Rohail Hyatt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rohail Hyatt

روحیل حیات
Rohail Hyatt.jpg
Rohail Hyatt

(1966-12-04) 4 December 1966 (age 56)
  • Music director
  • music producer
  • composer
Years active1983–present
SpouseUmber Hyatt (divorced 2012)
Musical career
  • Keyboards
  • Synthesizer
  • Guitar

Rohail Hyatt HI(M) (Urdu: روحیل حیات) is a Pakistani record producer, keyboardist, and composer.[1] As record producer, Hyatt is largely credited with pioneering Pakistani pop rock music by incorporating western rock and pop influences.[2]

In 1986, Hyatt founded the band Vital Signs and released its commercially hit and critically acclaimed album, Vital Signs 1. The first album included the international number-one single "Dil Dil Pakistan" and "Tum Mil Gaye", which were composed by Hyatt.[3] The big commercial success of Vital Signs' first album helped shape the rock music industry of Pakistan.[3] In 1991, Hyatt produced and released the band's second album, Vital Signs 2, distributed by EMI Pakistan, which received mixed reviews.[3] Between 1993 and 1995, Hyatt garnered recognition and critical acclaims for composing the two best-selling albums which improved the recognition of his work in the music industry.[3]

In 1998, Hyatt discontinued Vital Signs after facing various issues, leaving Junaid Jamshed to focus on his solo career. Hyatt later founded Pyramid Productions which subsequently emerged as one of the most prominent music production companies of Pakistan, and produced a ghazal album featuring Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.[2] In 2007, he composed the soundtrack of highly critical acclaimed and internationally successful film, Khuda Kay Liye, which helped promote his work within the country as well as internationally.[2] In 2008, Hyatt founded the international music outlet, Coke Studio, and he is credited with featuring both established as well as upcoming Pakistani artists through the platform.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Hyatt grew up in Rawalpindi in the Punjab province of Pakistan in the Khattar family of Sir Liaqat Hayat Khan, a prominent Punjabi leader during British rule of whom Hyatt is a great-grandson. He studied at St. Mary's Academy before embarking on his career in music.[2] Hyatt recalls that his interest in music grew in his early childhood and his parents encouraged his interest in Western music. He grew up in the midst of "a serious hippie community.[2] His parents' choice was dominated by Nat King Cole and Engelbert Humperdinck, but after his parents bought him his first keyboard, he began composing traditional Pakistani and Sufi music.[2] His mother had great impact on him and his interest in music: she arranged music lessons for him to learn keyboard. Hyatt recalls that "his mother had him go to sleep in the afternoons by putting the radio on, and it was all local pop music.[2] However, his interest in producing and playing Western music began after his aunt bought Pink Floyd's The Wall album in 1980, which he listened to for hours.[2] About the Pink Floyd, he reportedly quoted: "That just did it for me. It opened up a whole new direction of soundscapes and influences."[2]

During his youth, he was a member of the Pakistan national under-19 cricket team and it seemed that his future was in the sport until he came across Rizwan-ul-Haq.[3] The two became acquaintances and Hyatt discovered that Haq was also a guitarist after Haq played guitar at school playing the song.[3] At the Peshawar University, he met with guitarist Shahzad Hasan (Shahi) and decided to form the band, although no name for new band was reached.[3] In 1980s, he was a member of two underground bands – Progressions and Crude X.[3] Bassist Nusrat Hussain, whom he cites as a major influence in learning and on his outlook on music along with the global acts of that era, was a member of Progressions and Shahi was in Crude X.[3] During the mid of 1980s, Hyatt left the university and referred himself as "a bum," in the university.[2] Hyatt later was employed at the British embassy where he worked in a desk job. He later abandoned this job as the idea of playing keyboards and guitar in a band was far more alluring.[2]

His son Danial Hyatt is also a musician, having participated, with his band Mole, in the third episode of Coke Studio season four with the instrumental "Baageshri",[4] while later composing the background score of the 2019 action-thriller movie Laal Kabootar.[5][6]


