Junaid Jamshed (Urdu: جنید جمشید), is Pakistani recording artist, television personality, fashion designer, former occasional actor, and former singer-songwriter. After graduating with a degree in engineering from the UET Lahore, Jamshed briefly worked as a civilian contractor and engineer for the PAF before withdrawing to focus on his musical career. He soon began performing in the rock music scene in various local university campuses before being notice by Rohail Hyatt in 1983. With the help of Hyatt and Nusrat Hussain, Jamshed was inducted in Vital Sign and signed a record deal with record executive and producer Shoaib Mansoor to his PTV Music Studio.
Jamshed first gained nationwide prominence and international recognition as the lead vocalist of the pop-rock, Vital Signs in 1987 with the first highly critically acclaimed and commercially successful album, Vital Signs 1 that topped the Music Channel Charts around the country. The first album included the international number-one single "Dil Dil Pakistan", and "Tum Mil Gaye". The big commercial success of Vital Signs' first album helped raise the rock music industry of Pakistan.
In 1994, he released his debut solo album, Junaid of Vital Signs, which also quickly became a national hit, followed by Us Rah Par in 1999 and Dil Ki Baat in which his song Tum Kehti ho was a great hit, released in 2002. In 2004, Jamshed renounced engineering and his music career and since then, Jamshed has focused on Islam and concentrated on reciting nasheeds. His debut religious album, Jalwa-e-Janan was released in 2005 and was followed by Mehboob-e-Yazdaan in 2006, Badr-ud-Duja in 2008, and Badee-uz-Zaman in 2009. Jamshed also owns a clothing boutique with the name "J." (read as "Jay Dot"), which has several outlets throughout Pakistan. 1
Early life and education:
Junaid Jamshed belongs to respectable family. His father Jamshed Akber was a retired Colonel in Pakistan Air Force while his mother's side hails from Punjab Province.
After graduating from local boarding high school in Lahore, Jamshed proceeded to join the PAF, initially focusing to become professional F-16 fighter pilot. But due to weak eye-sight during the tough physical, his nomination papers were rejected by the PAF selection board. Jamshed was later accepted at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore where he excelled in courses in mathematics and physics before declaring his major in Mechanical engineering. In 1990, Jamshed gained Bachelor of Science, graduating in mechanical engineering in 1990. With his father's influence, he was employed by PAF as a civilian contractor and moved on to a short-lived career in Aeronautical Engineering in PAF's science command due to his weak eyesight.
In 1983, Jamshed started performing rock music gigs in Peshawar University and Islamabad University campuses while still a student at UET in Lahore. During this time, Rohail Hyatt was in town in search of a singer for their newly formed band, Vital Signs. Bassist Shahzad Hasan and keyboardist Rohail Hyatt arrived at the campus of Peshawar University to meet Junaid Jamshed but were unable to do because of severe winter weather in Peshawar. They did not get the opportunity to speak to Junaid that day. The same night, Jamshed sang "Careless Whisper", a 1984 single by George Michael, at the university campus. Since then, they would not meet with Jamshed for years. In 1987, Jamshed had joined his engineering university's rock band, Nuts and Bolt, as a lead vocalist and performed at Flashman's Hotel in Rawalpindi.
The band's guitarist, Nusrat Hussain, and Rohail Hyatt were also there in search of new talent at the hotel. When Jamshed came to perform on stage, Nusrat tipped Hyatt saying, "that kid's coming back; the guy you liked" and "perhaps we should go and see him." Hussain urged Hyatt to see him and after Jamshed's performance, they did and Junaid joined their band.
Though the band Vital Signs was launched in early 1986 in Rawalpindi by Keyboardist Rohail Hyatt and bassist Shahzad Hasan (Shahi), it wasn't until later when Junaid Jamshed, then a young engineering student from UET Lahore, joined them as their lead singer. They began performing in different parts of the country after having secured a place in the underground music industry in Islamabad and Lahore. In a live concert in Islamabad, the band got noticed and approached by the music officials of the PTV, and a record deal was awarded by Rana Kanwal, a student of the National Academy of Performing Arts, in accordance of Hyatt's brother. Kanwal was given an assignment in which she wanted to make a music video and she wanted to make one of a music band. The band moved to Islamabad and began working on the first album for Kanwal, then-known as "Chehra" (lit. Face). According to Hyatt, "the song we created for her was Chehra. It was the first song we wrote as an entity and it was also a part of our first album." 1 During this time, the band caught the attention of record producer and broadcaster Shoaib Mansoor who also taught at the National Academy of Performing Arts.1 Mansoor became acquainted with the band and worked on the first album, spearheading the writing of a patriotic song.
We looked around and then we thought of Junaid, who was in a mediocre band and he was the best part about the band, he was a very good singer and with his good looks and great vocals, was the bona fide front man...
--Shahzad Hassan, Bassist for Vital Signs, source
Finally, their first album, Vital Signs 1, was released nationwide and aired on PTV. Their debut hit single, "Dil Dil Pakistan" and "Tum Mil Gaye", released on 14 August 1987, skyrocketed them into national fame and prominence. Both songs were big commercial hits and garnered high critical acclaim for their work. The songs in the first album were instant Sleeper hit and quickly gained a huge nationwide success which completely shocked the band and in an interview given to PTV, Jamshed quoted saying: it was not something that would turn him into a professional musician. Jamshed maintained that his plans were to gain a degree in engineering to work for the Pakistan Air Force, initially he didn't want to have anything to do with music other than just treat it as a hobby. In 1990, Jamshed graduated with an engineering degree, and worked in the air force as a civil contractor for a short time before resigning from the air force.
However, Rohail and Shahzad soon managed to convince him otherwise. After a string of chart-topping songs and albums, the band split in 1998 and Jamshed began a solo career, achieving increasing commercial success. Their first album contained many commercially hit songs and the band was approached by several international companies to write songs and advertise their products to the public. Their success lifted the underground rock music industry to national level, and they are widely credited for boosting the music industry in the country. In 1991, the band released their second album, Vital Signs 2, produced by the EMI Studios in Pakistan. Although, the second album was not as successful as expected, the band made its first international tour in the United States.
In 1993, the band got together with Shoaib Mansoor once again and released their third album, Aitebar, which topped the music charts around the country. The songs, "Woh Kaun Thi" and "Aitebar" hit the summit of the national charts in 1993, achieving instant success for the album. Around the same time, Jamshed signed his first, though last, acting contract for PTV's television miniseries, Dhundle Raste. In January 1995, the band release its fourth and last album, Hum Tum, which was another sleeper hit and is the highest selling Vital Signs album of all time in the country. Almost all of the songs in the fourth album reached great success and won many awards in the country. By early 1996, various issues and difficulties between the members of the band began to surface in the media. Their last single, Maula was released which gained a lot of public attention but the band could not sustain itself as a united group with Shahzad Hasan (Shahi) departing to the US for his computer engineering job at the IBM. Hyatt formed a recording company; Coke Studio which would later emerge as a multi-billion dollar worth enterprise and country's most notable studio. Jamshed then proceeded on to a solo career and released highly acclaimed singles throughout his career.
Jamshed released his first solo album, Junaid of Vital Signs in 1994. The album's name was later changed to Tumhara Aur Mera Naam by the record producers. After departing from Vital Signs in 1998, Jamshed released the second solo album, the Us Rah Par (lit. That way.) in 1999. The second solo album, Us Rah Par went on to become one of the best selling albums of the year of 1999. The album included several tracks which were released as singles which became popular and were ultimate sleeper hit. All songs were written by him and the majority of songs such songs as, "Us Rah Par", "Na Tu Ayegi", "Aankhon Ko Aankhon Ney" and "O Sanama", were ultimate success and commercial hits of all the time. In 2000, Jamshed released his third album, The Best of Junaid Jamshed, which contained remixes of some of the hit singles of the Vital Signs era, though it captured the mix success. His fourth and last solo album, Dil Ki Baat, was released in 2001, which became highly successful the country and gained a lot of public and media attention.
In 2003, BBC World Service conducted an unscientific poll to choose ten most famous songs of all time. Around 7000 songs were selected from all over the world. According to BBC, people from 155 countries/territories voted in the poll. "Dil Dil Pakistan" was ranked third among the top 10 songs. During the 1980s-2000s, Jamshed enjoyed a great success in the public and media, and was one of the followed celebrity of his time.
