Musician + artist
Musician, Composer, Recording Artist, Fine Artist
EMI (Pakistan) Ltd, Esoterica Inc.
EMI Pakistan Presents FIRE FLY A FORWARD MEDIA Production Music By Usman Riaz Directed by: Bilal Khan & Shayan Agha Director of Photography: Bilal Khan Edit & Post: Shayan Agha Official EMI Pakistan website: www.emipakistan.com Official EMI Pakistan facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/EMI-Pakistan/133133396714832 Official Usman Riaz facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Usman-Riaz/186017248076137 Usman Riaz's EP 'FLASHES AND SPARKS' on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/flashes-and-sparks-single/id439177286
Debuting with CIRCUS IN THE SKY visit the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Usman-Riaz/186017248076137 EMI Pakistan website: www.emipakistan.com
EMI Pakistan Presents SAEEN A FORWARD MEDIA Production Instrumentation written and arranged by Usman Riaz Based on 'Saeein' by Salman Ahmad & Sabir Zafar Featuring Usman Riaz Alfred Dmello & Saeed Sahab Screenplay by Usman Riaz Bilal Khan & Shayan Agha Directed by Bilal Khan & Shayan Agha Produced by Usman Riaz & Kashan Admani Official Usman Riaz facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Usman-Riaz/186017248076137 Usman Riaz's EP 'FLASHES AND SPARKS' on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/flashes-and-sparks-single/id439177286 Usman Riaz - FIRE FLY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B2WBY2HRDg Official EMI Pakistan website: www.emipakistan.com Official EMI Pakistan facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/EMI-Pakistan/133133396714832
This is a still to be recorded piece! Usman have been working on for some time, it is a solo piano composition and will be part of a much larger piece once all the other elements have been worked out.
'Circus in the Sky' Album
02/02/2011 – 05/12/2012
Circus in the Sky' is the follow up to my EP 'Flashes and Sparks' that was released in early 2011. The EP was a teaser to the my compositional style. 'Circus in the Sky' is a full representation of my approach to music and storytelling. It is a concept album which follows the story of the Lost Boy and his journey through life. Each piece is a progression through the innocence and playfulness of youth, the joys and sorrows of life as one gets older, spiritual awakening and finally death. Although I had this theme in mind, the album's story is open to interpretation. I love that each piece will mean different things to different people, Im excited to hear what people have to say. The album is mainly an instrumental album with orchestral and solo pieces. It took a year and a half to record and perfect each piece to the best of my ability. Usman has composed and played all the pieces with the exception of his orchestral pieces that were played by James Vaughn's Strings Orchestra in London. I have also done vocals in a few pieces but the voices are used as an instrument rather than being prominently featured in the foreground. Apart from purely orchestral music the album also contains percussive guitar passages and piano pieces. My aim was to create interesting soundscapes and textures rather than a typical album. I believe people don't compose or play this kind of music anymore, although I am very much influenced by the compositional styles of people from the past I have still tried to keep the theme and phrasing of each piece as contemporary as I could. I made sure I was involved in every creative process apart from the actual recording of the instruments and voices. That includes the editing, mixing and mastering as well as the conception and creation of the albums artwork. I had a particular theme in mind and knew that no one else would be able to execute exactly what I saw in my head apart from myself.
