In a story echoing the magic of Justin Bieber’s YouTube start nine years ago, a clip of two sisters in Pakistan singing his 2010 signature hit “Baby” with their mother playing beats on a pot recently went viral, thrusting the pair into the hot glare of fame.
Now, all 15-year-old Saania and 13-year-old Muqqadas Tabaydar want to do is meet the 21-year-old superstar.
“Our biggest wish, though, is to meet Justin Bieber and to sing with him,” the girls told BBC News in an interview.
Will that happen? It might. Known as “Justin Bibis” in Pakistan, the sisters’ story has been shared by thousands around the world.
— (@iam_DanishKhan) February 20, 2015
Facebook user Umar Hayat shared a video of the two girls singing Bieber’s “Baby” in the streets of Pakistan on February 17.
BuzzFeed reported the clip had racked up 1.5 million views and 68,000 Facebook shares by February 20.
Meanwhile, local newspapers were all over the story. The Express Tribune wrote that the sisters’ version “owned” Bieber’s. The girls were also contacted by local television outlets and invited to perform live.
— Dawn.com (@dawn_com) February 18, 2015
Feedback on the Tabaydar’s video noted the girls’s creative changes to the original vocal arrangement on “Baby.” Their cover adds background vocals and desi melodies, and led to social media comments proclaiming “Pakistan’s Got Talent!”
BBC News reports that Saania and Muqqadas left formal education after primary school because they were too poor, which makes their interpretation of “Baby” more impressive. Despite their limited English, they learnt the song phonetically and transcribed the sounds into their native Urdu.
“When I heard the song I forgot to eat or drink,” Muqqadas recalled, adding that the sisters listened to the song around 70 times and coached each other on the lyrics and melody. “I was just listening. I kept practising and practising until I learned it by heart.”
“We’ve been singing since we were very young — many members of our family sing too. We know all sorts of Pakistani and Bollywood songs,” Saania reveals.
She explains, “But we especially love Justin Bieber songs because they touch our hearts,” adding, “When we heard ‘Baby’ we started dancing and jumping around and we just lost ourselves to it.”
Of their new profile and popularity — which draw neighbors who reportedly flock outside the Tabaydar house near Lahore to hear the girls sing — Saania says the following.
“This song has been really lucky for us because we’ve now become famous. We really didn’t expect all of this to happen to us, to be famous like this. Because of this video we got on a plane for the first time and we’ve been on TV. That’s always been our dream.”
“We had our hair and make-up done. We’d never been to a beauty parlour before. All of it was like magic so who knows what will happen next,” she continued.
Although girls singing in public in Pakistan isn’t traditional, it’s reported there has not been any criticism.
“My daughters do something not many others girls can do. They sing English songs which are very hard for them, but they manage it,” their father told the BBC, while adding that he is proud of them.
The sisters’ mother, Shahnaz Tabaydar, admits she is also a big fan of the Biebs.
“I still can’t believe all of this happened to my daughters, all thanks to Justin Bieber. I like him a lot. I feel he’s like my son.” But she adds, “I wish that my girls could one day become professional singers in Pakistan and India. I hope they get the support they need.”
Here’s hoping the sisters get their wish and meet Bieber.
[Images via BBC News]