Rohail Hyatt

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Rohail Hyatt
Rohail Hyatt.jpg
Background information
Birth name Rohail Hyatt
Born Rawalpindi, Punjab Province, Pakistan
Genres Rock/World Fusion
Occupation(s) Executive producer of coke studio
Instruments Keyboard instrument/Electronic keyboard/Synthesizer
Years active 1983–Present
Labels Coke Studio, EMI Pakistan, PTV Studios, HMV, Sony BMG, Fire Records, Pyramid Productions
Associated acts Vital Signs
Notable instruments
Electronic keyboard

Rohail Hyatt (Urdu: روحیل حیات), is a Pakistani record producer, keyboardist, and composer.[1][2] As record producer Hyatt is largely credited with helping shape and pioneer Western-style rock and pop genre in Pakistan's music industry.[3]

In 1987, Hyatt founded the 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 was composed by Hyatt.[4] The big commercial success of Vital Signs' first album helped rise and shape the rock music industry of Pakistan.[4] In 1991, Hyatt produced and released the band's second album, Vital Signs 2, distributed by the EMI Studios Pakistan, though it had mixed reviews.[4] From the period, 1993–95, Hyatt gained public fame and critical acclaims for composing the two best-selling albums which improved the recognition of his work in the music industry.[4]

In 1998, Hyatt discontinued the band after facing various issues, leaving Junaid Jamshed focused on his solo career. Hyatt later founded Pyramid Productions which subsequently emerged as one of most prominent music producing companies of Pakistan, and produced the first Ghazal album, featuring Fateh Ali Khan.[3] In 2007, he composed the music of highly critical acclaimed and internationally successful film, Khuda Kay Liye which helped shaping his image and work in the international community.[3] In 2008, he founded the international music outlet, Coke Studio and is credited with featuring Pakistan's notable and newcomer featured artists, which is broadcast each season.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Hyatt grew up in Rawalpindi, Punjab Province of Pakistan in the prominent Jatt Khattar family of Sir Liaqat Hayat Khan, a prominent Punjabi leader of British times of whom Hyatt is great-grandson.[5] He studied at St. Mary's Academy before embarking on his career in music.[3] 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.[3] 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 Pakistan music.[3] 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.[3] 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.[3] About the Pink Floyd, he reportedly quoted: "That just did it for me. It opened up a whole new direction of soundscapes and influences."[3]

During his youth, he was a member of the Under-19 Pakistan cricket team and it seemed that his future was in the sport until he came across Rizwan-ul-Haq.[4] The two became acquaintance and Hyatt discovered that Haq was also a guitarist after Haq played guitar at school playing the song.[4] 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.[4] In 1980s, he was a member of two underground bands – Progressions and Crude X.[4] 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.[4] During the mid of 1980s, Hyatt left the university and referred himself as "a bum," in the university.[3] 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.[3]

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 the Vital Signs in 1986.[6] Earlier in 1983, Hyatt met Junaid Jamshed who sang Careless Whisper, a 1984 single by George Michael, at the Islamabad Model College.[6] 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 meeting with Jamshed.[6] That night in the university campus, Jamshed sang Careless Whisper and impressed Hyatt to become band's new lead singer.[6] With the help of Hyatt and Nusrat Hussain, Jamshed was inducted in Vital Sign and signed a record deal with record executive and producer Shoaib Mansoor to his PTV Music Studio.[6]

For the most of the part of the decade, Hyatt was the 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 1991–1997. Rohail played the role of band member, producer, song writer, guitarist and keyboardist at different times of the band's history. The first hit for Vital Signs was 'Dil Dil Pakistan', which was voted the 3rd most popular song in the world by a poll carried out by BBC World.[7]

Further success[edit]

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

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 Dravidians, we are Central Asian, we are Muslims. 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 Culture of Pakistan, source[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MTV Pakistan: Rohail Hyatt". MTV Pakistan. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Showbiz. "Showbiz profile". Showbiz. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Matt Ross. "Rohail The Chief". Matt Ross of the Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, Pakistan chapter. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i By Madeeha Syed (26 July 2009). "Exclusive: The life and times of Rohail Hyatt". Dawn News Archives. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e Syed, Madeeha. "The life and times of Rohail Hyatt". Madeeha Syed. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  7. ^ BBC Link
  8. ^ SONYA FATAH (1 August 2012). "Rohail Hyatt". Stagecraft. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 

External links[edit]