Have you seen Gangnam Style on YouTube? It was a huge sensation and, according to my daughter, it was originally made as a spoof to poke fun at Americans. Whatever. I still think it’s funny.
Then I find out the story behind the song and it’s really touching. I wanted to share it with you.
Muhammad Shahaid Nazir from Pakistan worked as a fishmonger in an East London Market. According to the interview I heard with him on NPR (yes, that’s National Public Radio), he had been told my his employers that he had to yell louder than the other fishmongers in order to sell. Shahaid did not want to yell, but he new he needed to see fish, so he came up with a song to sing. And “One Pound Fish” was born.
Customers found Shahaid delightful/refreshing/funny/unusual so some people taped him and posted on YouTube. Within a week, the video had gone viral and there were over 50,000 hits.
Fast forward a year and a ‘failed’ audition for The X Factor, Shahaid now has a record deal with Warner Music, Timbaland has made a cover of the song, and One Pound Fish is available for sale in the UK on iTunes. His UK visa has also expired and he had to return to Pakistan on December 27th, 2012.
And now the human story begins. According to the media, Muhammad Shahaid Nazir is a hero in his hometown of Pattoki, about two hours away from Lahore. The BBC has shown videos of kids running through the streets singing the song, hundreds of people met him at the airport upon his return from the UK, and there were banners strung up in his honor by the town.
He’s coming home to his wife and four children, and to his mother (who has also been taped singing One Pound Fish). An amazing part of this story is that YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan for months so Shahaid has become a local hero in large part by word of mouth and by a community remembering their own.
LOVE FACTORS: Love and support that only a community and family can provide. Can you imagine being this man’s mother? or son? The absolute pride of believing that he has ‘made it’ in the world, gaining recognition from over 11,000,000 hits on YouTube and by hundreds of television and radio appearances.
Here’s the original video on Youtube: Original 1 Pound Fish Man
And here’s the snazzy Warner video that features some Bollywood moves: Official Video
And here’s the Gangnam Style video: