Hadiqa Kiyani is a Pakistani Pop Singer. After working on a successful music project with Adnan Sami, Kiani released her successful debut album, Raaz. After a musical ban imposed on her from the government, Kiani successfully returned to the music scene with her second album, Roshni, which remains her best selling album to date and helped establish her icon as the country's leading female vocalist. Kiani followed up Roshni with a more mature album, Rung. In 2007, she became the first Pakistani mainstream artist to release a complete English album, Rough Cut.
Kiani is also set to be a judge on a Pakistani version of American Idol, and released her fifth album, Aasmaan in June 2009.
Kiani is also set to be a judge on a Pakistani version of American Idol, and released her fifth album, Aasmaan in June 2009.
Kiani was born on August 17. She is the youngest of 3 siblings, her older brother and sister who. Her father died when she was 3 years old. Kiani recalls the experience of losing her father on an interview show called Heart to Heart on ARY. She said it was very difficult for a few years for her family as issues had risen after her father's death, but she also said her mother was very brave throughout their upbringing. Her mother Khawar was a principle of a government all girl school while Kiani and her older siblings were growing up right after her father's death the family had to move into the school. Kiani and both her brother and sister had a knack for music, and as such her mother and school enlisted her in the Pakistan National Council Of The Arts. Kiani then performed in front of a crowd of a thousand people, at Liaqat Memorial Hall Pindi.
She went on to study at Viqar-un-Nisa Noon Girls High School Pindi. She represented Pakistan in International children festivals in Turkey, Jordan, Bulgaria, and Greece, winning various medals along the way. She also used to be on Sohail Rana's "Rang Barangi Dunya"; a weekly musical.
As an eighth grader Kiani moved from birth place Rawalpindi to Lahore. She was then enrolled Naya Aligar Public School. She then went on to Kinnaird and Govt. College, due to her excellent academic performance, and earned a masters in Psychology.
Television and film
Kiani came onto TV to host a children music program from PTV called Angan Angan Taray. In the three and a half year long run, she had sung over a thousand songs for children.  She also appeared as a VJ for various musical shows.
Kiani appeared as a playback singer for a musical movie called Sargam in 1994. The same year, she received awards for her playback singing.
Kiani released her debut album Raaz (Secret) in 1995. Kiani wrote the lyrics to her first single, "Jeevan" (Life). The album spawned a string of radio friendly tunes and generally had favorable reviews. One reason Kiani's album did well was because it was not common for female singers to release albums at the time. Also, she was the first female singer to release a pop album after a former pop singer, Nazia Hassan, gave up her musical career in 1993. Kiani's ability to sing in various dialects also helped the album gain momentum. She was however labeled as a "Nazia imitator", mostly due to the fact Nazia was the only female singer her before her to introduce pop music in the country.
Still, Raaz performed well. The album's success was highlighted by it being mentioned in an article which showed the major events in Pakistan's music history. The article stated "Hadiqa Kiani successfully releases debut album Raaz". She also won "NTM Viewer's choice award" for the best female Singer of Pakistan in 1995.
In 1996, Kiani's debut had sold over 700,000 thousand copies, a very impressive figure for Pakistan. This milestone came when piracy in Pakistan hit an all time high (and still persists, Pakistan is ranked in one of the top 3 leading countries of Piracy, alongside Malaysia and China), causing all international labels to leave the country in 1994 itself. She kept on releasing singles from the album, all of which were received well. These included "Yaad", "Tu Agar Mil Jaata", "Jaan E Jan", and "Manne Di Mauj".
Her increasing popularity was further highlighted in 1997 when Kiani became the first Asian singer ever to perform on the British National Lottery Live BBC1 (estimated viewership 16.6 million). Afterwards she worked on two more shows with Bally Sagoo for BBC 2 and ITV before moving to perform in the U.S. Her U.S. tour covered 15 states and a show in Canada too. The same year Kiani performed on several other international events such as "Celebration Hong Kong 97", alongside other singers like Lisa Stansfield, Wet Wet Wet, Michael Learns to Rock, All 4 One and The Brand New Heavies. By the end of the year she became the first Asian female singer ever to be signed by Pepsi Cola International. She is also the second female in the world to achieve this, with the first being Gloria Estefan.