Vital Signs[edit]

In the midst of 1980s, Hyatt partnered with Shahzad Hasan (Shahi) to begin working on the rock/pop music genre; both launched Vital Signs in 1986.[7] Earlier in 1983, Hyatt met Junaid Jamshed who sang "Careless Whisper", a 1984 single by George Michael, at the Islamabad Model College.[7] During this time, Hyatt was looking for a singer for his new band and he had earlier wanted to work with Jamshed, but due to various reasons, could not arrange a meeting with him.[7] That night at the university campus, Jamshed sang "Careless Whisper" and impressed Hyatt to become band's new lead singer.[7] With the help of Hyatt and Nusrat Hussain, Jamshed was inducted into Vital Signs and signed a record deal with record executive and producer Shoaib Mansoor to his PTV Music Studio.[7]

For the most of the part of the decade, Hyatt was the leader of Vital Signs. Hyatt led the Signs on the internal creative core and the entire financial management of the Signs. Together, Vital Signs produced five albums and were under contract with Pepsi Cola from 1991 to 1997. Rohail played the role of band member, producer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist at different times in the band's history. The first hit for Vital Signs was "Dil Dil Pakistan", which was voted the third most popular song in the world by a poll carried out by BBC World.[8]

Work in Coke Studio[edit]

Hyatt launched the music platform Coke Studio Pakistan in 2008,[9][10] produced by The Coca-Cola Company. Hyatt has shared that his vision for the TV show was to experiment with fusion music and bring to the forefront the extensive depth and breadth of Pakistan's traditional music by incorporating it into an electronic landscape,[11] stating that "the idea was to share our traditional music with the world, but in a palatable sound scale."[11] Hyatt felt strongly that the show should "promote Pakistan's folk, classical and indigenous music by marrying it to more popular or mainstream music."[12] Hyatt's plans for the show were met with some skepticism initially, and he was allowed to produce only three or four songs for the first season of Coke Studio Pakistan. However, their instant popularity allowed him to experiment more decisively in subsequent seasons.[13]

Hyatt produced Seasons 1-6 of Coke Studio Pakistan as well as Seasons 12 and 13.[9][14] Discussing his musical philosophy and creative approach to Coke Studio, Hyatt has stated that he aimed to make Coke Studio as inclusive and accommodating as possible for artists and musicians, asserting that "everybody is welcomed with equal warmth and there is no division of spotlight. And this is by design, at least anything I am a part of will be neutral, it has to be a win-win for everyone."[15] He further elaborated that "it isn't just about being a part of the show, it is much bigger than that. It is about giving the musicians the respect and recognition they deserve as people with amazing talent and skillset."[15]

Post 9/11, I did wake up and I wanted to discover who we really are and which part of the world we are in and what our history might be. That for me was an awakening. That we are Hindus, we are Aryan, and [now] we are Muslims and god-knows what else. We are a melting pot of all these people and these cultures and they've brought their art forms over the years, their instruments and their ways and their philosophies. So that was liberating, and of course that led to a process of self-discovery....

Rohail Hyatt, views on the culture of Pakistan

As producer, Hyatt is said to have brought a psychedelic vibe to the show[11] and has been praised for infusing energy and creativity into Coke Studio's production.[16] Through his work in Coke Studio, Hyatt is credited with shaping musical trends in the South Asian soundscape,[17] being instrumental in reinventing traditional sounds,[11] and redefining music production in Pakistan.[18] Hyatt is also acknowledged for facilitating "creative collaborations between two different dimensions of music, the established contemporary Western artists alongside regional, folk, classical ones..." as well as for scouting and promoting new talent through the show.[19] Writing for The News on Sunday, Maheen Sabeeh contended that "under Rohail Hyatt’s days as producer, Coke Studio became something of a phenomenon, both in Pakistan and outside that was both cool enough for the youth and appealed to an older generation as well."[20]

Hyatt is currently Coca-Cola's music consultant helping other markets to launch the Coke Studio franchise.

