Still flirting with her teenage, Sara Raza Khan rose to stardom in a way an image of which in recent times is hard to find.
In times when class has largely been compromised in the field of performing arts, she has been a surprise package of remarkable talent and classic demureness.
Born on 9th November 1995 to an engineer father and a house wife mother in Lahore, no one took the doll faced Sara to be someone who'd carve new roads for herself in the field of music. In a family as distant to the show business as East is to the West, Sara – the fourth in five siblings, today stands holding her own firm ground.
When she began her schooling, young Sara went on a dynamic journey of self discovery by participating in and leaving her mark at every school event. Whether it was her performance in a drama or participation in a debate, singing or Na'at recitation, there was no second guessing about her intentions: Sara wouldn't settle for anything second to best. Her mother soon began to realize that the display shelves in their home would need much more room to feature all her won trophies … and the story was to continue, after an exciting, record-breaking roller-coaster ride involving several international tours and many special moments.
At the suggestion of her teachers at school, Sara's mother took her to the Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore for proper training in music. When Ustad Abdul Rauf observed her unique talent and phenomenal voice, he instantly took Sara under his tutelage and set on the task of polishing the diamond. And thus was Sara's initiation of the musical odyssey. She had been under training for only a month when she stumbled upon a chance to perform in front of the then President of Pakistan, Gen (R) Pervez Musharaf. Musharaf, a skillful tabla player himself and known for having a good ear for music, greatly appreciated the young voice with such mature skill and invited Sara to perform at the Presidency. This performance at the President House was Sara's first porthole to the aurora of success. Recognition followed the young star Sara along with a host of opportunities for anchoring, singing and performing at various live shows on different TV channels.
In 2009, when Sara had successfully faced the judgment of eminent music teachers at various stages while on her way to win the Pakistan Television's reality show 'Bright Stars', she was selected to be the first Pakistani female to participate in the acclaimed, cross border, musical reality contest Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009. Reliving the moment when the legendary Ustad Ghulam Ali himself extended the invitation to her, Sara still gets all goose bumpy. "Oh well, it was a scary way to begin performing for an international audience," she admits, "but the scariest way is often the best." So, the fourteen years old Sara embraced the title of "Pakistan ki Beti" and took the plunge where no other female from her country had been to. Sara couldn't win the title, yet she returned home with a unanimous feedback that her voice was rarely short of astounding.
After her return from India, Sara focused on harnessing her skills further in music despite resentment from her extended family. The pressure only helped to fuel her resolve to shine brighter. "I owe my talent to my Lord and I owe my skill to my mother, without whose contribution I wouldn't have made it to anywhere," mused Sara."Why should I let my benefactors down?" As she continued to do spellbinding covers of the old classics, the tinsel town began buzzing with an array of OST's that bore her signature as the playback singer. Meanwhile the dynamic artist pursued her studies at the Kinnaird College for Women University.
2012 turned out to be a happening year for Sara. While her OST for the play "Meray Qatil Meray Dildar" (2012) grabbed the Best Original Soundtrack at the first Hum Awards (2013), Sara also became the first to claim the finalist lead seat at Sur Kshetra – a 2012 singing talent show developed as a competition between teams of two neighboring countries Pakistan and India, aired at five different channels simultaneously across two different continents.
Aided by her signature philosophy of substance over style, Sara has been captivating audience with her charming personality, ability to connect to audience instantly and above all her musical ability. Her international as well as local live performances are a testimony to her deepening mastery of her passion: singing. Developing over her sound foundation in classical music, she has made her forte across all genres of music from Filmy to Folk and from Pop to Ghazal.
Despite not originating from a bloodline belonging to the classical music, it is a rare experience to find a voice so skillfully trained, so masterly captivating in times of studio aided recordings. Sara's unique strength among her peers remains her finesse of vocals and the unrelenting balance of "sur" and "lay". This fact is further endorsed by the schedule of live concerts her year planner documents.
With the release of "Dukhtar" as well as "Na Maloom Afraad" in 2014, Sara made a very successful debut in playback singing for films via both these critically acclaimed cinema features. Now with around seventy OST's under her belt and a growing number of playback scores in the upcoming films, Sara chuckles sheepishly "For the first time" she says, I have so many original songs to choose from that there isn't much room for covers. It's great to be so spoilt for choice."
Sara's stunning voice bejeweled with a unique blend of maturity and a velvety richness, effortlessly becomes a narration of all shades of love and life. The best kind of music is the one which is not a fleeting moment's entertainment, but lingers on as an experience; Sara aims to continue cultivating that experience for her audience "to whom I owe my success," she quips radiantly.