songs and ghazals, I got into Coke Studio,” said Gill in an interview with Gulf News ahead of her concert in Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena on October 14.
“I am OK with not being classically trained because you can learn a lot of stuff on YouTube now. A lot of my fellow artists have told me the same … While I wish my parents had given me some training, I don’t think they could have afforded it at that time,” said Gill.
Gill joins the likes of Faisal Kapadia, Ali Sethi, and Justin Bibis who will perform at the ‘Coke Studio Live’.
“Everything feels a bit surreal … I just keep telling myself that ‘I got this and I just have to do my own thing … I have stage fright, but I am learning to get over it,” said Gill.
The 24-year-old singer, who has gathered her own army of followers and loyalists, claim her fans who have embraced her is her biggest strength and armour.
“People keep asking me if I have processed all that fame that has come my way, but I am yet to really understand it. I just want to sing more and have more fun. I wasn’t thinking of being noticed, I was just doing my thing with my best friend,” said Gill.
Gill, who’s painfully media-shy and is slowly learning how to be articulate, even lets us in on a secret.
“I have terrible stage fright, but I am learning to get over it slowly,” said Gill. It’s only recently that she even began handling her own Instagram account. Earlier her best friend Imaan – who convinced her to start posting her renditions on Instagram -- used to take care of her account. So how does she deal with the trolls, apart from the adulation?
“Nobody is free from it and you will get some hate from somewhere. It’s now become a part of life and you can never really escape it … Honestly, I never got into singing, thinking that I will get noticed. I was just doing my own thing and discovering things along the way,” said Gill. Apparently, her friends often told her about the good musicians and artists that are out there that she should listen to.
“And that’s how I know the little bit that I do know,” said Gill. Currently, she’s working on writing on her own song.
“There’s this one song that I have been writing since 2019 and I am just finishing it up now. I am really excited about it and things are looking up. Nothing works better than original content,” said Gill.