KARACHI: Backstage Zoe Viccaji pulls a face at her reflection as her stylist gives the loose side ponytail a tentative pat.“Okay, just don’t touch it,” the stylist advises.
“Don’t touch my hair for two hours?” Zoe is incredulous.
She is also late — nearly an hour late. The crowd was receptive to a warm-up comedy sketch by Adeel Khalid of CityFM’s breakfast show, but now they are chanting, “Zo-eee, Zo-eee!”
The chanting climbs a pitch as Viccaji takes the stage. There is standing room only for the audience which consists of over 300 bodies packed into the Pakistan American Cultural Centre. And the crowd is politely (because it’s that kind of crowd) ravenous for a piece of her. Viccaji smiles, adjusts the microphone and says, “Wow…wouldn’t it be really embarrassing if I started crying right now?” The cheering just gets louder.
“This is great. I don’t even have to sing!” she quips, giggling with a sudden surge of confidence. Then she introduces Lenny Massey, the highly proficient piano player for Aunty Disco Project, and opens with the first song she ever wrote — a 16-year-old’s break-up anthem, heavily influenced by Sarah McLachlan. A gutsy move, but Viccaji manages to pull it off — perhaps because she really is, or at least can be, that earnest.