By Jack Barnes
Getmybuzzup: Tell us a little about yourself?
The ATif: Well, my son sings even though he cannot speak right now. My parents told me the same. I was into creative arts at very early stage- drawing was my favorite class. I remember drawing Superman, Knight Rider, Airwolf, etc. But once I saw my classmate with a toy keyboard my life changed forever.
Getmybuzzup: How long have you been in the music industry?
The ATif: I picked the keyboard when I was 13 but I was popular with friends and family for singing when I was six years old. Been playing guitar for couple of years as well. Released my first album with Universal Music and then the Michael Jackson Tribute started with demise of MJ in 2009. Over the years the couple of fall out bands came through. That was good to learn value of creative independence. And that music is a very personal phenomenon.
Getmybuzzup: How did you get started in the first place?
The ATif: Singing at birthdays and school farewell parties. I remember listening to Billie Jean and Beat It- my life wasn’t the same. Over the years as frequency increased of these appearances- I thought I might as well hone the craft and pursue the passion as profession.
Getmybuzzup: How would you describe your sound?
The ATif: I would categorize it as rock or pop rock so to say. Alt Rock for whatever it may widely mean. But mainly in line of live music and away from electronica wave. Sadly like everything else music has become mechanical too- but emotions will never be synthetic. So I love music instruments as compared to loops and auto-triggered music.
Getmybuzzup: Who are your inspirations in the music industry?
The ATif: I started with Michael Jackson, then came along Phil Collins and finally Bryan Adams. Over the years Richard Marx, Rod Stewart, George Michael and Sting became part of my influence. Besides many bands such as Queen, GnR, Led Zepp, Metallica and too many to mention here. Anyone with originality and character still inspires me. Like The Darkness.
Getmybuzzup: How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?
The ATif: I believe behind every successful band or artist is ideas. Production ideas, promotion ideas, conceptual ideas and visual ideas as well. I am inspired by artists like Prince, Kravitz, Gaga and Madonna- who use the full spectrum of art entwined with commercial value. I think like Ozzy I look for a good theme. Subject, premise or topic so to say. Subtext of something that’s going on around me. I pick it- find words to represent and chord structure to reciprocate it. And then everything follows. My team of co-writers, session musicians and arrangers are the reason of my penetration to my target audience. That’s how they relate to me. I am a big fan of stand up comedy. So I try to write about happy/naughty stuff like AC/DC. That can connect easily but has musical creativity and quirky wit to catch attention.
Getmybuzzup: What are you currently working on?
The ATif: Just released yesterday, Prickly Heat- that might remind you of Beat It; that was inspired by Come Together. Well it’s too much of a big promise. But I bet you will be amused and you will like it.
Getmybuzzup: What is the concept behind your latest project?
The ATif: The concept is fun part. The games we play, the adulation, flirtation and gender struggles we face. It’s a naughty retreat called Prickly Heat. All
the fun and drama we encounter in gyms, stadiums, parties, clubs and concerts- it’s all there.
Getmybuzzup: Any plans on touring to promote your latest project?
The ATif: Yes I have been getting initial offers but I am working on the album right now. Being in studio is a separate process- if you feel the calling, it may depart if you get on the road. So I will let the build up gain momentum and by next summer most probably you will see me nearby.
Getmybuzzup: What did you buy with your first check off music?
The ATif: I bought a keyboard Yamaha SY99 and I thought that was it. I had everything that I needed in my life. But life had a lot to offer and it’s still going strong.
Getmybuzzup: What are must haves when you’re in the studio working?
The ATif: A good mic, a smart engineer, a good vocal booth and monitors. There is nothing better than the soothing acoustics of the control room. A piano or a guitar to temper with while we are talking or discussing ideas is a good retreat.
Getmybuzzup: What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?
