Arooj Aftab, Pakistan’s first woman Grammy nominee, talks about changing stereotypical social norms as EQUAL Pakistan Ambassador of the Month
Karachi: In celebration of International Women’s Day and on a continued mission to turn up the volume on Pakistani women creators by giving them a platform to share their content with the world, Spotify brings EQUAL to Pakistan. Through its local version, EQUAL Pakistan, Spotify’s Global Music Program aims to amplify the work of women creators by utilizing the platform’s resources and providing new opportunities for these creators through a globally cohesive and branded experience.
EQUAL Pakistan will spotlight an Ambassador of the Month each month, highlighting their music releases and encouraging fans to discover them, and Pakistani music sensation, Arooj Aftab, will become the first EQUAL Pakistan Ambassador in the month of March.
Arooj Aftab has been making waves in Pakistan’s music scene by racking up not one but two Grammy nominations – first nominated for Best New Artist and again for Best Global Music Performance for “Mohabbat”. Additionally, she will be the first Pakistani artist to perform at Coachella with Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, and Ye as headliners.
“I am extremely excited to be the first Ambassador of EQUAL Pakistan because this kind of well-structured program will help uplift women in the audio industry of Pakistan,” said Arooj Aftab.
“If I could do something to promote women artists of Pakistan, I would give them all the gigs. All the women working in the music industry are super talented, so the industry should give them a chance to prove themselves and learn from those opportunities to get better at what they are already doing. We hire men by just looking at the potential that they have but in the case of women, we are constantly waiting for them to prove themselves. I think this mindset needs to change.”
“South Asian women creators face unique challenges in this male-dominated industry, and Spotify’s EQUAL Pakistan goes the extra mile to elevate women musicians beyond genres,” says Rutaba Yaqub, Spotify Pakistan’s Music Manager. “Our EQUAL Pakistan playlist features women producers, instrumentalists, vocalists, songwriters, and more. The recognition is long overdue, and we invite our listeners to keep discovering and listening to Pakistani women at full volume.”
From Annural Khalid to Farheen Raza Jaffery, Spotify has focused on women’s voices since its launch and opened the door for many new women creators to be discovered by new fans.
- The EQUAL Pakistan program includes:
- EQUAL Pakistan playlist: Pakistan women artists are showcased at full volume on the country’s go-to playlist for discovering and supporting these talented creators. The playlist features diverse women voices, including Zahra Paracha, Abida Parveen, Wooly and the Uke, Annural Khalid, Maria Unera, and Amna Riaz.
- EQUAL Destination: Spotify listeners can enjoy listening to some of the most talented women artists from the country via playlists such as EQUAL Pakistan, Top Local Female artists in Pakistan 2021, Women of Coke Studio, This is Abida Parveen, and This is Noor Jehan on the EQUAL Destination.
- EQUAL Global Playlist: Featuring EQUAL Ambassadors and women artists from around the world, this playlist will serve as the ultimate listening experience, amplifying the EQUAL class of each month.
- Artist marketing: Each EQUAL Pakistan Ambassador of the Month will receive organic and on-platform promotion across Spotify’s editorial spaces. This model has proven effective in propelling significant growth on the platform in both the artists’ home countries and beyond. Arooj Aftab will be featured on a billboard in Times Square on March 23 to honour her as Ambassador of the Month.
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