It was March 2022, nearly a year after Spotify stepped foot in Pakistan that the EQUAL Pakistan Ambassador program was introduced for the local music scene. And its first Ambassador? The effervescent Arooj Aftab! Little did the world know that this emerging talent would accumulate a diverse variety of “firsts” for Pakistan in a short time span.
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From becoming the ‘first’ Pakistani to be nominated for a Grammy in 2022 to actually winning the accolade for her track “Mohabbat” for the “Best Global Music Performance’ award at the 64th annual edition of the most prestigious music accolades globally, and being the ‘first’ local to perform at the famed American musical festival Coachella, Arooj’s resume has gathered a lot of stars in a relatively brief duration.
This year, her track “Udhero Na” once again bagged a Grammy nomination in the same category and she took the center stage with Anoushka Shankar to perform the song at the Grammys. As per the insights shared by Spotify, streams for Arooj Aftab increased by 49% in the US in the hour of 12pm on the day of the Grammys, compared to the same hour the previous Sunday. Globally, streams for Arooj increased by 13% WoW. In the hour after the show finished, streams for Arooj Aftab increased 26% in the US, and 3% globally, WoW.
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Arooj Aftab became the face that introduced EQUAL Pakistan, the local chapter of Spotify’s global initiative that highlights women artists, both aspiring and established, for the waves that they are making in the local industry. She was graced as the first Pakistani female music sensation to feature on a digital billboard at the iconic Times Square, NYC as part of EQUAL promotions, a feat that has become a monthly trend over the past year.
“Within a month of her announcement as the first Ambassador for EQUAL Pakistan, Arooj’s monthly listeners had grown by 40%. Spotify exported her music all around the world when she was added to Desi hits, Contemporary Folk, Pakka Hit Hai, Hangover Cure, Ballads International, and 37 other playlists with her listeners coming from all over the globe. India, the United States, Pakistan, United Kingdom and Canada were the top countries where her music was being streamed,” Rutaba Yaqub, Senior Editor for Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh said.
Pasoori lyrics – Pasoori song with its lyrics here
From the look of things, Arooj isn’t done making history for Pakistan yet. From representing the country at the grandest of stages to being listed alongside some of the biggest musicians of this era like Stevie Wonder and Rihanna, this young sensation has catapulted her career to unprecedented heights. And now, the world awaits to watch which peak this soaring artist will perch atop next!