Re-recording of the Pakistan National Anthem[edit]

Mandated by the Government of Pakistan in April 2022, a steering committee was established to create a re-recording of the original national anthem of Pakistan to mark the 75th anniversary of the independence of Pakistan.[21] The new recording was aimed at reflecting the inclusivity and diversity of voices while also retaining the sanctity of the original composition. The committee enlisted 140 vocalists[22][23] from diverse regional, religious, and ethnic backgrounds and all musical genres across Pakistan. Hyatt served on the audio sub-committee[21][24] and produced the anthem along with Arshad Mehmood.[22] Hyatt stated: "the idea was representation of all people who called Pakistan their homeland and not restrict it to a certain class or religion but make sure that it puts minorities front and center along with the majority."[22]

Work in Velo Sound Station[edit]

Following the departure of Bilal Maqsood from Velo Sound Station, Hyatt stepped in as executive producer in 2023 for season 2.[25][26]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MTV Pakistan: Rohail Hyatt". website. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ross, Matt (4 September 2011). "Rohail The Chief". Rolling Stone Music magazine. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Syed, Madeeha (26 July 2009). "Exclusive: The life and times of Rohail Hyatt". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  4. ^ Khan, Manal Faheem (14 October 2016). "The Most Underrated Songs From Coke Studio". Something Haute. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  5. ^ "'Laal Kabootar' to hit theaters across Pakistan Friday". Geo News. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  6. ^ "Star-studded twin premieres for 'Laal Kabootar' held". Daily Times. 22 March 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e Syed, Madeeha. "The life and times of Rohail Hyatt". Madeeha Syed. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Irish song voted world's favourite". BBC News. 20 December 2002. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Rohail Hyatt steps down as 'Coke Studio' producer". The Express Tribune. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Rohail Hyatt is no longer producing 'Coke Studio'". Daily Times. 20 March 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d Mateen, Zoya (29 May 2022). "Pasoori: How Coke Studio is defeating hate between India and Pakistan". BBC News. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  12. ^ Syed, Madeeha (8 December 2019). "I wanted to reestablish Coke Studio's connection to music holistically, says Rohail Hyatt". Dawn Images. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  13. ^ "Coke Studio Pakistan's 'roaring' success in India reignites hopes to amend broken cultural ties". The Express Tribune. 29 May 2022. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Rohail Hyatt reveals who should produce 'Coke Studio' after him". Daily Times. 30 March 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  15. ^ a b Mahmood, Rafay (26 November 2020). "Covid-19 changed the way I look at 'Coke Studio': Rohail Hyatt". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  16. ^ Rehman, Maliha (26 January 2019). "Is Rohail Hyatt really returning to Coke Studio?". Dawn Images. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  17. ^ Mahmood, Rafay (30 January 2013). "'I took Rohail's blessings before starting our Coke Studio in India'". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  18. ^ Mahmood, Rafay (12 June 2011). "Rohail Hyatt: Still vital". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  19. ^ Sabeeh, Maheen. "Coke Studio 12: Rohail Hyatt plays it safe". The News International. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  20. ^ Sabeeh, Maheen. "Rohail Hyatt confirms 'role' in Coke Studio 13". The News International. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Re-recording of the National Anthem set to release on August 14". Daily Times. 6 August 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  22. ^ a b c Sabeeh, Maheen (28 August 2022). "Quaid Ahmed on releasing second album | Instep |". The News International. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  23. ^ "Rohail Hyatt brings together 140 artists to sing national anthem". The Express Tribune. 10 June 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  24. ^ "Re-recorded national anthem released on Diamond Jubilee celebrations". Pakistan Today. 14 August 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  25. ^ "Velo Sound Station II: Rohail Hyatt steps in as executive producer | Instep |". Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  26. ^ "Thank you, more please! | Instep |". Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  27. ^ "Karachi Metblogs » 7th Lux Style Awards Highlights". Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  28. ^ "President confers 126 civil awards". The News International. 14 August 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2022. divorced in 2012

External links[edit]