49 Facts About Ali Sethi


Ali Aziz Sethi is a Pakistani singer, songwriter, composer, and author.


Ali Sethi trained under the tutelage of Ustad Naseeruddin Saami as well as under ghazal and classical singer Farida Khanum.


In 2015, Ali Sethi made his debut on Coke Studio Pakistan with the well-known Punjabi folk song "Umraan Langiyaan" for which he received significant praise, quickly establishing himself as a millennial practitioner of traditional folk and classical music.


Ali Sethi has since appeared on several seasons of Coke Studio where he has performed covers as well as original music.


Ali Sethi is particularly associated with the ghazal format of singing and is often hailed for attempting to revive the ancient art form by experimenting with it and repositioning it as a young person's genre.


Ali Sethi is noted for his ability to blend Hindustani classical ragas with contemporary Western arrangements and for his flair for lending new-age contours to older melodies.


Ali Sethi was born on July 2,1984, in Lahore, Pakistan to award-winning journalists and publishers Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin, both of whom are politicians.


Ali Sethi is the brother of actor and author Mira Ali Sethi and nephew to British-Pakistani writer Moni Mohsin.


Najam Sethi was later acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and awarded Amnesty International's Journalist of the Year Award.


Ali Sethi attended the International School of Choueifat and Aitchison College in Lahore, Pakistan and describes himself as an above average student, particularly interested in art, drawing, music, and poetry.


Ali Sethi attended Harvard College from 2002 to 2006, initially planning to major in economics.


Ali Sethi performed every year for Ghungroo, Harvard's largest student-run production focusing on the South Asian diaspora, in addition to serving on the features board of The Harvard Advocate.


Ali Sethi has written essays and articles for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Review of Books, and The Caravan.


Ali Sethi has received praise for his profiles of the writer Saadat Hasan Manto and the ghazal singer Farida Khanum.


Ali Sethi formally apprenticed himself to Ustad Naseeruddin Saami of the Delhi gharana in 2008 and to ghazal and classical singer Farida Khanum in 2012.


In 2012, Sethi recorded "Dil Jalannay Ki Baat Karte Ho," which was featured in Mira Nair's political-thriller, The Reluctant Fundamentalist.


Ali Sethi went on to perform on the next five seasons of Coke Studio Pakistan.


In February 2015, Ali Sethi released his first music video for the single "Kithay Nain Na Jori" at the Karachi Literature Festival.


The video featured Ali Sethi and starred Sania Saeed, Adnan Siddiqui, and Mira Ali Sethi and the song was meant as a tribute to Pakistani folk singer Reshma.


On February 5,2016, Ali Sethi released his original single "Mahi Mera" featuring farmer-turned-folk singer Jamaldin, which was critically well received.


In 2017, Ali Sethi featured in the track "Aaja" with Riz Ahmed and Heems and Redinho of the Swet Shop Boys as a tribute to Qandeel Baloch.


That year, Ali Sethi collaborated with Pakistani-American artist Shahzia Sikander and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun on Disruption as Rapture, a multimedia work housed in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Ali Sethi co-produced and co-directed the music video for the song.


In December 2017, Sethi collaborated with American dhol player Sunny Jain on a project called Resident Alien and performed renditions of seven folk songs in Joe's Pub in New York.


Ali Sethi recorded a romantic ballad "Yunhi Rastay Mai" for the 2018 film Saat Din Mohabbat In.


Ali Sethi collaborated with Red Baraat on the song "Kala Mukhra".


Ali Sethi began focusing more heavily on releasing original music in 2019, announcing that year that he would be collaborating on new projects with American music producer Noah Georgeson.


In one of the lectures, titled The Covenant of Love, Ali Sethi discussed the poetic tradition of Sufi music and the consciousness of Sufi poets and the evolution of Indo-Muslim Sufi thought.


Ali Sethi began his Spring 2020 Tour on February 16 with a performance at the Royal Geographical Society in London.


On May 17,2020, Ali Sethi took part in a conversation with Nirupama Rao, former Foreign Secretary of India, to discuss how art intersects with issues of interconnectedness, identity, and culture in South Asia.


Ali Sethi sang and composed the song "Pehla Qadam" which was released on September 18,2020.


Ali Sethi used verses from two poems penned by eminent Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz for the song which was meant to show solidarity and support for the people of Palestine.


In September 2021, Ali Sethi collaborated with Indian author Amitav Ghosh for his first book-in-verse, Jungle Nama: A Story of the Sundarban, based on the legend of Bonbibi.


Ali Sethi narrated the musical audiobook of Jungle Nama in addition to composing and performing music for it.


Ali Sethi stated that he wanted to "evoke the wonder of the Sundarban through its sound and poetry" while working on this project.


Ali Sethi described that he drew on "syncretic raga traditions" and folk tunes to compose the music for Jungle Nama, using "traditional instruments like surmandal and dhol" and combining different musical traditions.


In February 2022, Ali Sethi co-wrote, co-composed, and sang the song "Pasoori" for Coke Studio Season 14 with debutant singer Shae Gill.


In September 2022, Ali Sethi performed at the inaugural celebration of the Saxena Center for Contemporary South Asia at Brown University.


On October 14,2022, Ali Sethi performed at the first Coke Studio live concert held at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, UAE along with Faisal Kapadia, Shae Gill, Hasan Raheem, Young Stunners, and Justin Bibis.


Ali Sethi was among the first headliners to be announced for the show in July 2022.


On November 8,2022, Ali Sethi announced his 2023 North American tour featuring 11 stops across the United States and Canada, including Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Vancouver.


In March 2023, Sethi performed at the second annual South Asian Excellence pre-Oscars event hosted by Paramount Pictures, Priyanka Chopra, and Mindy Kaling among others.


Ali Sethi is particularly known for experimenting with and modernizing the ancient ghazal format of singing.


Ali Sethi has received acclaim for "performing iconic ghazals and putting his spin on them" and has mentioned in various interviews that the ghazal is one of his favorite genres of music.


Ali Sethi has stated that he is drawn to "obscure and outdated forms of poetry and music" and that he is "interested in reviving lost techniques and lost cultures" in a way that redefines the traditional as experimental.


Ali Sethi has been credited with helping to resurrect the lost art of the ghazal by reinventing it for present-day audiences and making the genre more approachable for younger generations in mainstream Pakistani culture as well as internationally.


Ali Sethi is queer and is one of the few Pakistani artists to openly identify as such.


Ali Sethi thinks that homophobia is rising in his home country, and feels a responsibility to be visibly queer.


Ali Sethi was nominated for Best Playback Singer - Male at 15th Lux Style Awards, and Best Playback Singer - Male at 2nd ARY Film Awards for performing "Aah Ko Chahiye" in the film Manto.