EXCLUSIVE TO THE MIDDLE EAST MAGAZINE ONLINE . . . JAAFAR talks to Michelle de Vries

Hi Jaafar,
Nice to meet you – You are currently living in Miami, but you are originally from Jordan. How was it growing up in Amman ? What music did you listen to ? When did you decide that you wanted to be a recording artist ?

Jaafar

I’ve always known that music is what I want to do with my life. I was born and raised in Amman, and I lived there until I graduated high school. I have the best memories of that time and whenever I’m away from Jordan, I miss it very much! I grew up listening to Arabic music of course, that was my first love. I was especially drawn to Rai and Jordanian folkloric music. I then discovered rock n roll and the rest is history really.

Jordan is such a beautiful country where would you recommend for a first time visitor ?

There’s really so much to see and so much to do. Go explore the ruins in Petra and Jerash. Spend a night under a most brilliant sky in the desert at Wadi Rum. Float in the waters of the Dead Sea… Most importantly though, EAT, EAT, EAT!

I was lucky enough to visit Jordan a few years ago and would love to go back ! Do you have any “off the beaten track” places I should go to next time I visit ?

Yes of course, I mean there are so many famous tourist spots around the country but you can have a great time in Jordan without even leaving the capital. Jabal Amman, which is near the old downtown is a very charming neighborhood, especially the streets that surround the first circle. I recommend checking out all the cool little spots there.

Why did you move to Miami? Did you have any problems adapting to US life ? What did your friends and relatives think about your decision to move to a different country?

I moved to Miami primarily to pursue my music career, but I was also attending university there. It’s really is a great city and I was able to learn, and grow a lot as an artist during my time there. I won’t lie and say I had an easy time adapting to life abroad though. It’s hard to be away from your family, friends and the country you call home. They get it though, and they’ve always been nothing but supportive.

-Jaafar_Sand-thumb

After your first single release you had considerable success in Jordan and played at the prestigious Jerash Festival, and recently you played at the historic Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles – what is the difference between playing in your home country and abroad ?
Every city is unique in terms of how the crowd interacts. Hometown shows are always more pressure than other shows to be honest, for obvious reasons. The places you mentioned are all stages I’ve dreamed of singing on and I’m just so grateful to be able play my music there for people who come out just to hear it. That’s always been my goal.

With regards to the process of writing songs which comes first the melody, the track or the lyrics?

Never the track, I don’t like writing that way. I find it very constricting and much prefer to start with a blank canvas. Every song is different, but for the most parts it’s usually a combination of melody and lyrics that come together for me.

You are already a huge star in Jordan, but have you been pleased with the International recognition of your new single. “Sixteen” and what is it about ?

Yes of course! I’m thrilled that Sixteen has been so well received. The song talks about a girl who is sixteen years old and growing up in a war stricken country. It’s so sad to think that any young girl or boy’s wish is simply making it through the day alive. that’s in essence what the song is about, and sadly that’s a reality for way to many people in todays world.

And don't forget to eat!
And when visiting Jordan, don’t forget to eat!

I have been told that some songs on your forthcoming album mention the current refugee crisis? Jordan has done far more for the Syrians and Palestinians than many other countries; Would you describe yourself as a ‘Political” artist and if so, what would you say to the West who many think have been slow to recognize the dire situation ?

No, I would definitely not describe myself as a ‘political’ anything! I never write from a political standpoint, truly it’s always from a humanitarian one. I’m not into pushing any political agenda; I just want to shed light on the humanitarian calamities around us. The songs on the album were written as a reaction to what’s going on in the world today. Syria is of course one of the biggest tragedies, but there are so many others… inside and outside the Middle East, so I’m not singling out just one situation.

You do a lot of charity work. Please tell us about some of the projects you are working on at the moment?
I love supporting many worthy causes and helping those in need. Currently with the new record coming out, I’ve been busy working on that, and I hope to continue my charitable efforts that are close to my heart. I’m interested in working with more organizations for children, and various humanitarian efforts.

And finally, you have been working on your debut album, which is rumored to be entitled “Folktales of Spring”- Is “Sixteen” indicative of what the rest of the album will sound like  and when will we get the chance to hear it ?

Yes, the album is titled ‘Folktales of Spring’ and it will be out early next year, God willing. ‘Sixteen’ is definitely indicative of what’s to come, especially in terms of fusing east and west musically. I feel that ‘Folktales’ is a cohesive body of work, but having said that, every song has its own personality. In terms of subject matter, it’s a commentary on this crazy world and my journey through it. I can’t wait for the everyone to hear this album!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *