Arooj Aftab became the first Pakistani artist to win a Grammy award at the 64th Grammy Awards held on Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Singer and composer Aftab was nominated in two categories, and won for Best Global Music Performance for her song Mohabbat. She beat Yo-Yo Ma, Wizkid and Burna Boy to take the coveted award home. She was also nominated for the Best New Artist category, but lost out to Olivia Rodrigo.
“Wow thank you so much. I feel like this category in and of itself has been so insane. Burna Boy, Wizkid, Femi Kuti, Angelique Kidjo — should this be called Best World Music Performance? I feel like it should be called ‘yacht party category'," she said on accepting her award.
“Thank you so much to everyone who helped me make this record,” she continued. “All my incredible collaborators, for following me and making this music I made about everything that broke me and put me back together. Thank you for listening to it and making it yours.
"I am so proud of this moment personally, but also for the industry itself," Aftab wrote on her Instagram account shortly after. "Tonight we celebrated music as a collective, unapologetically making what we want to make in all its genre-less limitless crossover glory. Thank you and congratulations.” she added.
The Grammy-nominated track, Mohabbat, was also included in former US president Barack Obama’s summer playlist in 2021, and belongs to Aftab’s third album, Vulture Prince.
Aftab, spent some time in Lahore, Pakistan and has been residing in the United States for the last 15 years. She is currently based out of Brooklyn, New York. Her music style is described as neo-Sufi, blending jazz, classic Sufi and Urdu lyrics, respectively. She released her first album independently in 2015 to critical acclaim.
Earlier this month, Aftab also became the first Pakistani artist to be featured on a billboard in Times Square, New York as part of a Spotify campaign.