I’ve long considered my original “article” on the “One Pound Fish” guy one of the worst things I’ve ever written. While it is a technically delightful rant, I completely didn’t do my homework on the guy and his backstory. So instead of him being the “weirdo with a ‘Gangnam Style’ derivative” that I call him, he’s actually a nice guy who got famous off a novelty beyond his control, and now he is cashing in. Good for him, bad for me.
See, it’s my job to cover internet fads whether they are good or not. In this case, I am happy the guy is making a lot of money based on people erroneously speculating that he will have some sort of sustainable international career. As a matter of fact, Warner Brothers just signed him to a recording contract, and his song charted at #29 in the UK. But the more interest you people have in Shahaid Nazir, the more articles I end up writing about him and the bullsh*t promotional things he will do. I vastly prefer writing about high school girls selling their virginity.
As of this writing, Nazir’s song has more than 12 million views and it is only picking up momentum (at the time I initially wrote about it, it had 2 million views), so it will be interesting to see where this train is heading. I don’t quite think he will have the success of PSY, but clearly I’ve been wrong before (I initially called him Indian — he’s Pakistani). The backstory on him was that he was an immigrant from Pakistan working in a London fish market, when his manager told him he’d have to yell to get people’s attention. As he tells it, “On the spot, God put the idea in my mind, I started on the spot… ‘Come on Ladies, Come on Ladies, one pound fish.’” Needless to say, the song worked and customers were drawn to the stand.
One of the customers, a freelance web designer named Colin Miller filmed him and put the video on YouTube. Nazir didn’t even know about his success until a friend called him up and told him to research “One Pound Fish” on the video site. He was shocked to discover it had 50,000 views. A “fun-loving” (full disclosure: at the time I called it “utter sh*t”) music video followed, and the rest, as they say, is history. I still don’t care for the song, but good for the man. Hopefully he slides a little goodwill towards ol’ Colin Miller when those cheques come rolling in.
The story has a bit of a dark side though: The media attention paid to Nazir also brought the attention of the British Government — they realized he was working on an expired visa, and he has since been deported back to his native country (so maybe he also owes Colin Miller a kick in the nuts). His arrival back in Pakistan though drew hundreds of supporters and Nazir’s agent is unconcerned about the deportation. “His return to the UK is pending approval of a working visa. We fully expect him to return in the coming weeks.”
Interesting side note: His initial YouTube success is not due to hometown support. The website is banned in Pakistan because of that infamous anti-Muslim film that NMR covered extensively last year. Access to YouTube was briefly granted in Pakistan last week, but once officials there ascertained that the film was still up, the ban went back in place. So much for Nazir being able to monitor his analytics.