Monday, November 26, 2018

Hip-Hop Artist OFFENDUM RELEASES Video for "FACES"

About a year ago, Syrian/American hip-hop artist Offendum released his EP entitled "EYE KNOW FACES"  . The delivery & the vibe for this EP was different to what we used to from Offendum & I loved that. I loved that he collaborated with Saudi Producer "Saud" . One of those songs is "FACES" & as he described it " The song is a lyrical reflection on perception / identity / othering, and ends with my reciting a poem by #KahlilGibran to that effect".

Watch the full video below

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Re-Volt Chats with Omani/American Singer/Songwriter EMAAN ZADJALI

Big Hass: Your Half Omani/Half American, incredible blend of cultures right there. How did you get into music and in what way does that blend is reflected in/affected your music?

Emaan Zadjali: I’ve been doing music for as long as I can remember. My parents told me that when I was about three years old, I watched The Wizard of Oz a lot. We had an old piano in the house and one day they heard me play the melody to Somewhere Over The Rainbow by ear. 

I was born in the US but for the majority of my life, I grew up in Oman. Naturally, I always heard Arabic music around me, and I feel that it has a big influence as to how I sing and play today. 

BH: As someone who pushed/supported the music scene in Saudi Arabia. I seen a lot of female artists "back away" from performing/posting online due to certain "Traditions" in the country that sadly didn't allow them to. I am not sure how the situation in Oman is, but in what way were you able to break that and get a following online especially on Instagram?

EZ: I didn’t really think much of it at the time, as far as tradition goes. My friend push me to make an Instagram account and post videos of me singing. At this point I wasn’t publicly performing yet, I was still getting used to people reacting to my videos. Trying to figure out if what I was doing was actually good or not. 
Two months later after making a Instagram account I’ve finally decided to perform live at Love At First Bite (a restaurant in Oman) for a charity event. Only a few people recognize me from my Instagram account, but after that night, everything changed. 
Their responses were all so positive and welcoming! I had girls come up to me saying “Thank you for doing this for us”. That really shocked me and stuck with me till this day. That’s probably the moment I knew I had to keep performing. I had to keep spreading the word, showing people that I’m not afraid to show my face or reveal my family name.

I’ve been doing very well ever since, and thankfully the reactions are still very positive and supportive. 

BH: Take me through the Music scene in Oman. How's it like? who do you enjoy listening to? Who are the communities/initiative supporting the local artists in Oman?

EZ: The music scene in Oman is definitely growing. Local talents have been using Open Mic events to show off their skills for the longest time. Just Jams for example, a successful local company that provide pop-up open mic nights for the public to showcase their talents! 
They also provide poetry nights as well for the talented poets out there! 
Alongside with that, we also have Independent Omani Artists with a variety of genres who have released music on all platforms such as myself and:
Adam Nabeel 
Ghazi Balucci

The variety of genres that these artists portray are on a wide spectrum. From RnB to Hip-Hop, to alternative rock to Folk/singer songwriter and many more. 

BH: Interested to know more about the plans you have for your Original music. With the calibre of voice you have, I predict big things! Tell me more about "Rolling Stone" - what is it about? + What is your song writing process? 

EZ: I’m still currently trying to find my style/sound. I’ve been exploring the contemporary R&B sound, as well as some new age funk. So far, my originals I’ve been working on are more on the Contemporary R&B side (Daniel Caesar/Frank Ocean inspired). However, on a side note, I’m also going to be featured on an upcoming Metal EP as well as a LoFi EP real soon (keep an eye out for them, you’re not going to want to miss it). So I guess you could say I’m very open to change and trying out new things!

Rolling Stone was a rendition of The Weeknd’s song “Rolling Stone”, I changed the lyrics to talk about the society I grew up around. This song has such a significant and personal meaning to me. It’s about how I never saw a substantial change in the way everyone viewed each other. Everyone’s too scared about revealing their family name and jeopardizing their reputation, yet they aren’t afraid to sit behind screens and critique the people who actually want to take that first step to being something/someone different and important. “Get on this Rolling Stone” meaning , ‘lets get a move on’ we gotta see a change in this society, people! 
If nobody’s gonna take the initiative, then at least support me and my dream to make this change in our community; “I just wanna hear you say, I got you."

BH: Tell me about "Cruise Control" for Ziad Gadou that deatured you & Ghazi Al Balucci - It was produced by you? You getting into production as well? Any inspirations when it comes to producers out there? 

EZ: Cruise Control was such an interesting project to produce and be featured on. The brains behind it all AKA Ziad, an amazingly talented poet from Egypt, had the idea of incorporating music and spoken word together in a song and consist of a powerful message. Immediately I was on board and put myself into the role of The Producer (with little to 0 knowledge on producing). I took this opportunity to challenge myself and break boundaries to create something amazing.

BH: What would you say is your biggest challenge so far?

