We have to keep dreaming: Lebanon's Bashaar Al Jawad
Arabic The Voice star in a hopeful mood with electronic dance tune Ti Ra Ra after year of torment in home nation
It was a fateful August 4 2020 when we last spoke to star of MBC’s The Voice, Bashaar Al Jawad. The artist was riding high with his recently released single, Saabe Al Rajaa, before disaster struck in his hometown, Beirut. Shortly after the now infamous port explosion, which rocked the Lebanese capital to its core, Al Jawad spoke to us saying: “Beirut...you made me cry! Whatever I say; whatever anyone says at this moment could not even begin to express the devastation we are feeling. My Beirut has been burnt to ashes. My heart is broken. My Beirut, my Lebanon I love you!” Powerful words from an artist known for his impassioned performances. Now, almost a year on, we caught up with Al Jawad in a more positive frame of mind. Teaming with DJ Always April, the two have released the uplifting Ti Ra Ra, an electronic dance hit with the aim of spreading hope, positivity and optimism. Available on all platforms in the UAE now, here’s what Al Jawad had to say.
We last heard from you after the devastating Beirut blast, how has life been in Lebanon since?
I don’t think anyone in Lebanon will ever forget. That is why Ti Ra Ra has come at the right time: we all needed a reminder that things WILL be better. We have to keep dreaming! My Lebanon is a beautiful country and anyone who visits it falls madly in love with it! But Lebanese people don’t deserve anything they are going through. We deserve to be happy and live in peace: better days are coming!
What can you tell us about Ti Ra Ra?
I am in love with it! It’s motivational, it’s fun, it’s uplifting and it’s exactly what we all need at the moment! I wanted to use my voice and my platform at this point in my life to just reach as many people as I can in a positive way. It was done in partnership with Universal Music MENA which is something I really enjoyed.
How does it feel to have such a positive response already?
I am seriously blown away with the amazing feedback. We worked so hard on this project and with so much passion but this is beyond anything any one of us expected. Eight million organic views in only one month and trending in many countries all around the world, I’m getting videos of people dancing the dance or singing along with me. Even people who don’t understand Arabic are enjoying it. I guess that’s what’s cool about music. You just feel it!
How does the song make you feel when you listen to it? Is this the musical direction you enjoy?
I personally needed the message of this song myself because we have all been through so much in the past year. I am not here to say that Ti Ra Ra will solve all our problems but I guarantee it will make you smile! People are saying things like, “We listen to it on our way to work to kick off the day with positivity” or “This song is so positive and it’s what we needed,” and I honestly feel exactly the same myself. If this was not a musical direction I enjoyed, I would never have sung it. I firmly believe in only singing things that resemble me and my identity as an artist.
Do you think there is enough positivity in Middle Eastern music?
We are an artistically rich culture, very diverse in our musical genres. And trust me, we sure know how to put on a fun party and dance to our music. But the problem is that, recently, when a certain genre becomes a hit in the market a lot of artists forget their identity and start doing music that “sells”; and recently the trend has become “sad” songs.
What advice do you have for people looking to get into the music industry today?
It’s probably too early for me to be giving advice on success but I can say that I am someone working extremely hard and my mindset is fully focused on reaching my goal. But what’s even more important is that I am having fun. I am enjoying every single moment: the good and the bad. Furthermore, I am surrounded by people who believe in me, have the same vision as me and who want to enjoy the journey with me. It is an extremely difficult journey and it seriously is “survival of the fittest” and so I walk away from anything negative and keep my eyes on the prize. Maybe that can be considered advice to anyone in any field of work.
How do you think your sound and musical tastes have evolved since you began in the industry? Who are your inspirations?
I am no longer the boy who just wants to sing and become famous no matter what. I have matured and am now creating my own identity. This might sound a bit cliché, but I seriously listen to all genres of music. Not necessarily because I am a fan, but because I believe this broadens my horizons and fusion in music. I listen to songs even if I don’t understand the language and have even learnt to sing some Indian and Turkish songs. I also sing in English. Recently I was listening to Charlie Puth quite a lot and singing his songs. In the Arabic music scene, I am currently hooked on the Lebanese legend Melhem Barakat. But I refuse to become a copy. I want to be Bashaar Al Jawad.
How do you describe your brand of music to those who haven’t heard it?
I love to see people happy. I love to see people dancing. I personally leave the stage at all my concerts and join the audience dancing. I think that is very much reflected in my music. Nevertheless, I do sing classical and slow songs.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? What are you most looking forward to?
While everyone has been enjoying Ti Ra Ra, I haven’t been sitting back and dwelling on the success. I have been preparing for what’s coming next. There are so many projects lined up and all I can say is that I am seriously not sleeping at night because of my excitement. All I can say is that this is just the beginning.
Are you looking forward to coming back to the UAE?
I love visiting the UAE, and I am very much looking forward to my next visit. You know what’s beautiful about the UAE? It is led by visionary people. A country of opportunities where people are encouraged to dream and achieve! The UAE has reached Mars, so I wouldn’t be surprised with what’s coming next.
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