Drift from Music:
As early as 1999, Media had been speculating about Junaid's drift from music soon after the Vital Signs faded away. The speculations soon died after Junaid released his single albums in mere two years and continued world tours. After 2001, Jamshed disappeared from the public eye, and avoided the media attention. His last two albums did not do well in the market and failed to get any positive response from the country's music critics. His former band mates, Shahi and Hyatt, saw him struggling to negotiate the transition from one world to another. Over the years, Junaid distant from Hyatt who continued to work on producing music. Junaid also struggled financially after the Vital Signs, and it was Shoaib Mansoor who came to help him financially after giving him the role in Gulls & Guys television show.
After 9/11 attacks in the United States, Hyatt and Junaid's tours in the West struggled a lot regarding questions from Westerners about country's culture, terrorism, and music. Upon returning, Junaid filed a bankruptcy and made a triumphant attempt to push his career in engineering after applying at various companies. Theories regarding Jamshed began to arise in media, therefore media outlets hired as much as paparazzi to follow Jamshed. It was highly reported that Jamshed has distanced himself from music and has been praying five times a day regularly at the nearby mosque. Finally, Jamshed who had been out of practice from his engineering career 20 years ago, announced to open a fashion-designing company with a close friend of his. In 2004, Jamshed officially renounced music after announcing that he had devoted his life to Islam. Jamshed renounced engineering and to supplement his income, he opened a clothing store "J.", selling Khaadis (a form of Kurta-Shalwar).
In 2007, in an interview in Chowk Magazine, Mansoor admitted that he was badly affected when his Junaid turned away from music:
One morning I was going through a local newspaper when I saw my friend Junaid Jamshed's interview in it. After looking at his new attire in the photograph, published with the article, I could not stop myself from reading it. The more I read the sadder I felt. He had announced that he was quitting music after being convinced that it was "Haram". It really shook me badly. I have never believed that God could hate the two most beautiful things he has given to mankind-- music and painting. I felt that a confused man like Junaid had no right to confuse thousands of his youthful followers. I had given him sixteen years of my life as a true friend and had played my role in his professional life to the best of my abilities. How could he throw away our sixteen years just like that without even consulting me? I feel that it was my duty to rectify the damage he has done to the already suffering society under the influence of fundamentalists.
--Shoaib Mansoor, 2007, source
Mansoor directed and also wrote the script of film Khuda Kay Liye, which was an ultimate success in the country. Mansoor also remained that the film was inspired on Junaid's life, and offered him a lead role in place of Shaan Shahid. When offered the role, Junaid maintained that he will "shave his beard" for the film and the role for Junaid Jamshed was written by Mansoor. Junaid later refused to be a part of the film and Mansoor maintained that: "Responses like this one convinced people that Jamshed was not certain about his future, and that the Islamist experience was just a phase."
Nonetheless, Junaid does sing in some circles, privately, that is. Guitarist, Bilal Maqsood of Strings, held an annual open-mic jam session at his home. At Maqsood's party, one attendee remembered that: "But once he (Junaid) started singing, he just couldn't stop. He was having so much fun singing, he was on a roll." Maqsood maintained that later in the night he dropped his wife Ayesha home and then came back to sing some more. Junaid Jamshed was one of the last people to leave that evening.
In 1986, Junaid earn a lot of publicity and attention from public with the Sign's hit rock song, Do Pal Ka. The Signs took Pakistan's media by storm its hit patriotic number "Dil Dil Pakistan". This was a turning point in Pakistan's music history which ushered in a new era of pop/rock music. Fourteen years later, he announced his retirement from music and devoted his time to religious preaching. Junaid Jamshed has been listed by "The Muslim 500" as one of the "World's Most Influential Muslims" for the year 2012.
Jamshed is also actively involved in charity work and has been associated with the NGO Muslim Charity since 2003. Whilst citing Junaid Jamshed, in the Arts and Culture section of the publication, The Muslim 500 states, "Muslim Charity has achieved a great deal under his leadership and expanded its operations to 16 countries."