EZ: My biggest challenge at the moment is coming up with a concept for an album I’m putting together. I would call myself a perfectionist when it comes to my music. I always want there to be a significant meaning to my songs and have a message that can be relatable to most people. I would hope my music would connect with people on a personal level.

BH:  Do Local artists in Oman get Radio Play? & is it as important as before?

EZ: This doesn’t happen enough. Local artists have been featured on Radio Talkshows before and have performed live on air, but not enough local artists have their music properly recorded or distributed online. It’s very valuable for artists to be able to have a platform like the radio to exhibit their music. We definitely need more stations to support their local artists in Oman!

BH: Would you say that because of your ability to sing in "Arabic" that you were able to tap more to the Omani community (Mass wise)? & will we see you perform in Arabic more?

EZ: Oh definitely! The video of me singing “Helwa Oman” is how a lot of Omanis found out about me. I never thought it was going to go viral the way it did. It was National Day and so I figured it was fit to sing something in Arabic for the occasion. I gained 1000 followers a day for 6 days straight. It was wild. 

However, I don’t see myself performing in Arabic at all times. I would like to incorporate the language into my music, but I don’t think I could strictly sing in Arabic. 

BH: What can we find in Emaan's MP3 player? What kinda of artists you listen to? Who inspires you? 

EZ: Whole lot of Frank Ocean. His writing style is inspiring, how he uses metaphorical lyrics and utilizes them so tastefully. You’d also find quite a lot of Drake, Jorja Smith, Kendrick Lamar, The (old) Weeknd, Sabrina Claudio, 6LACK, Billie Eilish, NAO, SiR. I could go on and on. 

I’d say my biggest inspiration is Daniel Caeser, HER and Frank Ocean. A lot of my new music I’m working on is very inspired by those three. 

BH:  I gotta ask you about the music scene in Arabia/Middle East/GCC , who do you follow? who do you like? 

EZ: I’m a huge fan of Adam Nabeel. He is one of the main reasons I started getting into producing! You also have other female artists like Shébani and Rose Gold that I look up to as well. Mvrs, Moh Flow, Majeed all have similar styles and I vibe with all of them! Their success and their passion for making music motivates me on a whole other level. They’re the ones that make me believe I can really make it in the GCC.

BH: Finally, What's your dream?
Finish college at Berklee, get that degree, and hopefully come back to Oman to help build the music scene! Being able to make a difference and still be doing something I love, that’s the dream.

EZ: Any lats words for Re-Volt Blog...
Go check me out on Instagram, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitter! @emaanzadjali

You can find my music on all platforms under EMAAN. Go and show some love!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

THE BEAT DXB Vol ii | Pix

9.11.2018 --- a date to be remembered in Dubai. I simply am out of words for the amount of support I received from the community. I started THE BEAT in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and I did NOT want it to end just because I relocated to Dubai for my son who was diagnosed with Autism couple of years ago. Below are few pictures from the night from Waleed Shah who blessed me with incredible photos:-

Photo by Waleed Shah

Performer 1 :
Saudi Singer/Songwriter Roya rocked the stage in her FIRST EVER out of Saudi performance. She was part of THE BEAT series back in Saudi and it was an honor to give her the platform. I was impressed with her maturity and presence on stage. Definitley looking forward to her original work. 

Roya (Photo by Waleed Shah)

In between sets, I have decided to keep the music going by having a live drummer and rappers take on the stage which proved to be a very entertaining segment. 

First Rapper, Dubai based Egyptian rapper TAC, A young beast for sure, loved his passion and predicting big things for this young soul.

TAC (Photo by Waleed Shah)

Performer 2:
Syrian Singer/Songwriter Ghaliaa Chaker who is breaking stereotypes and is someone with a golden voice and heart. Loved how free she was on stage as she was producing her own beats LIVE, getting the crowd entertained & playing Keys/Guitar & Derbake all in the same set.

Ghaliaa (Photo by Waleed Shah)

In a random moment, I saw P. Storm from The Recipe in the crowd and I called him up on stage to which he agreed, and had a really cool time. 

P. Storm - The Recipe (Photo by Waleed Shah)

Performer #3:
With a doubt, the most powerful performance in the evening, FAFA who is half Emirati/half Honduran rocked the stage and took the audience on a journey with her chilling and powerful voice. She even had the audience sitting down at one point... truly a highlight!

FAFA (Photo By Waleed Shah) 
FAFA (Photo By Waleed Shah)

Sharjah based Lebanese MC KAFV took the stage next where he was able to showcase his lyrical ability. I loved the metaphors he was using. Nice flow!

KAFV (Photo by Waleed Shah)
Performer 4:
Saudi rapper Molham who juggles business and music came through with a great set as he entertained the audience with Arabic & English lyrics. His flow is incredible and he's someone that knows how to rock a crowd.

