Fresh out of SAE, Pakistan’s first female audio engineer Natasha Khan was immediately working on music, films, and today is a lead singer on Coke Studio - the longest-running annual TV music show in Pakistan.
We caught up with the young professional to discuss her incredible journey after SAE London.
Walk us through your journey since graduating?
I travelled to Pakistan after submitting my thesis. I had the opportunity to work with a Pakistani-based rock band. They were producing their album at the time and I worked on one of theirs songs along with a big team of creatives. Thereafter, I’ve been doing sound designing for TV commercials and voiceover work. I’m also currently doing audio for a feature film.
You’ve done so much, is there a highlight amongst all that?
I’ve performed in Coke Studio, which is the biggest music platform in Pakistan. It’s very popular globally. There’s Coke Studio Africa, Coke Studio India, Coke Studio Middle East, but Coke Studio Pakistan is the most viewed one. I was featured as an artist last year, which was Season 9. The feedback was very positive and overwhelming. I am delighted to feature again this year in season 10. This season is more exciting because I’ve also done backing vocals and it was an amazing experience to be a part of every song. It was a growing experience for me as a singer and I had a great team to work with and learn from.
" Although working in the mainstream is difficult, it is competitive, I am so happy to be doing what I'm doing."
Incredible - and as a sound engineer?
I’m a recording engineer for an upcoming feature film Aazaadi. I’ve had the honour of recording with superstars of Lollywood as well as some famous singers. The film looks promising, brilliant performance by the cast, it had a big international film crew, and the cinematography was beautiful. Being the first qualified female audio engineer from Pakistan, and having the opportunity to work on such a big project is a privilege.
And so what are your plans for the future?
I’m planning to work on two feature films that are coming up. I’ve just been compiling my work, building my portfolio, and hopefully I’d like to move to the US at some point or maybe come back to England.
I was going to ask - would you ever consider moving to London or LA?
London is home. My parents live there and I grew up there, so it would be a lot easier for me to settle in. But you know I’ve always dreamt big, so I’d love to be a part of Hollywood at some point depending on opportunities and obviously - luck!
So you were a musician before you did audio engineering, is that correct?
Yes, that’s right.
What influenced you to enrol in SAE and pursue audio engineering?
I’ve been a musician for 12 years now. I started writing and composing at a very young age, and it’s been difficult working with music producers, in terms of travelling to different places, at times not being able to have my songs produced the way I want, and sometimes just not being able to communicate on the same level. I always wanted to produce my own music and have my own setup. So I started looking for a degree online and I came across audio engineering and the world’s largest audio engineering institute - SAE, and that’s when things started to fall into the right place.
Did you find that the skills you learnt at SAE equipped you for the industry today?
Absolutely, absolutely. The theory really helps and I still go back to the books and the notes that I made during my lectures - they are still relevant and still help me. I had a lot of interest in films and I specialised in sound for film. I now apply the skill, and the attention I pay to the detail makes a difference to my work.
I feel I made the right choice. Although working in the mainstream is difficult, it is competitive, I’m so happy to be doing what I’m doing.