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‘I’m a bit of an oddity’

Adam Zacharias / 26 February 2012

Singer-songwriter Tash reaches across the globe for his debut album

Sony middle east has unveiled London performer Tash as its latest signing.

The 24-year-old, born Sertac Nidai to Turkish-Cypriot parents, combines Arabic influences with Western pop sensibilities in his debut album The Deep End.

Tash visited Dubai recently on a four-day promotional tour, where he spoke with us about his influences and ambitions.

At what age did the Arabic influences to your music come through?

It captured me from a young age. I’m of a mixed background and I was brought up with different kinds of music. My family would bring home Arabic CDs from their travels. It’s quite similar to Turkish music and I just loved the language; I thought it was beautiful. I wanted to be able to sing in Arabic and use it in my music. A lot of my album has that Middle Eastern feel, although the lyrics are predominantly in English.

How good is your Arabic now?

As a kid, I’d always sing along but I wouldn’t know what they were saying. As I grew older, I got more familiar with the words and taught myself bits and bobs. I wouldn’t say I’m fluent at all, but I mastered the pronunciation and I know enough to deliver a track in Arabic. 

Were your teenage years enveloped by music or did you have other interests?

I was quite academic, I wouldn’t say I was that sporty though. I’d usually be in the music block, especially during subjects I didn’t like! But from the time I was at primary school, I had a burning desire to play the piano. I’d always be banging on things at home to make beats as well, and it just progressed. My main instruments now are the piano and (handheld drum) the darbuka.

Coming from London, how did you land a deal with Sony Middle East?

I was working for a music publisher in the background doing production work. They had the contacts for Sony, and once I reached the stage where I was comfortable being the face of my own music, I presented them with my stuff and they liked it.

What does your album’s title The Deep End signify?

A lot of the songs have quite a bit of depth to them lyrically, and also it’s a lyric from my song Hypnotised. I like to think of each track as having its own personality; there wasn’t one inspiration for the album, it’s more of a pick and mix.

Which modern artists would you like to collaborate with?

There are loads. If you go down my iPod, you’ve got Adele, Michael Buble, Bruno Mars, world music like Don Omar, Arabic guys like Amr Diab …I’d love to do something with Rihanna on the Western front though, that would be a dream. I just love her style. She’s just so unique and I love the way she delivers her tracks.

Where do you hope to see yourself in the next three years?

You know what? I don’t really look that far ahead. I’m just really enjoying what I have at the moment and trying to make the most of it. Anything could happen three years - or even three days – down the line!

What do your family think about your musical career?

They’re both really supportive. They’re so used to me making music, and from a young age they’ve heard my stuff, so for them it’s a bit surreal.

Are either of your parents musical?

Not at all. My dad’s a chef and my mum’s a teacher’s assistant. I’m probably a bit of an oddity! They have no kind of musical history, but they’ve always had a lot of different genres of music playing in the house.




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