Molham (Photo By Waleed Shah)
KC Hamada took the stage and I liked what I heard, I believe he has lots to offer and I can't wait to hear his new original material 

KC Hamada (Photo by Waleed Shah)

Performer 5: 
Iraqi Dubai based singer/songwriter, Shébani who is someone that has been working very hard. I admire her songwriting process and her ability to connect with the audience through sweet yet powerful lyrics. I loved that she brought a band and especially the drums, it added a great "VIBE" to her sound. 

Shébani (Photo by Waleed Shah)
Just before we close the night with our last performer, Moh Flow whom I've known for about 12/13 years came through & I had to put him on for the rap+drums segment, he rocked it as usual.

Moh Flow (Photo Waleed Shah)

Performer 6
Our finale for the evening was Sudanese based rapper 249TooDope. I have big respect for the Sudanese community in the UAE, they are very supportive of each other and that showed! TooDope performed to a sell out crowd that were singing/rapping along with him. Truly an entertainer!

249TooDope (Photo Waleed Shah)

Shout Out to Dj Sizer who was on the 1's & 2's and put the crowd in the mood & Colin the Drummer was made my vision a reality and did a great job!

Thank you to every person that rocked it that night! We sold out the printed tckts & reportedly had 300+ people in the venue. Mad love & respect & cant wait for THE BEAT DXB Vol iii 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Q&A with Syrian/American Artist Mona Haydar

Mona Haydar

Had a quick Q&A with Syrian/American Artist/Activist/rapper Mona Haydar who just released her EP entitled "Barbarican". In 2017, she release her song "Hijabi" which was named as one of the top protest songs according to Billboard. 

Big HasS: How did your bond with Hip-Hop surface in your life?
Mona Haydar: I was in Syria this one summer with my older sister and we were staying with our grandmother. It was back in the cd-player days and my sister had brought a few cds with her and one of them was Mos Def's Black on Both sides. I just remember being so shook by that album and feeling so connected to it and him through that music. In some ways, I even ended up doing my Masters graduate work as a result of that album too. 

BH: The conflict of being from both worlds: how do you balance the scale?
MH: I'm Barbarican. Not totally this and not totally that and yet I am whole and good because this is how God made me and where God put me. Just have to trust in the Divine plan and keep it moving. Barbarican is about balancing-- loving all the parts of myself and learning to heal the colonial wounds within me so that I can emerge fully realized in the path of my ancestors.

BH: Some argue that feminism is borderline unacceptable in Islam, what are your thoughts on that statement and how do you encourage women to break out from the shells and voice out their rights?
MH: Feminism is the sunnah. Muhammad, Alayhisalaam (PBUH), was a feminist. He abolished patriarchal practices and advocated for women's rights. Muslims love them some Jahiliyyah though. It's so sad. Women are the strongest creatures in the world. I admire and love women so much. We create humans inside of our bodies from nothing and then birth them into existence. God gave women the ability to physically witness creation. Women need to own their power as beings in society whether or not men are willing to recognize.

BH: Barbarican, starting from the title, we are already drawn into an explicit attack towards social norms. Do you think that its crucial nowadays to say things unapologetically and more bluntly - and skip diplomacy? 
MH: I believe in eloquence- beauty- elegance but I also believe in reality and truth telling. There is a balance that can be struck where you tell the truth in such a way that it doesn't break anything-- even when it is a difficult truth. I use humor in the EP- I use rhythm and rhyme- I use melodies and harmonies- I use fun hooks and catchy grooves to bring people in gently to some of the difficult truths I'm trying to share. 

BH: Who are women leaders who inspire you?
MH: I'm inspired by women and men alike. I'm inspired by amazing trees and bears and lions too. Do you often ask male rappers about which males they look up to? Just curious?
My answer is "Yes, I do." 

BH: In what way has motherhood strengthened your convictions and pursuit for a more just and human world? 
MH: Motherhood is cool and really hard. I love my kids and I want the best world possible for them and so I'm going to do everything in my power to try and make that better world a reality. 

BH:Tell us about the collaboration with Offendum ?
MH: I've known Omar a long time and really love his artistry. We've shared stages before and it's always good vibes. I hit him up and shared the hook I'd written to 'Miss Me.' He loved it and wanted to feature on the song. I was recording with my producers JB and Corron in LA and he came to the studio and laid down his verse. It was super fun. I hope we get to do a video. 

BH: Would you be interested to visit Dubai, UAE for a speaking/performance opportunity?
MH: Of course! I hope to be able to bring the music to a worldwide audience on a tour inshaAllah. In the process of figuring all that out right now. 

BH: Any last words for Re-Volt Readers

Friday, November 2, 2018

Dubai Based Nigerian Artist SANTI strikes again !!

& he strikes one more time ... Santi is definitley making big steps and his latest single "Rapid Fire" featuring Shane Eagle & Amaarae) just dropped.

Give it a listen by clicking the below picture!