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|Birth name||Rohail Hyatt|
|Born||Rawalpindi, Punjab Province, Pakistan|
|Occupation(s)||Executive producer of coke studio (Highly regarded)|
|Instruments||Keyboard instrument/Electronic keyboard/Synthesizer|
|Labels||Coke Studio, EMI Pakistan, PTV Studios, HMV, Sony BMG, Fire Records, Pyramid Productions|
|Associated acts||Vital Signs|
Rohail Hyatt (Urdu: روحیل حیات) is a Pakistani record producer, keyboardist, and composer. As record producer Hyatt is largely credited with helping shape and pioneer Western-style rock and pop genres in Pakistan's music industry.
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. The big commercial success of Vital Signs' first album helped rise and shape the rock music industry of Pakistan. 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. 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.
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 the most prominent music producing companies of Pakistan, and produced the first Ghazal album, featuring Fateh Ali Khan. In 2007, he composed the music of highly critical acclaimed and internationally successful film, Khuda Kay Liye which helped in shaping his image and work in the international community. 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.
Early life and education
Hyatt grew up in Rawalpindi, Punjab Province of Pakistan in the Khattar family of Sir Liaqat Hayat Khan, a prominent Punjabi leader of British times of whom Hyatt is great-grandson. He studied at St. Mary's Academy before embarking on his career in music. 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. 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. 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. 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. About the Pink Floyd, he reportedly quoted: "That just did it for me. It opened up a whole new direction of soundscapes and influences."
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. The two became acquaintances and Hyatt discovered that Haq was also a guitarist after Haq played guitar at school playing the song. 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. In 1980s, he was a member of two underground bands – Progressions and Crude X. 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. During the mid of 1980s, Hyatt left the university and referred himself as "a bum," in the university. 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.
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, while later composing the background score of the 2019 action-thriller movie Laal Kabootar.
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. Earlier in 1983, Hyatt met Junaid Jamshed who sang Careless Whisper, a 1984 single by George Michael, at the Islamabad Model College. 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. That night in the university campus, Jamshed sang Careless Whisper and impressed Hyatt to become band's new lead singer. 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.
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, songwriter, 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.
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 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....
- "MTV Pakistan: Rohail Hyatt". MTV Pakistan. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Matt Ross. "Rohail The Chief". Matt Ross of the Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, Pakistan chapter. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- By Madeeha Syed (26 July 2009). "Exclusive: The life and times of Rohail Hyatt". Dawn News Archives. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Manal Faheem Khan (9 October 2016), "The most underrated songs from Coke Studio", Something Haute. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
- "'Laal Kabootar' to hit theaters across Pakistan Friday" (21 March 2019), Geo News. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
- "Star-studded twin premieres for ‘Laal Kabootar’ held" (22 March 2019), Daily Times. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
- Syed, Madeeha. "The life and times of Rohail Hyatt". Madeeha Syed. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- BBC Link
- SONYA FATAH (1 August 2012). "Rohail Hyatt". Stagecraft. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Vital Signs – A Personal History by NFP
- "In The Name of God"
- Rohail Hyatt
- Coke Studio
- Schmidle, Nicholas (18 July 2007). "In the Name of God". Mother Jones. The Foundation for National Progress. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- Rohail Hyatt's channel on YouTube