In 1998 Kiani began working on her second music album, Roshni (Light). The album was dedicated to her nephew Sonu, the son of her older sister, Kiani took care of her nephew and has considered him as a significant person in her life. The first single off the album, "Tu Nawa Tu Sada" was released before the album was released. Kiani then released a second single, "Inteha-e-Shauq". The song was the official song found for the Pakistani Cricket team for the Cricket World Cup that year. Both songs being patriotic gained favorable reviews, however "Inteha-e-Shauq" was a much better success for Kiani. On November 1, 1998 Kiani released Roshni. Initial album sales were powered mostly by "Inteha-e-Shauq", which made the final listing of the album along with "Tu Nawa Tu Sada".
Hadiqa's third single off the album, "Dupatta" was an instant success. Its video was inspired by the sci-fi film The Matrix, and was the highest budgeting video in Pakistan in the year 1999. "Dupatta" also gained more popularity than any single Kiani had released before from her debut single. To date it is considered one of Kiani's greatest songs ever. The song is also listed in the Twenty Best Pop Songs Ever for Pakistan, where it is positioned at #15. The success of the song was attributed to its quasi-bhangra rhythm with fat, funky techno beats, and Hadiqa’s "dreamy-meets-husky- vocals", which made the results "stunning." In wake of Dupatta's success, Kiani soon went on the be widely accepted as the country's leading female vocalist.
Capitalizing on "Dupatta's" success, Kiani went on to release two other moderate hits, "Roshni", and "Woh Kaun Hai". She then delivered once again by releasing a sixth single off the album, "Boohey Barian" which went on to become an even bigger hit for her than "Dupatta". To date, "Boohey Barian" is widely accepted as Kiani's best single ever. However, the song was copied from Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans' hit single, "Panj Baariyan".
Kiani's massive success in 1999 was highlighted when she won PTV World viewer's choice award for the best female singer in 2000.. She also released a seventh single off the album, "Intezaar".
Roshni sold over a million copies in Pakistan alone, an extremely impressive figure for a poor country which is still largely male dominant and has an extremely high rate of piracy in the world. Kiani's image also became a signature look in cities like Karachi. These included long coat-like sherwanis and snake printed trousers and Nabila's chic cuts and color. This style by Kiani was a standard to many women who looked up to her in Pakistani cities like Karachi and Defense Lahore. It is widely known as Kiani's best album to date. The album is listed in "The 20 Best Local Pop Albums Ever" for the country, positioned at #15. In the entire list, Hadiqa is just one of two female singers listed, with the other being Nazia Hassan. The review stated
This is the album with which Hadiqa finally overcame her reputation of being a folksy Nazia Hassan imitator. Glided across various different genres in a single album, from millennium techno, to crisp FM-pop and the usual folk-pop thing. The brilliant production remains to be the highlight here.
In another list called "The 10 Best Local Pop Albums...ever" Roshni was placed at number 9. The review also highlighted Hadiqa's status rise by stating
However, on the excellent and crisply produced "Roshni", not only did Hadiqa manage to ultimately become the next Nazia, but the way she so effortlessly glided through the many distinct genres she explores on "Roshni" (from Neo-Filmi-Pop to FM-Pop to Techno), elevated her status to being one of the post-modern Indo-Pak pop scene's leading "pop diva"
Kiani's success got her signed by "Uni Lever" for celebrity endorsement of Lipton Yellow Label in 2001. In 2002, she was signed again by "Uni Lever" for Sunsilk Shampoo. Throughout 2001 and 2002, she performed live concerts in USA , Canada , U.K, Middle East, Far East, Australia, Norway, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey on multiple occasions.
Hadiqa Kiani released her third album Rung (Colors) in September 2002, for which she'd chosen the album title herself. Prior to Rung's release, Kiani sang an OST for a drama called Cheray. The song also made the final listing on Rung.
The first single released from Rung was "Yaad Sajan". The song helped the album sales propel throughout September and August 2002 and was an instant hit. It didn't however make it as big as "Dupatta" or "Boohey Barian", but generally got great appreciation.
