Zameer Rizvi

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Zameer Rizvi
Zameer Live @ the Hershey Center on Aug 2007
Background information
Birth name Zameer Ali Rizvi
Born (1981-02-05) 5 February 1981 (age 34)
Lahore, Pakistan
Genres Vocal, Easy Listening, Soft Rock, Pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Drums, Guitar
Years active 2002–present
Website Official website

Zameer Rizvi (born 5 February 1981) is a Canadian singer/songwriter, musician and composer. Rizvi's songs often reference social and political issues resulting from his exposure to political unrest while living in Pakistan, Libya and Saudi Arabia.[1] Rizvi's poignant writing style landed him amidst much controversy with songs "Mind Over Murder" and "Tatti" that challenge socio-political norms of the Middle East and South Asia.[2] The same writing style earned him world-wide recognition when his song about social injustice against athletes with disabilities, "Win or Defeat", was licensed as a theme song by the 2010 Paralympic Games.[3] Rizvi went on to perform the song at the 2010 Olympic Games.[4] Rizvi garnered further success with strong sales of his debut album From Under the Bleachers from which the single "Glory of Love" rose to the 73rd spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[5][6] He went on the secure the #1 spot on the Billboard charts in March 2012.[7]

Life and career[edit]

Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Rizvi was born in Lahore, Pakistan. He was raised in Libya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, England and finally Canada. In 1995, Rizvi and his family immigrated to Canada, and currently reside in Mississauga, Ontario.[2] Rizvi is the youngest of four siblings, who later formed their own band. In 1998, Rizvi and his two brothers, Ali and Hussain, released their first EP as the band Dead Shyre.[8] Although it received moderate success, Rizvi credits Dead Shyre for teaching him the basics of recording and production.[9] They also have one sister, Tara.[10] Both of Rizvi's parents are university professors.[11] Rizvi holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Western Ontario.[2]

2002-2004: Auditory scene analysis research[edit]

During 2002-2004, while attending the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Rizvi studied the mathematical ingredients of some of this era's hit music, using auditory scene analysis. His research paper, titled "Auditory Scene Analysis of 20th Century Popular Music", was published by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Western Ontario.[12]

2005-2007: "Win or Defeat"[edit]

In 2005, Rizvi moved back to Toronto to pursue his music career. He formed a band and performed at local Toronto open mics and bars, including Lee's Palace and the Horseshoe Tavern.[13] Over the next two years, Rizvi steadily moved up Toronto's live music food chain, performing at bigger and better venues including the Opera House, Hershey Centre, and ultimately the Skydome (Rogers Centre).[14]

It was around this time that Rizvi wrote and released his debut single "Win or Defeat", and was nominated as 'Best Artist' at the Toronto Independent Music Awards.[15] He was also ranked amongst the top 10 live acts in Toronto by the world's largest music festival, Emergenza.[16] Record labels and producers started paying attention, and Rizvi was approached by multiple Grammy Award winning producer, Steve Thompson.[17] Steve later went on to re-produce "Win or Defeat", which Rizvi debuted for 30,000 spectators during a sporting event at the Skydome in Toronto.[18]

2008-2010: Partnering with the 2010 Vancouver Games[edit]

The message of "Win or Defeat" is to overcome all obstacles to pursue a dream, which resonated with the Canadian Paralympic Committee. The Committee subsequently licensed "Win or Defeat" to use as a song promoting athletes with disabilities. The Paralympics produced the video for "Win or Defeat", which featured Canadian Paralympic gold medalists Brad Bowden and Paul Rosen.[3] Soon after the video's release, "Win or Defeat" was in rotation on MTV, MuchMusic and over 45 radio stations nationwide.[19] Rizvi went on to perform the song at the 2010 Vancouver Games in Whistler, British Columbia.[4]

2010-2012: From Under the Bleachers and "Tatti"[edit]