The ATif: Ideas make artists and artists that keep on creating ideas or emphasize just on them emerge victorious all the time. Like Sting. I saw him with Shaggy recently at Pier 41 in NY. Not a big venue for Sting but his idea is to engage his market with a flavor of reggae. His admiration for Bob Marley took an inspirational turn. So all the hype aside. Ideas, ideas, ideas.
Getmybuzzup: Will you be collaborating with any other artists on this project or in the future?
The ATif: Yes I do, I recently collaborated with rapper Jamica from Brooklyn, New York she sang on my song Instacrush. You can find it everywhere online. But my idea of featuring or collaboration is necessarily about again the idea and need. Instacrush was about Instagram revolution and beautiful girls and so Jamica added the perfect flavor. Today I see some artists
hiding behind big names in the name of featuring. I don’t like that. Music is the soul’s flavor. Look at Shaggy and Sting- it is definitely about Black and White Reggae. With nothing to contribute but a name or hype is ditching your fans.
Getmybuzzup: Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?
The ATif: I think for the latter. I am about conceptual songs and musical ideas that might ring in your head after music is turned off. Beat and rhythm is absolutely a part of it but more it is about themes and melodies. There is lot of innovation going on with regards to electronic music and ability to create incredible beats but mine is more about the big picture. The composition, the arrangement, the impact.
Getmybuzzup: What area do you need to improve on in regards to your career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc..)
The ATif: I think I need to reach out to people. I am creating music that will generate following in every part of the world. From Europe to Asia, Africa and even Latin America. All I have to do is use the power of internet to not only be there but present my stuff as any local artist would do. For this it requires a whole support system- like Quincy Jones provided to Michael Jackson. Right now I am playing both the roles.
Getmybuzzup: What’s your all-time favorite song?
The ATif: In early part of my career I used to make sad songs and listened to sad ballads. As I grew I found it was a waste of time- life is too evil and funny to fret about it. I thought Everything I do by Bryan Adams was my all time favorite but I would say Billie Jean for all the various reasons has remained unfiltered. I played it first thing to my daughter’s when
she was born.
Getmybuzzup: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
The ATif: The scene has changed dramatically based on the MTV invasion and then the You Tube revolution. You have Gaga and then you have Adele. So anything good works. Sadly, in rock it is very hard to carry the sound of tape on hard disk. So in solo artists Bryan Adams, Sting, Rod Stewart, Richard Marx and Phill Collins have not given any hit in ages. So is Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Prince and George Michael have gone. So I would say Lenny Kravitz and AC/DC are still my favorites that are flourishing. Although I try to add more color and creativity in my own music from their standpoint as a fan and fellow musician.
Getmybuzzup: Who have been some of your favorite artists that you’ve been able to work with?
The ATif: I think I have been really lucky to have worked with some amazing musicians and songwriters around the world. My lead guitarist Vanja is an amazing musician and a person. Hector who plays bass is an fun guy with loads of energy, creativity, technique and positivity both on guitar and harmonica. Joshua JD Walker is a top of the line producer that has worked
with bigwigs such as Cher, Adam Lambert, Kylie Minogue etc. he mixes and masters all my songs. Alfredo Reed is also an exceptional keyboardist, session player and arranger- who is brilliant with what he does. Similarly Hannah is a cool song writer from Berkley Institute of music who co-writes with me. Similarly Jer of Sleeping Bag Studios is also a co-writer with me with some funny ideas and lyrics. I have been really fortunate to have found them. I love them and stick with them. Blaine conducts all the harmony sections of my songs- I love and respect his craft because that’s my no go area and that he is maestro in it. Last but not least Wilton Carpet is another young dude of leisure of mine who co-writes wonderful songs with me. I hope our team sticks forever to keep churning awesome tunes for everyone.
Getmybuzzup: How do you feel about the current state of music?
The ATif: It’s pretty good. It gives pretty good exposure and creative independence with lower cost of production. But the flip side is that the charm and paranoia for music has evaporated because it has become free and accessible to everyone. Yet again the business model might have changed but basics remain the same. If you have got it- show it. If your music is worthy it will climb the ladder in your chosen market. It was always the same- even artists like Beatles and GnR had to create their own hype before they became phenomenons. Now it is more fun and gives room for more innovation and less risk of sunk cost.