Where Kiani released multiple videos for her previous albums within months after the album release, she didn't do so with Rung because of a personal crisis in her life. Her marriage was seeing problems. Issues with her marriage saw her being removed from the spotlight for the rest of 2002, and early 2003. Rung's sales slowly declined since no other single had been released. Her divorce was finalized in March 2003. She decided to take a few months off from her music career then. As a result, Rung's sales seemed stalled.
She returned to promote the album in June 2003, almost 10 months after she'd released "Yaad Sajan" with a new single "Ranjhan" and several stage performances and tours around the country. She then released other singles off the album throughout 2003 and 2004. These included "Jogi Bun Kay Aa", "Mahi", and "Dholan".
Her newer singles saw her videos seeing a drastic improvement in standard and concept. In "Jogi Bun Kay Aa" Kiani plays various roles of women, including a traditional Japanese, an Arab, and a tribal woman. She played the role of a vampire in her video for "Mahi". The video was also sending the message to not judge people of different faiths and casts, and to not stereotype. It was the highest budgeting video of the year 2003. Despite the setback from her divorce, Kiani's album sales picked up through 2003 and 2004. In 2004, she received the Best Female Pop Singer Award by Indus Music, the first 24 hour music channel of Pakistan. Dr.Asim Raza won an award for best video for directing her video Mahi.
Rung got mixed reviews from experts. Overall it didn't capitalize on the momentum she generated by Roshni. Many argue that this is due to the fact that Rung has more mature slow paced ballads than Roshni, while some say the turmoils of her personal life, along with the increase of piracy in the country caused its sales to decline. Album official sales tally have not been mentioned anywhere.
However Kiani still remained a strong figure in the industry, despite the setback. Her name was mentioned in a list called "Pakistani Pop's 10 most Influential Acts Ever", where she positioned at number 9. She is also one of just 2 female singers in the list, with the other being Nazia Hassan. A UK based Magazine declared Hadiqa as the 22nd greatest music maker of South Asia out of Top 50, also mentioning on how she raised the standard of music videos in the country.
2005-2006 worldwide performances
Kiani didn't release any single to promote Rung sales in 2005 and 2006. However, she continued to build on her success by touring heavily these years. Most of the time she was the official representative of Pakistan appointed by the government.
On August 11, 2005, Kiani performed in Nagoya for the Prime Minister of Japan Mr.Junichiro Koizumi. Kiani was invited to perform in Toronto on 14 Aug, 2005 by The Pakistani Consulate. She performed in Houston on 13th August 2005. The show was at Sam Houston Race Park, and it was attended by over 15000 people. Chief guest of the show was Sheila Jackson Lee who is a member of the US House of Representatives. Kiani was asked to take out the lucky draws of PIA and she announced the names of the lucky winners. She then performed at the "Mets" in "Shea Stadium" New York on August 18, 2005. She also performed at the Pakistan Day Parade in New York on August 28, 2005.
She performed in Malaysia on the 2nd October 2005 at the newly built Convention Centre in Kualalampur downtown. The Honorary Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr.Shaukat Aziz was the chief guest of the show. The show was part of Expo 2005 in Malaysia. Important business and political personalities from both countries attended the show. She sang a Malay song, not a Pakistani song.
Kiani represented Pakistan on the 25th Anniversary of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) in Turkey. Islamic Countries such as Azerbaijan, U.A.E, Iran, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Turkey, Pakistan and Yemen took part in the celebrations. The event was organized by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. She performed at the AKM concert Hall on 23 November 2005. Among the audience were musicians from various countries. The biggest surprise for the audience was when Hadiqa sang "Sanalama" (Turkish song of Living Legend "Sezanaksu"). Hadiqa told the audience that as Turkey stood beside Pakistan in good and bad times, she wanted to convey the love of Pakistani people for the Turks. She also told that she visited Turkey as a child star in 80s and represented Pakistan in the International Children's Festival in Turkey so had beautiful childhood memories associated with Turkey. The audience gave her a standing ovation. At the end of her performance, The Mayor of Istanbul presented a bouquet of flowers to her. After her performance she received invitations for Pakistan to participate in the upcoming Art festivals in various countries such as Iran, Syria, Qatar and Lebanon. During her stay in Istanbul she officially visited various historical sites in Turkey and conveyed the love of Pakistan for Turkey. Her performance in Istanbul was important news in various Turkish News papers.
