By Isbah Khalid: There have been many great talents in our music industry and as blessed as we might have felt about it before we have never been more blessed than now, for the industry has not only matured it has also loaded lethal arsenal, one such weapon is Usman Riaz. This multitalented artist is a powerhouse exuding massive talent. Be it guitar, piano, and other orchestra pieces this guy has figured it all out and the moment his fingers touch those instruments it’s an explosion of pure pleasure and magic.
With his grandmother as an inspiration, who was a devotee of classical music, he started learning music at the tender age of 6. When kids were fighting over crayons and colour pencils, this lad was learning how to play a piano. The musical talent and passion for it runs in the family for sure. He picked up guitar at 16 years of age and thanks Heavens for that! A self-taught guitar player he brought his piano lessons along and learned the necessary tricks form the internet and applied the knowledge successfully transforming himself into a very rare talent.
I remember the first time I saw him play “Firefly” I was awe-struck! I had seen people play killer acoustic guitar tunes before, I am a huge Mozart and Beethoven fan but I had never seen anyone treat a guitar like a piano and a drum and a guitar at the same time. It was truly spectacular! A percussive guitarist he had mastered the art of not just strumming the strings but striking them and treating them like a soundboard of a piano, not only that he can use the guitar’s body and make the strings stray the perfect representational sounds of a drum kit. There’s killer guitar moves but there’s also ethereal piano and drum sounds as well.
He was the youngest TED fellow ever selected at age 21 and then the youngest Senior TED Fellow at age 23. Guitar and piano are not the only talents this young man has in his bag; he is also a visual artist and a filmmaker in addition to being a multi-instrumentalist. You can check out some of his storyboard works on his Facebook page and they are as amazing as can be expected from a genius like him. He has now launched his album “Flashes and Sparks” and we are seeing sparks everywhere! This is an amalgamation of some of the most brilliantly composed and performed music ever. There are souls shaking, revitalizing sounds that pierces through the soul and leaves the mind in a purely joyful stance. At times it feels like one is standing in the middle of a lush green field, wind blowing through the hair with this great selection of music playing in the background, quite the effect that Beethoven’s 9th symphony has!
Twice nominated for LUX Style Awards for Best Album and Best Emerging Talent, a bachelor’s degree from Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture and then he moved abroad on full scholarship to study in Berklee, this guy has everything going for him. A humble, down to earth lad though he may be but his music is absolutely somewhere near the skies. “Firefly” gave him that global recognition that he truly deserved and now he is performing everywhere. His performance on TED Main stage reached 2 million views and he made his Coke Studio debut in the last season which turned out to be another great number!
His music is pure, that much is obvious, it is also earthshattering at times- it gives you goose bumps and resonates inside you till it has every fiber swaying to its rhythm. His music effects people the way a great piece of literature or poetry does and that is truly a very, very rare talent.
All fed and watered in terms of music this rare talent is now aiming to start a new chapter in his life as is evident from his announcement that he is engaged to be married to his best friend. Will we see some Flashes and Sparks in his new music inspired by his betrothed? Let’s wait and see and till then we are sure he will keep Flashing and Sparking his awesomeness!