Getmybuzzup: Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?
The ATif: Everyone’s dream is Grammy. But to me it is more about fun. Like Billie Jean or Beat It didn’t win Grammy- so awards and recognition are not the
standard for me. To me if it moves the listener, makes his/her day and/or make them happy when the are sad is mission accomplished for me.
Getmybuzzup: What is your main goal as far as music?
The ATif: To be known as mischievous, crazy and creative. Somewhere between Jim Morrison, Axl and Lee Roth. I want to hit people with the physics in my sound and programming in my lyrics with touchy voice. Just purist- no auto tuners etc. Just raw passion into emotion. Of course make money so I keep having fun besides entertaining everyone else.
Getmybuzzup: Who would you say your music relates to the most?
The ATif: I think anyone who thinks straight (no pun) shoots straight and mean what they say. For any generation person with the idea of what really matters is where I score. It’s a little bit of everything but not just about charts or top ten. Rather about someone who needs a difference in life with the influence of music. Both intellectually and aesthetically.
Getmybuzzup: What separates you from other artists? (What’s makes you different?)
The ATif: So I am all about knockout combination. I don’t think music is stereotypical. You need to have all the colors of the rainbow (pun intended) along with darkness, optimism and grain of reality. Enjoy life because this is our best chance. So I create music that can hit with melody, rhythm, groove, lyrical content and mix that will hit the body too. What else do you need. Rarely do you find it working. But when all the team players are unified towards one target- it can be achieved. That’s what made Elvis, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and
many other icons. The had it all coming together at a time.
Getmybuzzup: When your not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?
The ATif: I do a million things. Make movies, write books, play with kids. Travel with them. Teach them stuff. Do photography of my beautiful wife. Listen to Blinklist’s 8 minute book summaries. Make money as Creative Directory core profession.
Getmybuzzup: If you could work with any producer who would it be?
The ATif: Of course Quincy Jones, Robert John Mutt Lange, Bob Rock and Hugh Pudgham.
Getmybuzzup: What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far?
The ATif: Well I made a song against the Prime Minister of Pakistan and was accused of blasphemy and got in big trouble. Lol not a pleasant one though.
Getmybuzzup: What is your dream venue to perform at?
The ATif: MSG- I love the Garden. It’s not that intimate and lacks many aspects of perfect venue but the sheer history and notoriety of the venue excites me.
Getmybuzzup: What artist music are you currently a fan of?
The ATif: I listen to everything real. I liked Chickenfoot the super group. And if you ask me all the my favorites are gone Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, Chester Bennington are all gone. These were heavenly male rock voices. But I am glad we still have RATM, SOAD, Limp Bizkit, Pearl Jam, GnR and Kings of Leon.
Getmybuzzup: When performing live what are some of the things you do to get the crowd involved?
The ATif: Sing properly, give them run for the money. Hit them with best music as Bob Marley said. I also believe in using colors and theatrics to make the entire effort more dynamic. Such as light and costumes to remit the fun energy.
Getmybuzzup: When performing and the crowd is singing along how does that energy make you feel?
The ATif: That’s the lifeblood of any artist. To hear crowds sing your songs- their voices penetrate your being. That buzz is more intoxicating than any pill.
Getmybuzzup: What can we expect from you in the future?
The ATif: So very exciting thrilling fast tempo sexy songs. I am in it to win it. Win your hearts more importantly. Next song is If I Was a Girl, then it’s Valentine, Serpentine, Frankenstein (VSF) for Feb the 14th.
Getmybuzzup: Anything else you wanna add?
The ATif: Just stay and in touch to be in the loop through You Tube subscribes and Spotify, Apple Music, iHeart, Napster and Pandora following.
Getmybuzzup: Where can the fans check out for your music?
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