Rizvi released his debut album titled From Under the Bleachers in 2011.[20] According to Rizvi, the title of the album originated from his experiences while sitting under the water tank on his roof in Pakistan.[9] Production credits for From Under the Bleachers include five-time Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Thompson.[17] Rizvi toured Norway, Pakistan, Canada and USA to promote his debut release.[14]

The album was well received, with strong digital sales, leading to Rizvi's single "Glory of Love" climbing to #73 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in Canada. The album also snagged Rizvi the title of "Hot Shot Debut" and #5 on the Billboard Emerging Artists chart.[5][6][7]

In March 2011, Rizvi released a music video for his song "Mind Over Murder" which questions Islam's promise of 70 virgins in paradise. In the video, Rizvi plays a terrorist who winds up in paradise with 70 virgins as promised by the religion. The conclusion of the video shows the virgins turning into vampires, and the terrorist changing his mind about killing innocent people.[21] The video stirred up controversy and Rizvi received several threats by those who felt he was targeting the Islamic faith.[22]

Anti-Terrorism Billboard Campaign for single "Mind Over Murder" (June 2011)

In April 2012, Rizvi released another controversial satirical song and music video called "Tatti". In Punjabi (the predominant language in northern India and Pakistan), "Tatti”" means to defecate. The comedic video was featured on the website of Late Show with David Letterman. In the video, Rizvi shines light on the subjugation of women in Indian culture, which led to outrage in the Indian community.[23] Rizvi received public death threats and insults, despite which, he did not remove the video from circulation.

"Tatti" Supporting Women's Rights through Comedy (April 2012)

The controversy surrounding Rizvi’s releases created a social media storm which led to him rising to the top of Billboard‍ '​s social media charts at #1 in 2012.[24]

2013: Generation Z[edit]

Rizvi plans to release his sophomore album titled Generation Z in 2013. Generation Z features collaborations and productions with Kuya Productions, a multi-platinum Grammy nominated Canadian production and song writing team, multi-platinum selling producers Orange Factory Music, and by award winning Romanian-Canadian producer Ovi.[24] The album also features Canadian rapper Choclair.[25]

The first single from the album, titled "Loco" was limited to be available only in Canada.[26] The second single, "Catch the Sun", is to be released in April 2013.[27]

2014: Collaboration with Noori[edit]

In October 2014 Rizvi announced that he is collaborating with the Pakistani rock pioneers Noori to release a new single on his upcoming album.[28] The song was produced by 13-time Juno award winner Gavin Brown and is available to purchase worldwide.[29] Brown is credited with combining Rizvi's soulful love song lyrics and hard rock elements from noori. Rizvi and guitarist Ali Noor are cousins and grew up together in Lahore, Pakistan before Rizvi moved to Canada.[30]

2015: "Her"[edit]

Rizvi announced plans to release a new album called "Her" during a January 19 interview on Open Chest TV with Raj Girn,[31] part of the Anokhi Magazine network. Rizvi revealed he has been working with drummer Johnny Fay of The Tragically Hip on "Her" due out in the summer of 2015.[32]



Chart Positions[edit]

Year Single/Artist Peak Chart Positions Album
Canadian Hot 100 Billboard Artists (CAN) Billboard Social Media (US)
2011 "Glory of Love" 73 5 - From Under the Bleachers
2012 "Zameer" - - 1 -

Music videos[edit]

Rizvi has released six music videos to date:

Year Single Director Album
2008 "Win or Defeat" Marc André Debruyne From Under the Bleachers
2009 "With You" Nelson Navarro Navarro From Under the Bleachers
2010 "Teri Yaad" Isaac Elliott-Fisher, Awais Jaffery Saath
2010 "My Hometown" Mark Araujo From Under the Bleachers
2010 "Classical Jind Mahi" Isaac Elliott-Fisher Saath
2011 "Mind Over Murder" Randall Lobb From Under the Bleachers
2012 "Tatti" Awais Jaffery, Isaac Elliott-Fisher TBA
2014 "Shut The World Out" Ali Noor, Isaac Elliott-Fisher TBA

Other work[edit]

In 2006, Rizvi founded his own imprint called Rizvi Records through which he releases his music. He also founded ZRG, a provider of communications and technology consulting services to a client roster which includes Bell Canada and Research in Motion.

