LAHORE: Singer and musician Arooj Aftab on Sunday became the first Pakistani to win the prestigious Grammy Award in the Best Global Performance category for her song ‘Mohabbat’.
The 37-year-old who has lived in New York for around 15 years, has been steadily gaining global attention for her work that fuses ancient Sufi traditions with inflections of folk, jazz and minimalism.
After receiving the award, a visibly stunned Arooj said onstage at the 64th Grammy Awards, “I think I’m [going to] faint. Wow, thank you so much. I feel like this category in itself has been so insane like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Femi Kuti, Angélique Kidjo… should this be called the yacht party category”.
“I made [this record] about everything that broke me and put me back together. Thank you for listening to it and making it yours.”
Arooj was also up for the coveted Best New Artist prize, but lost out to Olivia Rodrigo.
“I am beyond thrilled,” the artist told journalists backstage at the pre-gala ceremony, at which the vast majority of awards are handed out. “I’ve been very nervous all day. And we’re off to a good start.”
Born in Saudi Arabia, Arooj spent her teenage years in Lahore before relocating to Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music to study musical production and engineering.
After the award was announced, Pakistani social media was flooded with congratulatory messages for her.
The Foreign Office felicitated the singer, tweeting: “She is the first Pakistani Singer to win at #GrammyAwards. We are proud of you!”
Arooj is only the second Pakistani to be nominated for a Grammy award.