Born on December 9, 1973, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is one of Pakistan’s most well-known musicians. While he became known through his Uncle’s qawwali music, he has built a strong career in the Pakistan film industry and as a playback singer in Bollywood. Although Rahat is well-versed in many different types of music, being a Qawwali singer is what is closest to his heart. The devotional music of the Muslim Sufis, Qawwali is the music that has inspired his family for generations. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan continues to tour and maintain the musical legacy left to him by his father, uncle, and grandfather.
A Family of Singers
Both Rahat’s father, Farukh Fateh Ali Khan, and his grandfather, Fateh Ali Khan, were notable qawwali artists in their own right. It was his uncle, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, however, that earned the most fame and notoriety. From the age of three, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan could be found singing with his father and famous uncle. Around the age of seven, his uncle Nusrat began his professional training. Rahat’s intense love of music gave him the desire to learn and from the beginning, was a willing student. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan continued to learn from his uncle, both on stage and in private, until his passing in 1997.
Growing Up with Sufi Devotional Music
As the leader of the Ali Khan family Qawwali group, Farukh introduced his son Rahat Fateh Ali Kahn to music at a very early age. This exposure to Qawwali music inspired him to follow in the footsteps of the other Ali Khan men. Farukh was an experienced musician, playing the harmonium and as a vocalist as well. Referred to as the “King of the Harmonium”, Farukh often accompanied his brother Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan when he went on tour. Nusrat eventually revealed that many of the Qawwali songs he performed were written by his brother Farukh. As Rahat grew older, it was apparent he gained the music skills of his uncle, as well as the songwriting ability of his father. Rahat, in turn, gave his uncle credit for being his most powerful influence. As he continued to move forward with his career, he always gave credit to his uncle and father for teaching him the things he needed to know to be a powerful Qawwali singer.
Touring at an early Age with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Many times, the young Rahat Fateh Ali Khan would accompany his father and uncle when they went on tour. It was during these trips that Nusrat began grooming his nephew to be a professional musician. He taught him the subtle nuances that would allow him to embrace the music he loved so much. From the time he started traveling with his father and uncle, Rahat’s passion for Qawwali music continued to grow until he began branching out on his own. The training he received from his uncle, gave Rahat the skills he needed to start playing professionally on his own as early as the age of 15. By touring with both his father and his uncle, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan began to learn the importance of a solid stage presence. As a Qawwali singer, he has been able to use the skills his family taught him to become a powerful performer both on stage and off.
Sudden fame and pressure after Nusrat’s death in 1997
In 1997, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan passed away, leaving Rahat to pick up where he had left off and lead the family party. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan continued to work with his father as they carried on the family’s musical legacy. In 2018, he was challenged by Nusrat’s daughter over the right to sing many of her father’s songs. As the chosen successor of the family party, Rahat maintained that he had the right to sing the songs, and permission was not needed. He continues to perform the Qawwali songs and carries on the traditions started by his father, uncle, and grandfather.
From Qawwali to Sufi Songs to Bollywood
While much of Rahat’s musical background was firmly secured in Qawwali music, his family exposed him to other types of music as well. He branched out on his own, learning many Sufi songs and exploring his musical talents. In 2003, Rafat Fateh Ali Khan began working at Bollywood as a playback singer. His versatility allowed him to transition from one type of music to another, making him one of the most sought-after musicians in the Middle East. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s musical abilities have allowed him to be able to transition from one type of music to another seamlessly and without hesitation. Much like his uncle, who was considered to be one of the best singers, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan continues to hone his skills and perfect his art.
Musical Achievements (Awards, Major Performances)
Over the years, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has achieved many musical milestones. In 2012, he performed at both the Manchester Arena and Wembley Stadium in the United Kingdom. Over 20,000 people were in attendance during those shows, earning him a record number of ticket sales. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has had the opportunity to work with many well-known musicians, including Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, as well as the Derek Trucks Band. In 2014, he was invited to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize concert. He was the first Pakistani musician to play at a Nobel Prize concert. Rahat has also made appearances on both the Coke Studio show and MTV’s Unplugged.
What is Rahat Fateh Ali Khan worth?
It is estimated that Rahat Fateh Ali Kahn is worth approximately $10 million.
Where does Rahat Fateh Ali Khan live?
Rahat Fateh Ali Kahn lives in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
What type of singer is Rahat Fateh Ali Khan?
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a well-known Qawwali singer who is following in the footsteps of his father, uncle, and grandfather. He performs Sufi music and also sings many patriotic songs as well.