Kids who grew up on the Kazakh pop music scene of the 2010s may still remember Son Pascal. The Italian singer, who sang his own originally produced songs in Kazakh, was a strange anomaly in a time before Ninety One and the rise of Q-pop, when singing in Kazakh was still not ‘cool’.
His affinity for the local language and culture led him to live and work in Kazakhstan before he eventually met his future wife, Aisana.
Aisana recently shared the details of her love story with the iconic singer and how their ten-year journey ended in a wedding in Italy.
Read the full interview with QazMonitor below.
“People assume I’m a fan who ‘made it’ and married her idol, but that’s not true”
Aisana became familiar with Son Pascal after watching his music video for the song “I’m an Englishman in Shymkent” featuring Anuar Nurpeisov, which was a cover of a popular song by English musician Sting.
How did you and Pascal meet?
Recently, I posted a reel with a photo from 2012 when I was his fan and one of us when we got engaged. People began assuming that I’m a fan who “made it” and married her idol. (laughs) But I wasn’t! I was a fan in the distant 2012, but not after that.
The first time we met, it was at the wedding of my distant relatives where he was invited to perform. I was too shy to ask him for a photo since I didn’t want to intrude. I was terrified, but my sister pushed me towards him so I had to ask. I came out horrible in the photo if I’m being honest. (laughs) But I couldn't bring myself to ask for a retake.
The second time we met, we were officially introduced to each other. It was 2017 in Almaty. We were at this cool place everyone went to. Someone famous was performing there that evening so all the seats were taken. Pascal invited me and my friend to his table and after that we became fast friends.
I actually don’t understand why that happened. After we started dating, I asked him about it and he said he always found me interesting. He liked the ‘ambiance’ around me and said I was positive and fascinating.
“It was the first and last romantic moment in our relationship”
Though we do get a happy end, the relationship needed some time to get off the ground. The two had to navigate through a lot: a period of silence, bonding during a spontaneous trip, and disgruntled relatives.
When did you realize the relationship could be something more?
It was in 2019, after half a year of silence. I had just ended a long and serious relationship. To my surprise, Pascal re-followed me on Instagram, so we started talking again and decided to meet up. He used to fly on a paraglider around Ushkonyr mountain while I was living at my mom’s place nearby. We started seeing each other often after he invited me to fly with him.
I realized that we could be something more when I had to attend a medical screening. He was there with me, waiting in line and fasting together with me. At some point, he rescheduled his meetings since I wasn’t done. I saw him in a new light, as someone who was thoughtful and kind.
How did he ask you to be his girlfriend?
Sometime after we reconnected, I was telling him about how my friends take too long to decide on where to go, and, in the middle of the conversation, he goes: “Let’s go to Tashkent”.
During our road trip, we started talking about relationships and our thoughts on the possibility of us dating. At first, he said maybe it's the romance of travel, so we should return home first and see where it goes from there. I was like: “Yeah, okay”.
Two hours later, he asked whether he should formally ask me to date him or not. (laughs)
The day after that we went to Samarkand. We were shopping for some rings as souvenirs and the place we were at sold fake wedding rings. Pascal playfully asked me to be his girlfriend and the shop owners started shouting “On your knee! On your knee!” So, he got down on one knee and asked: “Will you be my girlfriend?” It was the first and last romantic moment in our relationship. (laughs)
How did your family and friends react to the news?
My friends were shocked because we didn’t tell anyone about our trip. After a couple of weeks, I told my grandmother. She reacted negatively. She asked: “Couldn’t he find an Italian girl?” (laughs) My aunts were more positive and expressed interest since they knew who he was.
My grandfather was upset. He didn’t understand what was happening. He started taking interest only after we got married. He kept asking “Who is he? Tajik? Uzbek? Uyghur?” (laughs)
“He used a hundred-year-old emerald from his family heirloom for my wedding ring”
2019 was a momentous year for Aisana. She quit her office job and embarked on a lifelong adventure with her best friend.
How did your relationship develop?
After the trip to Tashkent, Pascal wanted to go to Italy. In two months, I got acquainted with all his family and spend two weeks studying Italian with his mother.
Shortly after we got home, he broke his arm and dislocated his shoulder from flying a powered paraglider. I took care of him since he couldn’t move, get up or sit down by himself. He had to leave for Italy to see what could be done for his condition.
The morning he returned, he proposed to me. He said he and his friends had initially planned a romantic date on a roof with singing. But the plan had some delays and he, for some reason, didn’t want to wait.
He gave me an unusual ring. While he was in Italy, he had seen his mother’s hundred-year-old emerald earrings and asked her if he could use one of the emeralds for the wedding ring, since I was becoming a part of the family. His mother said if we decide to break up, he should return the stone to her. (laughs) But I still have it! We got married the next year, in the summer of 2020, in Italy.
You had your wedding there, too.
That’s right. But we had to go through so much in a short span of time. During Covid, we were stuck in Morocco. We stayed in a hotel, in a single room that served as a kitchen, a workspace, and a bedroom.
Oh, and we got stuck in quarantine because of me. He could’ve flown to Italy, but I couldn’t. He stayed with me and worked to ensure I could enter Italy, and he somehow managed to get us there. How could you not rely on him after that?
“I challenged the naming traditions of Southern Italy”
After starting a new life in Dubai, the couple was blessed with an addition to their family, their daughter Luna.
When did you decide to have a child?
Two months before moving to Dubai. I really wanted it. Don’t know why. (laughs) Maybe I had been influenced by friends. Whenever I babysat my friend’s kid, she always said I looked great with kids.
I got pregnant after we moved to the city. I discovered it when I realized I became really emotional. I was constantly starting conflicts; I had zero patience. After that I decided to test to see if I was pregnant.
If I’m being honest, I don’t remember exactly why or who named her Luna. Pascal's grandmother’s dog is named Luna. (laughs) In my head, I challenged the naming traditions of Southern Italy. There, you have to name your child in honor of your husband’s father. I contemplated it for a long time.
Why should a woman go through all the hardships and pains of pregnancy, sacrifice her health, sometimes life, and everything she had before, and care for the baby, just to have her child named after the husband’s father?
That’s why, instead, I thought since I had the word ‘moon’ in my name and Pascal and I both like the name Luna (which also means moon), we would name our child Luna.
Did you feel that you and Pascal are different now as parents?
We changed a lot. Before, we were two individuals who cared for their own interests. We shifted our priorities after I got pregnant. The baby is the main priority, and it’s important that we provide her with everything she needs. We became closer; now, we are like a team with a single mission.