Rizvi is a multi-instrumentalist and plays the guitars, drums, and keyboards on most of the songs on From Under the Bleachers.[33]

Charity work[edit]

Rizvi has founded several charitable initiatives for various causes. In 2007, Rizvi partnered with MuchMoreMusic to spearhead Sing For South Asia, a charity concert to raise funds for victims of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.[34] In 2008, Rizvi decided to donate partial profit from the sales of his song "Win or Defeat" to the Canadian Paralympic Foundation, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with disabilities through sport.[35] Between 2009 and 2010, Rizvi participated in a series of performances for Hands Up Canada, a charitable initiative to support Paralympic Sports across 30 shopping malls in Canada.

Collaborations and awards[edit]

  • Rizvi came into Fatlabs Studios to work with Canadian producer Vikas Kohli on a number of tracks for his debut album From Under the Bleachers, such as "Mind over Murder", "Final Conversation" and "Win or Defeat".
  • Rizvi was the recipient of the 2008 Anokhi Sexy and Successful Music Award for Most Promising Musical Artist. Other winners and attendees included Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto. Rizvi also performed at the Gala.[36]


  1. ^ "Zameer on Bridges TV – Part 1". YouTube. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Zameer on CTV". Vimeo. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Zameer Interview at Paralympics". Vimeo. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Zameer Hits With Cover". Billboard. 28 January 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Britney’s Hold It Against Me tops Canadian Hot 100". Sound Box. 16 February 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Next Big Sound". Billboard. 17 March 2012.
  8. ^ "The Review". Dawn. 9 October 2008.
  9. ^ a b Rizvi Interview on CBC Radio[dead link]
  10. ^ "Zameer". Retrieved 2012-02-23. [dead link]
  11. ^ Isler, Hilal Nakiboglu (7 February 2008). "Rockers Zameer are all set to release their debut CD". The Star (Toronto). Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. 
  12. ^ Rizvi, Zameer (2004). Computational auditory scene analysis of sound signals perceived as music. University of Western Ontario, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  13. ^ "Shyre @ Lee's Palace this Friday - Aug 19 (for Toronto guppies)". GupShup Forums. 16 August 2005. 
  14. ^ a b "Tour". Zameer (official website). Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  15. ^ "RBC desiFEST set to rock Vancouver". Asian Pacific Post. 20 February 2008. 
  16. ^ "The Martys Nominee Biographies 2010" (PDF). Mississauga Arts Council. p. 11. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Zameer". Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "Win or Defeat". Fatlabs. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  19. ^ Rizvi on radio and TV rotation[dead link]
  20. ^ "From Under the Bleachers". iTunes. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  21. ^ "Mind Over Murder". MuchMusic. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  22. ^ 'Mind Over Murder Comment Threats'
  23. ^ Kay, Dee (26 April 2012). "Zameer – Tatti". Sari-Clad Speakers.
  24. ^ a b "Canada’s Zameer Named by Billboard Music as #1 Fastest Growing Artist on Social Music Sites". PR Web. 20 March 2012.
  25. ^ 25 December 2012 tweet by @zameermusic.
  26. ^ "Loco – Single". iTunes. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  27. ^ "New Single – 'Catch the Sun'". Zameer (official website). 7 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "Shut The World Out ft. Ali Noor". Facebook. 13 October 2014. 
  29. ^ iTunes. Retrieved 15 October 2014
  30. ^ "Making Of 'Shut The World Out' ft. Ali Noor". Youtube. 13 October 2014. 
  31. ^ title="Ep 40 Singer Songwriter Zameer Rizvi"
  32. ^ [2]
  33. ^ [3][dead link]
  34. ^ "Zameer on MuchMoreMusic". YouTube. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  35. ^ "CPA National". Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  36. ^ "Anokhi Magazine Puts the Vibrant and Diverse South Asian Mainstream Market on Display". Anokhi. 9 February 2009. 

External links[edit]