Kiani performed in China for the Chinese 2nd Premier on 21st Feb, 2006. She performed for President George W.Bush on 4 March, 2006. Commenting on her performance, Bush said he liked her accent and wanted her to perform in USA. She performed for the Crown Prince of Brunei Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah on 29 May, 2006.
Kiani performed for Mrs.Laura Bush on September 21, 2006 at The Kennedy Convention Centre, Washington DC. She closed the year by performing for HRH Prince Charles on October 30, 2006, and the Chinese President on November 23, 2006.
2005-2006 music contributions
Though Kiani couldn't release music and didn't promote sales for Rung due to her touring in these years, she still remained a strong figure in the industry due to her contributions and experiments. She also won an Indus Music Award for the Best Female singer for the second time in 2005.
Throughout 2005, Kiani did not release any video to promote Rung. She did however sing in various collaborations with other male singers. She sang the OST for a drama on HUM TV called "Aas Paas" with singer Atif Aslam. She sang 2 more OST's for the same channel, one being "Koi Lamha Gulab Sa" with Ahmed Jehanzeb, and another solo OST for a drama called "Tum Meray Ho". She also was featured in Najam Sheraz's single "In Say Nain" alongside many other featured artists. She was the only female artist in that song. She also performed for a special show on ARY's The Musik called "Re-Mastered", where she sang her songs and covered popular band Fuzon's song Teray Bina. In the same show, Fuzon covered her song Boohey Barian, and asked her to sing with them on their closing number, Aankhon Ke Sagar.
Kiani also performed for Geo TV in May 2005 for their show called "Geo Applause". The show was held at Sailing Club Karachi, and it was attended by large number of important personalities of the pop industry. Hadiqa sang songs that were mostly slow in tempo. Hadiqa told the audience in the beginning of the show that she would sing songs that she personally liked and those might not be people's choice. It was also her return to hosting a show after over a decade. In the show, she gave a tribute to The Carpenters by singing their song I Need to Be in Love. According to the producer of the show (Nadeem J), it was the best "applause" ever recorded for Geo.
In January 2006, Kiani released a single, "Iss Bar Milo". Although the song was off her album Rung, it was used instead to promote a recently formed duo between her and Aamir Zaki. They both had planned to release an English album soon. The song became a huge success, and its video continue to build on the trend of videos Hadiqa had released. In the video Kiani plays a schizophrenic patient at a mental institution for women. Reviews for the rock song were extremely favorable, with people appreciating her acting and her decision to sing different genres.
Kiani had released another video in 2006. She was featured on UK based producer Khiza's album Loyal To The Game. The album's lead single, "Mehr Ma" featured Hadiqa. The song was a massive success in Pakistan, and was seen as a great return for Hadiqa after her ballads in Rung. This was highlighted by the fact that Khiza's same album in Pakistan was titled Mehr Ma and not Loyal to the Game. Also, the album cover in Pakistan only has Kiani on it, not Khiza. In the video, Kiani is seen with different hairstyles and outfits. Kiani also cut her hair short and dyed it red for the video. Its reviews have been extremely favorable. One source says "'Mehr Ma', which starts off the album is easily the best track on it. With Kiani showcasing her top-notch vocals and the music, which remains hip-hopish yet very desi, thanks to the usage of sitar, tabla makes it an excellent number." Hadiqa also performed the song at the 2006 Lux Style Awards, and was called the best performer of the night in reviews. To date, Mehr Ma has the second highest hits of all of Hadiqa's videos on Youtube, only trailing Boohey Barian.
In late October, 2005, Kiani became the first person to adopt a baby from the earthquake. She has named the baby boy "Naad-e-Ali" (though she spells his name Naaday Ali) and officially announced her adoption decision on Geo TV the same night she adopted him on a live show. She then proceeded to announce it in an official press release.
