• 03 Feb - 09 Feb, 2018
  • Marvi Masud
  • Interview

Sporting a bright purple blazer and a ginormous pair of earrings, Natasha could easily be the most vibrant in the crowded room she was interviewed. For someone who’s so petite and small-framed, Ejaz projects a colossal amount of energy that is almost too contagious. “Growing up, my friends used to call me the energizer bunny because I’ve always had a lot of energy – bouncing off the walls, really,” she recalls. Having moved to Karachi from Islamabad about five years ago, Ejaz seems adamant about going wherever her passions lead her.

The singer, dancer, songwriter and recently turned voice-over artiste – for upcoming movie Allahyar and The Legend of Markhor – reminisces about how she’s always wanted to be a performer. “I was three years old when I came up to my mom and said, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to become an actor and a singer and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.’ I was really young, so my mom obviously thought I was possessed but now I’m 30 years old, and that’s exactly what I’m doing!” And how right she was because singing is definitely what this rock star was born to do.

Her singing journey kicked off in Malaysia where she studied at the International College of Music. “I’m a sound engineer by certification; I’ve studied audio production with voice and music on the side.” Ejaz greatly emphasised on the importance of self-study and finding your own music identity. The artiste claims there was a time she felt misunderstood in Pakistan.

“At first, I thought I was misunderstood in Pakistan but later, I realised that I just didn’t know how to communicate and that’s what college has taught me.” When asked why the diva felt misunderstood, she shared, “My music is indefinite in terms of what genre it is, where it comes from and where it belongs. All the themes that I sing and write about are all very spiritual and vague. So, at first I’d be afraid of whether or not people would be able to understand it. The thing is people try putting you inside a cookie-cutter, they’ll ask you to do love songs because that’s apparently what sells. And I was doing Indie music from the get-go, which was something very difficult to break into back then. Going to college has helped me cultivate a strong musical identity, an identity so strong that I know I can throw something completely different out there and people will still come back to me.”

Talking about her recent projects, Ejaz is all geared up for her animated movie Allahyar and The Legend of Markhor where she has voiced the character of Mehru. “I love Mehru; she’s small, she’s feisty, she’s fiery and she is a princess! She’s very strong headed, very strong willed, I would say. Together, she and Allahyar go through a lot.”

The animated film tells the story of an eight-year-old boy named Allahyar who is voiced by none other than the talented Anum Zaidi. Together, Allahyar and Mehru go through all sorts of adventures. But the movie isn’t just a visual treat as it also discusses some very important social issues.

“Mehru learns a lot about racism in this film. It saddens me to say this, but a lot of families are okay with their kids passing off-handed remarks in terms of race and ethnicity and things like that. It’s a very special film so I’m very excited about how the movie will be received by the audience.”

Apart from voicing Mehru, Ejaz has co-written a song for the movie titled Paharon se Agay.

“I worked with Ahmed Ali, who’s also a musical genius. Together, we were supposed to come up with a song that would push the storyline forward. This was something I’ve wanted to do for years! I mean, I still sing songs from Aladdin and Tangled!”

Having so many talents, one would wonder what this diva enjoys doing most. “That’s something I’ve been confused about throughout my professional life. I could never decide on that one thing I should focus on. Luckily, at some point I figured, if I have all these serious passions then the best thing for me to do is just follow them all to the best of my abilities, in whatever context I can.” She then explained how she chooses a project on the basis of the script and then tries to inculcate as many of her talents as possible.

Having it being the first time that Ejaz has worked as a voice-over artiste in an animated film, she spoke of the challenges she faced and how she managed to overcome them. “I have two personality traits that clash with one another: one that I’m a perfectionist and the second, that I’m very insecure. Like most artistes, we sometimes feel like our work isn’t good enough and that’s probably why we become such perfectionists, I guess it just comes with the baggage. For me, it was honestly a challenge to calm down my emotions. I’d have to remind myself that I’ve been hired for a reason. That the entire cast and director has complete faith in me and I guess it’s that trust that helps us move forward.”

When asked about what advice she’d like to give to youngsters who are trying to break into the industry, she highlighted the importance of staying true to oneself. “It’s important to stay true to yourself throughout. When you enter the industry, there will be a lot of people offering you advice and if any of the advice leads you into doing something that’s even baseline level not you, it’s okay, let it go. The real crux is the longevity of your career and how truthful and genuine you are – with your work, with yourself and the people around you. It’s very important not to lose track of who you are in this entire process and just be positive. Sometimes, you just need to keep your head down and let it go. In the end, it’s your work that’s going to carry you forward. Nothing else matters, whether it’s fame or people. They will only come to you if you’re dedicated and willing to give it your all. Because people know when you put your heart and soul into something, it just shows! You can’t just expect to wake up one day, create an Instagram account and become a star. There’s an entire process that you need to go through if you want to be successful.”

With a few projects in the pipeline, Ejaz will be putting up another song in the next weeks to come. As far as the future is concerned, this workaholic simply hopes to keep acting and singing, and stand behind projects where she can proudly say, “Haan, bro. Yeh hai!” Considering her talents, we don’t expect anything less from her!