The Justin Bibis sisters from Pakistan, Sania Sohail and Muqadas Jandad, have been making headlines across the country for their extraordinary musical talents. The Bibis faded into the background of a world with an ever-shrinking attention span after their cover of Justin Bieber’s 2010 blockbuster song ‘Baby‘ spread like wildfire all over social media. With their recent collaboration with Pakistan’s indie-pop heartthrob Hasan Raheem in the Coke Studio track Peechay Hutt, the Bibis has made a grand entrance. During a conversation with TINDS, the sisters share the story of their humble beginnings to their Coke Studio debut.
TINDS: Tell us a little bit about both of your childhood.
THE BIBIS: We were born in Lahore, Pakistan. Most people often have a basic and normal childhood, and we’d like to think of ours as the same. However, we had a rather interesting one. We’ve always been into and around music from a very early age, but it was the challenges we had to face and overcome that made our childhood different from others.
TINDS: 3 words that describe both of you the best.
THE BIBIS: Simple, Singers, a very good Wife & a very good Sister.
TINDS: How’d you step into the world of music?
THE BIBIS: Our father was a musical director and our paternal aunt, Naseebo Lal, was an icon of the Pakistani music scene. We have also had the opportunity to learn from our uncle. Growing up, we saw our father being extremely busy while also working with our aunt. We were inspired by them. Also, since our background is from Rajasthan, music is culturally in our blood. It’s like we have had a different kind of relationship with music from a very early age.
TINDS: Tell us a little about the video of yours that got so viral over social media.
THE BIBIS: Our friends mocked us a lot that day, saying we couldn’t sing an English song since we weren’t educated. We literally showed them that we could sing in English. All they had to do was ask. When it was our turn, we chose “Baby” by Justin Bieber. We were shocked and astounded and had no clue our song would get so much attention in such a short period of time. We still don’t know who filmed it, but we are eternally grateful to whoever did. Although we have tried to find the person responsible but weren’t able to.
TINDS: How has going viral impacted your lives?
THE BIBIS: The kind of life we had absolutely transformed into another after the video got viral. We were suddenly the headlines of every news channel in Pakistan without even us knowing about it. We consider ourselves extremely lucky the way our lives have turned and we are very grateful for the change.
TINDS: What was the reaction of your family like?
THE BIBIS: We belong to a rather conservative family, where even girls going out anywhere is not considered normal. Our extended family does not consider education to be beneficial. They don’t even let males continue their studies, let alone girls. But we have come this far because of our parents’ time and persistent courage in supporting us. Our mother, in particular, has been our biggest support. Every week, she would train us for a few days. She even defended us when others disagreed with what we were doing. Mom is very passionate about music, which was understandable given that our grandfather also played the tabla.
TINDS: How did Coke Studio happen? Tell us a little about that.
THE BIBIS: Being a part of Coke Studio was a dream come true. There are no bigger platforms than Coke Studio in Pakistan, we think. Musicians dream to be a part of the platform and we have had the opportunity to do so. When Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan offered us to be a part of the song, we dropped everything and decided to meet the Coke Studio’s team. That day felt like an adventure. It was surreal and everything felt like magic.
TINDS: What would you have been if not singers?
THE BIBIS: We’d probably be singles if we weren’t singers!
TINDS: How did it feel like getting up on stage to perform for the first time?
THE BIBIS: The first time we were up on stage was in Karachi. It was definitely an exciting experience but we were very nervous because singing in front of so many people is not an easy task. We started getting called out to different shows and different channels after the video of us singing went viral. Pretending to be all casual and chilled in front of the camera and audience took time for both of us.
TINDS: Coming this far, what would you say you’ve had to struggle with?
THE BIBIS: We’ve had a lot of people around us who weren’t happy with our success and wanted to be an obstacle in our way. We’ve had to struggle around them coming along the way. Also, there have been times when the number of offers for shows started to decline and people in the industry were not reaching out to us as much as they used to. It was during those times that we had to pass a rather stressful phase anxious about the future of our careers. It was right after then when the Coke Studio offer came in, we believe it was the plan of Almighty, Who had planned something big for us.
TINDS: What would your advice be to young musicians?
THE BIBIS: Our advice would be to work hard. If somebody is passionate about music or let that be any profession, they ought to stick to it and give their best. Success does not come easy or overnight and there are no shortcuts. Everyone successful would agree that the path to success is one that involves hard work and dedication.
Muqadas Jandad Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/muqdar_jb_sis_/
Sohail Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sania.justin.girl/
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