Everything you need to know about Karachi-based band, AUR | The Express Tribune

In a whirlwind of success, Pakistani band AUR had already become a promising young voice in the local scene with their chart-topping 2023 hit Tu Hai Kahan. Enter 2024 and the band has already come out with a new rendition of their track in an exciting collab with Zayn Malik. 

Comprising Usama Ali, Ahad Khan, and Raffey Anwar, the band sat down with Fuchsia for a candid conversation on their journey, achievements and future plans. As Tu Hai Kahan takes the global stage by storm, here’s everything you need to know about AUR that swayed even the ex-One Direction singer with their poignant lyricism and infectious tunes. 

For the love of poetry

While Usama and Ahad’s tight-knit association goes back to their early childhood days, their shared love for poetry only deepened the friendship. “We were basically interested in poetry,” Ahad recounted. “Like when we had to put captions on Facebook or Instagram posts, we would consult each other.” Nodding in agreement, Usama added how their creativity drew their friends to them as well and they would gladly guide others on how to pen their captions eloquently.

AUR first took the musical plunge when they began posting their songs on their YouTube channel. The band members reflected on all the hard work that went into refining their creative process. “We started writing 2-3 years before our YouTube channel,” Usama recalled how he would dedicate hours to writing with Ahad while going coaching together. 

The two college friends praised one coaching instructor, Sir Obaid, for teaching them the craft of lyricism. “Shout out to Sir Obaid…he has taught us a lot. He gave us the knowledge of rap too,” the friends expressed their appreciation.

Becoming a band

Joining the band much later, Raffey’s entry into AUR began simply as a practical decision. “When we felt that it was time now to start putting out music, we didn’t have money,” Ahad disclosed how he and Usama could not afford a studio for recording, thus, setting forth on a search for a producer. “Raffey was the least expensive of all.” 

The band members relayed how other producers proposed high rates that neither Ahad nor Usama could afford. “It took us six months to save up money for recording,” Usama revealed. Articulating their surprise at their good fortune, AUR members shared how Raffey officially joined the group when he asked exactly the same amount of money that the duo had delicately gathered.

On a humourous note, the interview found Raffey put on the spot after others disclosed how the AUR producer kept them waiting for three days before finally seeing them. “It wasn’t my attitude, sometimes young artists approach you and waste your time,” Raffey endeavoured to explain while his bandmates erupted in laughter.

Ultimately, it was listening to Usama and Ahad’s long tale of passion and struggle that moved Raffey and prompted him to suggest the formation of a band. From artwork to marketing, the young producer worked to ossify the young artists’ platform.

‘Tu Hai Kahan’

Formed in 2020, AUR quickly became a favourite among Pakistani music enthusiasts, captivating hearts with their versatile talents. Their breakout hit, Tu Hai Kahan, has amassed over 95 million views on YouTube, trending across various social media platforms and earning them a spot on playlists worldwide.

With their rapidly popularizing blend of R&B and Hip Hop elements, AUR noted their disappointment regarding the reception of their most popular song, Tu Hai Kahan, in Pakistan. The band expressed gratitude for the love received from India but underlined a relative lack of acknowledgment from their home country’s industry and audience. 

Usama remarked, “We have received some appreciation from Pakistan and a lot from India…People have appreciated in Pakistan too but…they don’t tag you. They don’t support you.” The musicians further described their complex feelings at having felt more welcomed by cross-border fans. “The Pakistani industry has given us a little bit of a tough time in accepting (us).”

From Uraan to AUR

For the unversed, the trio was not always known by AUR. Initially calling themselves Uraan, the band underwent a name change to AUR, after finding themselves entangled in a contractual dispute that could have marked the end of their musical aspirations.

According to Ahad, “One person made a video of our concert and uploaded it calling us Uraan The Band. Our name wasn’t Uraan The Band, it was Uraan.” A person claimed that they were earning using his band’s name (Uraan the Band) and demanded a share of their earnings for the next nine months. The band members highlighted the irony, stating that the individual’s band primarily played at weddings, and his online presence was limited with low subscriber numbers.

Raffey explained the predicament, saying, “He said, you can give us all the earnings of the next 9 months. Use my name. We said we’re not doing it. We’re changing our name.” The person, unhappy with this response, threatened to take down their songs and went on to carry out the threat, temporarily erasing their musical creations from public access.

Reflecting on the challenging period, AUR’s members contemplated how they almost quit music if not for the overwhelming support of their fans.

Navigating fame and beyond

Despite their newfound success, the trio remains humble and expressed gratitude for the overwhelming response to their music. Raffey, the mastermind behind production, artwork, and promotions, highlighted the dedication it took to save up for their first recording, showcasing their unwavering commitment to their craft.

Reflecting on their success, AUR credited their perseverance, hard work and mutual trust for overcoming difficulties. Their dreams of having thousands sing along at concerts have become a reality, and they take pride in being able to provide their parents with the lifestyle they once dreamed of.

Looking ahead, AUR teased exciting plans for the future, including upcoming concerts, and the promise of more global music hits. Despite their rapid rise, the trio remains grounded and harbours dreams of collaborating with industry giants such as Atif Aslam, Young Stunners, Drake, and Travis Scott.

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