Annie Khalid talks touring, talent and tunes with Sonia Ahmed
1.What’s changed since your breakthrough in Bollywood?
Well 2008/09 was the start of everything it changed everything in my career. I started endorsing brands and had more Indian fans; at least 60%! And all of them are begging for me to go back to Bollywood.
2.Was that a turning point in your life?
I changed professionally, in the sense that my career magnified as well as my star quality and demand for performances. However, as a person I haven’t changed at all. Since then I’ve released two albums.
3. You turned from a teenager into a woman! Did you face any hard challenges?
I still feel like I am 12! Even though I have worked since I was 18. People also say that I look exactly the same. It hasn’t been hard at all it’s actually been amazing. Even when working in Pakistan I had no problem going from urban to rural places. It was incredible that in the villages where no one speaks English my fans were singing the English lyrics in my songs.
When I’m on tour me and my crew make videos and document every aspect of our life. Also, I am working on a documentary to show the real Pakistan, which will be exciting. When I am in Pakistan I wear a niqab in order to not be recognised but I admire those who religiously wear niqabs.
4. You must be proud to be a British/Pakistani singer… Pop princess of Pakistan?
I am very proud to be a British Pakistani however, when I am asked which ethnicity I am I never mention to British I’m Pakistani – I’m mainly an Essex girl, even though I have lived half my life in Pakistan.
5. What’s unique about your talent?
As an artist your personality should be evident in your music. My music is very cheesy pop and I do this consciously. I am aware that this is a massive market and it is commercial and when doing my music I keep this in mind. Also, everyone loves pop music because it’s so catchy! I also do love songs; Pakistan loves them! I also love mehndi songs, in Pakistan the mehndi’s are bigger than the actual wedding. I did a supporting event in Norway and we were messing with my good friend Alexander. It was hilarious because we were scaring him about what will happen when he visits Pakistan. We did say that when he arrives we will sell him for some camels and it was so funny. The reason we did this is that when he actually arrives at Pakistan he will be surprised on how normal and amazing Pakistan is. It is sad that Pakistan is being portrayed as a horrible country. Beautiful places are being destroyed and it is devastating.
6. Tell us about your reggae infused release - Boom Boom Danze ft Beanie Man. How did that come about?
I am a very big reggae fan! And due to this release I now have a lot of Jamaican fans who send me beats and lyrics; it’s so cute. It started when our manager suggested of us two collaborating. He works off a vibe and I’m like that too I love it.
7.You have teamed up with Rishi Rich for dance smash Tujhe Yaad Kiya…
I’m singing in English and Punjabi in the song. My best friend is Punjabi and she loves the song. Singing in Punjabi I was at first intimidated by the language at first. However, the song is poetic and its nice to know what the song means so you can really connect with it.
8. What is the secret to your hair?
I oil my hair everyday with warm coconut oil and massage my scalp. I wash my hair everyday but not all the time with shampoo. I am working on a natural no chemical shampoo at home. I will tell you how it goes. Everyone has a different type of curl, for instance when I was a baby I had an afro and then it grew out like this. The only thing I can say is hydrate your hair, give it life and constantly oil your hair. I have an aloe vera plant at home and I literally scrape the fluid from the leaves and rub it in my hair.
9. How long does it take to wash and style your hair?
I straighten my hair once in a blue moon. When sleeping I do the pineapple method and tie a silk scarf around my hair. It’s hard to believe but it only takes five minutes for me to style my hair.
10.Toni and Guy spotted you!
Yeah I modelled for Toni and Guy in 2012. They loved my curly hair and styled and coloured it in so many ways. They basically took full advantage of it.
11. How did it feel with your face on millions of Pepsi cans in Pakistan?
It felt amazing because Britney Spears was on the cans of Pepsi in America and I am a big fan of Britney.
12. Do you get more male fans or female fans?
Most of my fan base are males and they are so cute. I do get a lot of them asking for me to speak to their mothers about marriages. I also get sent phone numbers and invitations to my own weddings. I do get a lot of guys who stand outside my house. There was this one in particular who stood outside my house for a whole day in the rain. This guy even knew my schedule! I felt bad for him, however you don't know what kind of person they are and it is dangerous because although they're a fan, you don't actually know them.
13. What's next for you and who would you like to work with next?
Basically just making more music, albums, performances and collaborating with other artists. In a dream world I would love to work with Britney Spears, Tinie Tempah and Wiley. I love that urban, street, UK sound and I want to work with that sound more.
Find out more about Annie.