There have been some conflicting opinions with Kiani adopting a baby. Some people argued as to why she was allowed to adopt when there were laws passed against adoption to prevent human trafficking. This however wasn't a strong basis of argument, others said, since the baby was given to her, and it was not she who applied for him. Hadiqa has applied for official adoption of the baby ever since the law against adoption were released. Since the adoption she has married again. She claims the reason to be "wanting to give [her son] Naad-e-Ali the love of a father".
On March 23, 2006, Kiani was awarded the "Tamgha-e-Imtiaz" by the Government of Pakistan, one of the highest civil awards of the country, for acknowledging her services of in the field of music and bringing good name to the country for over a decade. The award was announced on August 14, 2005, but the ceremony was on March 23 the next year.
Yeh Hum Naheen
In March 2007, Kiani was one of the many artists that were featured in a widely popular track called "Yeh Hum Naheen". In this song, various Pakistani artists joined to send out a message that people should stop blaming Muslims for the innocent killings of other Muslims. The song also sends out a anti-terrorism message. Other artists in the song are Haroon, Ali Haider, Ali Zafar, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Strings, and Shuja Haider. The song has been picked up by international stations like Fox News and BBC, and has received over 70,000 downloads.
In August, 2007, Kiani was one of the performers for the Londay Day Parade at Trafalgar Square, London which was broad casted by Geo TV to celebrate 60 years of Independence for the country. Hadiqa was the only singer who sang completely live that day. She was also part of closing the show with the popular patriotic song "Jeevay Pakistan" alongside Ali Zafar.
She also released an Urdu single titled "Zindagi" which is a rock themed song about the life (Zindagi) of Pakistani children. The song was released after a few weeks after the London Day Parade, and is also her latest video. She also stated in an interview that she plans to release an Urdu album and concentrate on its production shortly after Rough Cut's release, and that she's already done with 4 tracks for it. However it is not clear if Zindagi will be a track on that album.
Kiani did not perform much internationally as she did in years before, and even toured around Pakistan less frequently towards the end of the year 2007 (primarily due to the state of emergency and the turmoils the country went through). However earlier in 2007 (May 19) Hadiqa performed at Dead Sea Marriott Jordan at the World Economic Conference. Hadiqa’s performance was on the 2nd day of the 3 day event, while American singer Lionel Richie performed on the 1st Day at the same venue. During her performance Hadiqa performed an Arabic song “Aa We Nos” (originally sung by Nancy Ajram). Jordanian performers performed with Hadiqa during that song.
Hadiqa Kiani will appear as a judge on an upcoming TV show on Geo TV called Pakistan Idol. The show itself has seen airing date delays due to the emergency in the country in Winter 2007. However the TV channel plans to release it soon. Hadiqa will also do an interview regarding Pakistan Idol soon. However it hasn't been announced when the interview will happen.
As of August 1, 2008, Geo TV announced that the show and its auditions are put on hold until further notice.
Kiani has been relatively inactive so far in 2008, performing only at a few non televised concerts. The reason for her sudden absence is claimed to be her mother's paralysis in 2006 since then Hadiqa has been taking care of her mother. More information on the matter has not been disclosed.
Despite her absence Kiani recently performed at a cricket match between Pakistan and Bangladesh on April 20, 2008. More information on the performance is yet to be updated.
Kiani released a statement on her Facebook and to the press to announce that she's divorced from her second husband, citing a long distance relationship as the main cause of the breakup.
In June 2009, Kiani switched record labels to Fire Records and released a new album titled "Aasmaan" (translated: sky) on June 17, 2009. It is Kiani's first album in local languages since her release of "Rung" back in 2002. In the album, she sings in Urdu, Punjabi, Hindko, Pashto, and many other dialects. Two songs in the album have vocals featured on them by her older brother (and manager) Irfan Kiani. She has also collaborated with UK producer NAT-Z on two tracks of the album, "Sohnya" and "Dil Mera".
The first single of the album is "Sohnya". The official video of "Sohnya" was premiered a day before Kiani released the album.
The album has seen great reception by the public and has been slated as many as one of her best works to date. Kiani also relaunched her website the same date the album was released, though not completely.