Photos courtesy of Saad Chishty
By Sheila Pursglove
Saad Chishty has two major passions in life — law and music. And both have led him to rub shoulders with political bigwigs and celebrities.
Over the winter break the WMU-Cooley Law School 2L student recorded with session musicians from Gladys Knight and Herbie Hancock’s Tower of Power, at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios, once home to the Beatles.
“It was amazing, to say the least,” he says. “I’m very fortunate to have tracked some vocals and guitar riffs in the same recording facility as the greatest of the greats—it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Chishty also has worked with Sterling Sound, Universal Music Studios, Westlake Recording Studios, Kaboom Studios, Hinge Studios, as well as Conway Recording Studios and Sphere Studios, both in Los Angeles.
“I’m currently working with a team of Grammy award-winning mixing engineers who truly take recording, mixing, and vocal post-production to a whole new level,” he says. “My sound engineer’s production and mixing credits include JT, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Britney Spears, Flo Rida, Lil Wayne, and Justin Bieber.”
Currently signed to KaBOOM! Records, an indie record label with distribution through Universal Music and Beatport, Chishty also has a publication deal for select song titles with Island Def Jam.
Chishty, who received classic training from boyhood in various instruments including violin, cello, synthesizers and piano, comes from a talented musical gene pool.
“Everybody is musically inclined in our family, from my father to my siblings,” he says. “We all play a variety of instruments and sing. We’re all different in our writing styles. Music is an outlet to express myself.”
In 1992-93, he appeared on the TV show “Star Search,” with a dance-choreography and vocal performance act. “It was a privilege to be chosen for the regional semi-finals by the judges and the legendary Ed McMahon,” he says.
On the political side, Chishty is very involved with Michigan’s Democratic caucus and the state legislature, and took part in political canvassing during the November general election, when he was involved in phone banking, registering voters and canvassing neighborhoods to gauge the turnout. He watched the second presidential debate with New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and his wife. “They’ve become excellent mentors and acquaintances,” he says. “They are fantastic public figures.”
He also spent time with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. “We’ve shared conversations on a few occasions,” Chishty says. “She’s a woman of profound substance and accomplishment.”
Last July, Chishty and other local community leaders were invited to attend the funeral of boxing great and civil rights activist Muhammed Ali in Louisville, Ky., where he had the opportunity to meet and interact with keynote speakers and dignitaries including Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“It was truly a humbling and once-in-a-lifetime experience where I got to interact with some influential figures,” he says.
With a current goal of interning for the Civil Rights Commission — or for a major record label — Chishty is pleased with his choice of Cooley Law School.
“I like everything — from the faculty to the student body,” he says. “It’s very student-centered — that’s what I love most!”
A Dallas native whose parents still live in the Lone Star State, Chishty makes his home in Detroit, where he is active in the interfaith community and enjoys writing poetry, discussing politics, “wanderlusting” and partaking in thrill-seeking sports. He is as yet unsure of his final legal focus.
“I’m split between entertainment law and my inner desire to serve the public with my extensive teaching experience, music publishing, volunteering with the NGOs in Africa, Middle East and South Asia, song cataloging and writing recording contracts for indie artists,” he says. “We shall see!”