Friday May 22, 2020
LONDON: British Pakistani teenage music sensation Sirine Jahangir, who has become a worldwide star after mesmerising the Britain’s Got Talent judges and the audience, says she’s overwhelmed by the worldwide applause she got for her performance.
In an exclusive interview with Geo and The News at her North London home, Sirine shared that her life changed instantly from singing in her living room for her brothers to singing to millions of people live and then getting noticed by more across the world.
Sirine, 14, lost her sight at the age of 10 but says that music is her vision.
"I never ever expected any of this. I started taking music seriously at 10. My friends asked why I didn't perform and now I'm here and it's so incredible. I went to watch BGT last year with my friends and they asked me to give it a go. I thought I only perform for school shows and BGT is such a huge platform. I am happy that I have been able to put smiles on faces of people through my music. It’s incredible," she said.
Sirine is the granddaughter of Sahibzada Jahangir, one of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oldest friends and his spokesperson on Trade & Investment in UK & Europe.
Sirine said that Imran Khan visited her home near Hyde Park years ago and met her. That time, Sirine could see from one eye and later her parents moved from Central London to North London to get her in a school which offered facilities for children who suffered from blindness.
“I want to follow the footsteps of Imran Khan for charitable work. He has done so much good work in the field of charity. I am not in BGT to become a celebrity but to use the platform to carry out work that could help others and help me shine light on the difficulties faced by people who suffer from disadvantages in life," she added.
Born in 2005 in London, she started losing her vision form the age of 5 but excelled in everything including sports and dancing.
She recalled how music has been her companion throughout her life. "Music has never been a struggle for me because I have done music all my life. When I was a child I used to listen to Prince's music and sing along to it. When I lost my sight I started paying more attention and I started writing music and playing the piano to focus on my hardships and to express myself through music."
Speaking of her uncle Junaid Jamshed, the late pop star of ‘Dil Dil Pakistan' fame, Sirine said: "He was an amazing man. Whenever he would come to London he would visit me. He always advised me never to give up. It's a shame that I wasn’t that much into music at that time as I am now. He was always encouraging."
Overwhelmed by the love and attention Sirine has received from worldwide audiences, she said: "I have been getting a lot of social media inspiration. My father and grandfather told me two things; always be happy, stay grateful and never give up and I have always stuck to those two pieces of advice. It's due to these that I have come this far. My message to all the people in Pakistan is that I am so grateful for all the love and support you have given me. It sums up everything."
Sirine has been watching the hit talent show since she was five. She says her family always encouraged her never to be afraid and try new things in life.
Sirine smiled when talking about the love she has received from Pakistan. Pakistani media picked up her news after The News and Geo first aired that a 14-year-old blind British Pakistani girl has performed at the BGT.
“I wasn’t aware of how much support I was getting from Pakistan until my dad read Pakistani press for me. It’s been crazy. Last week nobody knew me but this week so many know me and have shown support. I am so grateful for all the love that I am receiving from Pakistan. I can say I have become a competition to my grandfather because only he used to get all the press," she said.
Sirine plans to visit Pakistan in the near future. “I haven’t been to Pakistan for a few years but I will be there soon Inshallah.”
Sirine cannot sing Urdu songs but she said she grew up listening to Pakistani music and credits her uncle Sherry Jahangir (of Jinnah Se Quaid-i-Azam fame) for introducing her to Pakistani music. “My dad is stuck in time in 80s music but Sherry uncle has been playing a lot of Pakistani music, especially Junoon. Every song he has been playing has the word ‘Pakistan’ in it.”
Before she went blind, Sirine’s parents took her around the world so she could see as much beauty of the world as possible but Sirine says she focused on those trips without bothering about the fact that she will be losing her sign completely. “I have never focused on troubles and hardships. I have always been positive and by going on BGT I have tried to be an inspiration to people. Growing up I relied on my sight a lot. When I lost that, I had to rely on my sense and it has made me appreciative of what I have and I am so grateful for what I have.”
After his granddaughter's super hit performance at Britain's Got Talent, Sahibzada Jahangir spoke to The News and Geo and shared his joy and excitement. “Our joy cannot be put in words. Sirine has shown to millions of people what a unique talent she is. She is a confident, super talented and well-liked young girl who wants to spread the message of good in the world. After The News and Geo published her news of making it to the contest, we have received messages of support from thousands of Pakistanis who have taken pride in her achievements. The messages of support have come from Pakistanis of all backgrounds, family and friends.”