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I am fortunate to have come from a family incliuned towards the creative arts. My grate grandfather was n eastern music scholar as well as a multi instrumentalist: he specialized in instruments like the harmonium, sarangi and the violin. His daughter, my grandmother was also an eastern classical musician as well as a stage performer. Her brother is one of the last remaining orators (professional storytellers) in Pakistan; his son is also a professional musician/percussionist. My father and uncle were keen music students as well as a lot of my cousins. So I was lucky to grow up in such a creative atmosphere. My grandmother had a big impact on my creative endeavors. Her work ethic when it came to her classical music always fascinated me and later on inspired me. I used to get up every morning and go to her room when I was young and she would be awake practicing her singing into a small metal glass to trap the sound. At the age of 6 my parents had me begin my classical music training in the piano. It is here where my love for classical music began. I feel one can never stop learning and will always regard myself as a student of music, I don’t think I can comfortably call myself a ‘musician’. I recorded and released my first EP entitled 'Flashes and Sparks' in 2011 and went on to release my Orchestral Album 'Circus in the Sky' in Mid 2012 after working on it for almost 2 years. It is a full representation of my approach to music and storytelling. I would lean towards calling it a concept album; 'Circus in the Sky' is the story of the Lost Boy and his journey through life. It’s about the innocence and playfulness of youth, the joys and sorrows of life as one gets older, spiritual awakening and finally death. Although I had this theme in mind, the album's story is open to interpretation. That is what excites me: The album is mainly an instrumental album with orchestral and solo pieces. I have done vocals in a few pieces but the voices are used as an instrument rather than being prominently featured in the foreground. I have composed and played all the pieces. James Vaughn’s Strings Orchestra in London performed the String parts that I wrote that were played on the album: that would be specifically the first violin, second violin parts along with the violas, cellos and double bass melodies. My aim was to create interesting soundscapes and textures rather than a typical album. The artwork as well gives a glimpse into the feel of the album. I know the world is now completely shifting towards digital releases. I am all for it. But I wanted to make the experience extra special for someone who went out to buy or received the album. Alongside the album I also wrote and directed a film entitled 'RUCKUS'. Ruckus is a piece I wrote that is part of the album Circus in the Sky. It is a piece played entirely with garbage and the body. I wanted to take that concept even further in the film that I wrote and directed by making it an integral part of the story. I don’t want to give too much away but the film revolves around a street thief called Raccoon and his partner as they steal from an unsuspecting rich lady while she makes her way out of an abandoned train station. What ensues is nothing short of chaotic as the 'ruckus' caused by these 2 thieves begins to affect everyone around them.
I enjoy watching people cook. It like watching someone paint. Its a fascinating experience. My favorite meal would have to be a bowl of cereal. One with nuts and oats and not too particularly sweet. I don't know why myself.
A funny story about me:
I actually never would have picked up the guitar at the age of 16 if it weren’t for one of my closest friends (who unfortunately is not the most musically blessed person I have come across). Like every other teenager around me he wanted to impress the girls and perform at our schools annual rock concert, having only played piano since my childhood and only dabbled with a few other instruments (including the guitar) as I got older I wasn’t too comfortable with learning a song on an instrument I wasn’t overly familiar with in the short time span he had given me. And yet, I found myself learning those 5 barre chords for him, It wasn’t difficult. It was only 5 chords so I was pretty relieved. I found that the guitar was very different from the classical piano I had been playing since I was 6. It was a fun and slightly strange experience initially. Classical music is beautiful but also very restricted, you cannot take liberty with the piece and you must play it properly. With guitar I got a sense of freedom, which was new and exciting. The ‘performance’ though is something I have been longing to forget. During rehearsals the guitar and drums were so loud I could barely hear the voice that was emanating from my friend. After getting onto stage and handing him a mic I realized that I was about to experience something profound in every sense of the word. He sounded as if a dinosaur was being strangled whilst gargling on sulphuric acid. It was the day I truly understood the expression ‘making someone’s ears bleed’. But that dreadful performance only fueled my ambition to prove myself and next year I made sure my solo performance went a lot better with weeks of rehearsal and preparation. I moved onto to solo acoustic guitar and percussion after that and incorporated that into my guitar playing. Playing the piano helped substantially when learning the guitar. I started listening to a lot of Preston Reed and Kaki King along with Michael Hedges, Eric Mongrain and Don Ross. Although he made me aware of many new levels of sonic frequencies, I still am indebted to my friend, he introduced me to the idea of playing guitar, I had never really thought about it before.