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Momina Mustehsan

Born Name: Momina Mustehsan
Born/Date of Birth: 5 September 1992
Place of Birth: Faisalabad, Pakistan
Occupation: singer
Height: 1.65 m
Education: Stony Brook University
Nationality: American, Pakistani
Musical career
Genres: Pop, rock, classical
Instruments: Vocals, guitar
Associated acts: Coke Studio, Junoon

Momina Mustehsan is a Pakistani-American singer-songwriter, musician and social activist.. Momina is regarded as one of Pakistan's biggest music stars..

Mustehsan rose to prominence as a co-singer and writer in Farhan Saeed's single "Pee Jaun", and later sang the song "Awari" for the Indian thriller film Ek Villain (2014). In 2016 she marked her Coke Studio debut as a featured artist in season 9, where she performed a rendition of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Afreen Afreen", with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and received critical appraisal. Following her debut, she became one of the most sought-out media personalities in Pakistan, and the song became one of the most viewed songs of Pakistan, garnering over 100 million views. Mustehsan released her first original single, "Aaya Na Tu", in mid 2018. It peaked at number five on YouTube within 24 hours upon its release.

Alongside her singing career, Mustehsan participates in stage shows. She promotes various causes such as education and mental health, and is particularly vocal about issues such as the role of women in Pakistan and feminism, and she is the member of UN Women Pakistan.

Early life and background
Her mother, Huma Mustehsan, is a doctor. She has two siblings: an elder brother, Hashim Mustehsan, a doctor, and a younger brother, Haider Mustehsan, a former intern to the Pakistani Mission at the United Nations.

Mustehsan completed her A'Level from Lahore Grammar School and later moved to the States for higher studies and graduated with a double majors degree in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the Stony Brook University in 2016. At the time of her graduation, her name was in the Dean's list.

Mustehsan at first learnt to play violin and sang in public for the first time in a choir of her grade school, without any formal music training.

2011–2015: "Pee Jaun" and Ek Villain
At Junoon's twentieth anniversary, Mustehsan recorded a song "Sajna" for their album Junoon 20 in Volume I, the song was written by Ali Azmat and was a bonus track on album. In 2012, she wrote the lyrics for the song "Pee Jaun", and sung with Farhan Saeed. The song was also featured in 2015 Nescafé Basement with Mustehsan singing along with Hamza Tanveer.

In 2014, she recorded a song "Awari" for Pakistani Band Soch who approached her, without telling her that they are going to use the song in Indian film Ek Villain.

2016–present: Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay and Coke Studio
In 2016, Mustehsan recorded her first song "Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay" for the romantic drama film Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay, and marked her Coke Studio debut as a featured artist in season 9 later that year. Her first song "Afreen Afreen", alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, broke all previous Coke Studio records by accumulating over 2.5 million views in one day. The other songs she performed "Main Raasta", partially written by her, and "Tera Woh Pyar (Nawazishein Karam)" along with Junaid Khan and Asim Azhar respectively. Commenting on her Coke Studio success she said, "it was very overwhelming for me because these are classics I am singing with very well-known singers. For me it was a great honour. I was also very nervous – I never get nervous for anything. But I got appreciated a lot once the songs were recorded."

Revealing on her future in music Mustehsan said "I don't want to pursue music as a career. For me, it was hard to make a decision since I had no references. Maybe after me, people would come out to show their talent," and explained "I don't think releasing number of albums defines a musician. I do music for myself and not for the masses. I'm not into the idea of being a celebrity or having people know or follow me."

In February 2017, she released the anthem for the Pakistan Super League franchise Islamabad United. Leading media outlets, The Express Tribune and Geo News criticized the heavy use of auto-tune and the lack of substance in the single, titled "Cricket Jorrey Pakistan" (Cricket Unites Pakistan). On 3 November, "Afreen Afreen" became the fastest Pakistani origin video to mark 100 million views on YouTube, and become the most viewed Pakistani origin YouTube video on 10 November, leaving behind Atif Aslam's rendition of "Tajdar-e-Haram" and Imran Khan's "Amplifier". That same year, she collaborated with the Coke Studio for a second time, and released three songs, one of which was the "Qaumi Taranah" (national anthem of Pakistan), which she sang with the other featured artists of the season; however, the rendition was criticized, with critics saying that it failed to win hearts. Her next song released was "Muntazir", which was composed and written by Strings. Featured alongside the debutante Danyal Zafar, the song received positive reviews, and became one of the most viewed song of the season. The Sufi rock "Ghoom Taana" was her final song, released in the season, and also featured the band Irteassh. Both the original and the recreated versions were written and composed by Salman Ahmad, and the song was originally released in 2003 by the band Junoon in their album Door. The song received mixed reviews.

Mustehsan began 2018 with the single "Aaya Na Tu", which she sang with the Indian singer Arjun Kanungo. Composed by Kanungo, and written by Kunaal Vermaa, the single was released under the label of Universal Music India. The single was shot in Bangkok, and Mustehsan said that the song addresses "rejection, pain and the burden of true love". Upon release, the song topped the Hindi and Urdu music charts, trended at number five on YouTube several hours later, and garnered more than 8 million views within 24 hours upon its release on YouTube.

Personal life and social work
In September 2016, Mustehsan confirmed and announced her engagement on Twitter to Ali Naqvi, a US based banker in California. However, their relationship ended in early 2017.

Mustehsan supports several charitable causes and organizations, that works for the welfare of women in Pakistan. Mustehsan has also been outspoken about mental illness and depression, and in 2017, she spoke about her personal experience of overcoming depression. In response to the family separation policy by the U.S President Donald Trump, Mustehsan wrote on twitter: "Separating children from their families is traumatic and makes them more vulnerable in every way. This is inhuman. Children are children first, their immigration status shouldn't rip them away from their families."

In an online interview, Mustehsan stated that she had donated all of her earnings of 2016 to make water-wells in the Thar desert of Sindh.[citation needed] Mustehsan is planning a distant education program for children in rural Pakistan along with a polio campaign. In a chat show, she said, "I plan introducing distant education plans for children in rural areas where there are no schools or a learning environment. We'll introduce learning videos which, along with projectors, would be provided to the mosques in different areas to enable children to learn. From making roties [bread] to learning physics, they'll get it all." In 2017, Mustehsan was a part of the United Nations Women "Beat Me" campaign, that aimed to address the issue of domestic violence in the country. During the campaign, Mustehsan talked about feminism in Pakistan, and said:

"Do we hate our women? I don't think so. In fact, Pakistan has more women representation in government than the U.S., and we have twice elected a female head of state. Empowering women in Pakistan would mean raising them equal to boys, providing them the same education, giving them the same job opportunities, equal wages and equal respect."

In May 2018, Mustehsan (along with Sajal Aly, Ahad Raza Mir, Ali Rehman Khan, Sonya Hussain, Younis Khan, Ali Sethi and Gul Panra), appeared in the Coca-Cola advertisement. The purpose of the advertisement was to collect funds for Edhi Foundation, a non-profit welfare organization, under the "Eidi for Edhi" campaign. In addition to appearing, she also recited a part of the poem "Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua", in the Sindhi language for the advertisement. Later in the country's first ever live digital donation drive event, Mustehsan donated ₨1 million (US$7,100) to the foundation. That same month, Mustehsan lend her support to the "Taleem Do" initiative, a non-profit right to education program, based in Tharparkar.

In the media
Mustehsan is considered among the most popular celebrities in Pakistan. The release of the 2016 song "Afreen Afreen" established Mustehsan as one of the recognized singers of Pakistan. Mustehsan was known for her looks and singing. Mustehsan often features among the nation's most recognized people and is among the most followed Pakistani celebrities on social media. In 2017, BBC named her one of the BBC's 100 most influential women. The following year, Forbes featured her among its "30 Under 30" Asia list along with nine Pakistani individuals. That same year, Mustehsan was honored by the Stony Brook University–naming her among the "40 most successful graduates" for her civil service and activism.

In December 2016, Mustehsan became the goodwill ambassador of a cricket team, Islamabad United for the Pakistan Super League. She is also the brand ambassador for the soft drink Sprite and the hair color L'Oréal. In 2017, Mustehsan represented Pakistan at the L'Oréal Pro Business forum in Seville, Spain. Mustehsan performed at the fifth ceremony of the Hum Awards with Sajjad Ali, Asim Azhar and Ali Sethi in April 2017. The following year, she participated (with Christian Karembeu, Younis Khan and Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch) in the FIFA World tour, and traveled from Thailand to Lahore in a special chartered plane, for the unveiling of the FIFA World Cup Trophy in Pakistan.

Controversy over singing "Ko Ko Korina"
In August 2018, Coke Studio produced a remake of renowned playback singer Ahmed Rushdi's first South Asian pop song "Ko Ko Korina", originally picturised on Waheed Murad in the 1966 film Armaan, in the voices of Mustehsan and Ahad Raza Mir which raised nation-wide hue and cry since the classic was widely believed to be destroyed by both singers. Within a few days of the video being released on YouTube, it became the most-disliked video in the music show's 11-year history. Even the Minister for Human Rights in Pakistan, Shireen Mazari, termed the remake as "horrendous". Waheed Murad's son Adil Murad also apologized from Pakistani nation for allowing Coke Studio a remake of the song.

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Categories: Pakistani female singers,Punjabi-language singers,Stony Brook University alumni,Lahore Grammar School alumni,Pakistani expatriates in the United States,People from Quetta,BBC 100 Women,21st-century women singers

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