Hasan Raheem on why music will always be his side hustle


Hasan Raheem has managed to make quite a name for himself in a short span of time – thanks to his distinct, free-flowing approach to the Pakistani music scene. At the same time, he is a heartthrob of sorts, the chiselled ‘sad boi’ who has ladies going gaga over a pink hoodie and a one-take video, shot on a random road in Karachi’s DHA.

The video is as random as his entry into the music scene – there’s nothing, absolutely nothing planned about his arrival, but one look at his numbers and the number of tracks he throws every now then is enough to know that he is here to stay. Hasan Raheem may just be the success story the Pakistani indie scene was waiting for.

This month, the who’s who of the Pakistani entertainment industry flew down to Dubai for an international award night. The three-day extravaganza had the celebs put their best foot forward, be it on the red carpet or for meet-and-greet sessions. However, sitting in his own company was Hasan, in a bright pink pair of shorts, a worn-out T-shirt and red sliders, with a quintessential I-don’t-give-a-damn look, almost tailor-made for an event where everyone wants to care about you. That’s when I approached him.

“You guys finally have me, huh?” Hasan laughs as he takes a long drag from his vape. The singer recently graduated as a doctor and he is ecstatic to have been done with his undergrad. It was deemed rare for someone pursuing medicine to change course and give singing a shot instead, but Hasan seems to have his priorities in check. “Music was always here – from the start,” he tells The Express Tribune. “I was through my medical school and that’s when I put down the scalpel and picked up the pen. I started writing a few songs.”

The onstage presence, for Hasan, was hardly a stumbling block. “I had always performed in my school, on cultural days,” a smile plays on the corner of his mouth as he recalls. “But once I got to writing the songs, that’s when I realised that I can do this and do this well. I just kept on writing, kept on releasing songs and I am glad everyone started liking it. Since I received so much love from the fans, I just kind of had to stick to it as well.”

Hasan came into the big picture with mainstream music after his hit track, Paisa, a noteworthy collaboration with Young Stunners, became the talk of the town. It was after the success of the song that the youngster really came to terms with fame. Hasan’s trademark laid-back vibe in the music videos really did the trick for many as well. “I released Paisa and Joona in quick succession. Both of these tracks were out within a week and it just boomed out henceforth. I didn’t realise the impact it had for the first three-four months. It didn’t really hit me that it is really happening!” he goes on. “Not just Paisa, even Joona was picking up at the same pace. Everyone was making and sending me videos like the ones I had filmed for the songs. That just gives you a big boost of self-confidence.”

But Hasan’s personal favourite is neither of the two. The singer is rather keen on his 2020 release, Aisay Kaisay. “Oh, Aisay Kaisay is that one track that is closest to me,” he comments. “It was shot in one take – the first take. I just really like the whole feel to it.”

What’s down the pipeline? “I have a few commercial projects. They’re going to come out by December or January,” Hasan reveals. “I’m also working on my singles, I have a few new songs too that are being worked upon.” But that’s not it. The singer also opens up about being open to collaborations. He was recently featured in Shamoon Ismail’s latest album where the two collaborated for a hip number, Faasla.

“It was a great experience. I would definitely be up for more collaboration,” the Aarzu singer shared, adding, “Collaborating with the singers in the same scene is definitely something I would love to work on but apart from that, I also look forward to working with struggling artists. I know, a year from today, how difficult it is to be recognised and I would love to bring the hidden talent forth. You need to help those young artists as well. We need to pick everyone up along the way.” 

Hasan also shares he has been working on a track with Abdullah Siddiqui as well. “It’s due soon,” he smiles. “He [Abdullah] just sent me a beat and he told me, ‘I have this beat for you and you do anything you want with it.’ So, I went on to write a song for it. It’s about a girl I want and she doesn’t really want me back. Abdullah is singing and producing it as well.”

Hasan’s extraordinary rise also saw him as a brand ambassador for a few fashion brands. Addressing the same, the crooner chuckled, “The thought about being in fashion brands was never deliberate. It just came along the way.” He further adds, “I personally feel it’s very hectic because my house job is ongoing as well and I have no plans on abandoning medicine as my profession. I don’t want to leave it. You don’t want to miscalculate your priorities. Medicine will always be first for me and I hope it stays that way. Music will always be my side hustle.”

Adding on, the singer also remarks that he isn’t too pumped about on getting onscreen. “I cannot act. I don’t think I will ever act,” he tells me as we wrap up our chat. “I think you have to have a lot of patience to get into acting. I don’t see myself doing that. I would have to convince myself first to think about committing to something as demanding as acting.”

As the world returns to normalcy, concerts and gigs under strict Covid-19 SOPs have made a comeback. Hasan, who is still getting accustomed to screaming fans and overpour of affection, says it is still a surreal feeling when people sing along his tracks during the live gigs. “The first live performance had some 40 people in Lahore,” Hasan reminisces. “And the last concert I had in Karachi had over 1000 people. When they were singing my songs, my legs started shaking and I couldn’t really comprehend the love I was getting, it was so overwhelming. But it also gives you a huge boost of confidence. When you receive so much love from fans, you just have this absolute need to give your 100% back. I hope I do justice to it.”

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