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Nazia Hassan was born into a wealthy family in Karachi in 1965. She began her singing career in the late 1970s when she appeared on Pakistani television programs as a child star. At the age of 15, Nazia began her professional career by recording lead vocals on Aap Jaisa Koi, a song featured in the 1980 film Qurbani. In 1981, she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback for this song.1
Aap Jaisa Koi was one of the biggest hits in Bollywood film music. It also made Nazia Hassan a star with young Asians in the Indian subcontinent who enjoyed the tune on the dance floor. The song’s London-based producer Biddu also brought Nazia into the limelight on the British pop scene. Together, they went on to produce Disco Deewane (1981), a wildly popular album known for it’s “racy songs” and “harmonious blend of eastern rhythms and western beats.” The album was number one for a year and it made Nazia the queen of Asian pop.
After the success of Disco Deewane, Nazia and her brother Zohaib sang together in the Bollywood film Star and returned to Pakistan in the early 1980s to record Young Tarang that was followed by Hotline in 1987. Nazia’s last solo album, Camera Camera was released in London in 1992. Her later works were criticized for lacking the expressiveness of early work.2
To her fans, it was her commitment to promoting social causes that really made her unique. Nazia worked to help women and youth living in underprivileged areas in Karachi. She began a non-profit organization called Battle Against Narcotics (BAN) and was an active member of organizations such as Voice of Women and the National Youth Council of Pakistan. In the early 1990s she spent two years working for the Security Council at the United Nations and one year with UNICEF.3
Nazia passed away due to lung cancer on August 13, 2000. She was only 35 years old.4