Getting to Know Zameer

Zameer is a Canadian singer-songwiter who was born in Pakistan and makes exceptionally powerful and inspirational music. Many of his songs have to do with political unrest and social injustices. He has achieved success in his adopted home of Toronto where he’s been voted the Best Artist by the Toronto Independent Music Awards as well as being included in the Top 10 Live Acts in Toronto. He was chosen as a Billboard “Hot Shot Debut” upon the release of his album, From Under the Bleachers.

Zameer is one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.  The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the highlights of the festival. The musicians are chosen by a three-member jury and are given the opportunity to perform two songs (not to exceed ten minutes).  The audience votes for their favorites and three or four acts are asked to return to the main stage the following year.

To find out more information about Zameer, check out his website.

 Here’s the video of Zameer’s inspirational song “Win or Defeat.”

Zameer w guitar

How would you describe your music in one sentence?

I’m a singer/songwriter with simple songs and simple melodies with simple lyrics.

What’s your earliest memory of music?  Has it always played a big part in your life?

I’m the youngest of four and remember growing up to all my siblings playing musical instruments for fun all the time. We didn’t have toys; we had instruments. I didn’t get Tonka truck hand-me-downs, I got guitars.

 When did you first discover that you had a gift for playing and writing?

When my dad died.

You went to college to be an electrical engineer.  Did you actually end up working in that field at all or did you graduate and immediately start trying to make a living with music?

I always did and will continue to operate as an engineer and musician. Both professions are like my twin babies with starkly different personalities.

I saw an interview with you and your brother in which you praised the talents of Guns and Roses.  What was the attraction of their music that made it so important to you?

It seemed effortless, raw, un-adulterated, authentic and extremely well produced. Speaking of its production, their biggest album to date was mixed by the same dude that produced my first record, Steve Thompson. 

If you could choose your dream band, who would you ask to back you up?

Gavin Brown on Drums, Marc Rogers on Bass, John-Angus MacDonald on Guitar, Dennis Hamm on Keys


Tell us about your latest recording.  Has your style changed much since you first began recording your own material?

Absolutely, it’s constantly evolving. It’s learning how to communicate, it’s like learning to write as a kid. Sometimes your handwriting sucks, but your ideas are great. Sometimes your handwriting is great, but your ideas suck. You just gotta keep doing it. My ideas have become more refined, succinct and impactful. My handwriting still sucks. 

One bio I read about you says that have written some songs that challenge the socio-political norms of the Middle East and South Asia.  Having lived in Pakistan, do you feel that it’s a musical mission to make more people aware of the political unrest in that part of the world?  

No it’s not a musical mission at all. It’s my life. I write about my life and experiences. I’m glad that people may be able to learn something from my songs. That’s all I could hope for.

I’m curious to hear more about how your song “Win or Defeat” was chosen as the song for the 2010 Paralympics.  What does the song mean to you?  

The song “Win or Defeat” is about overcoming obstacles and persevering regardless of reward or recognition. It’s about finding more pleasure in the journey instead of the destination. This was particularly applicable to Paralympic athletes who work just as hard (if not harder) than Olympic athletes, yet only receive a fourth of the funding. It was this message that resonated with the Paralympic Committee who licensed the song for the Games. 

 What’s next for you?  What are your current aspirations?

Be continually inspired.


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