Music runs in his family; he was born to be a musician. It’s in his blood, heart and soul. His talent started blooming at the early age of two, and from that moment forward, he started unleashing his talent. He’s a prolific collaborator, founder of “Eka3”, the pioneering independent music organization, co-founder of “Alif” band, and the list goes on and on. He is Tamer Abu Ghazaleh.
Identity sat down with him for a little chitchat to learn more about his remarkable journey.
1. You’ve been composing music since the age of five and your first album was released when you were 15; tell us more about these outstanding facts.
It all started out when my mother founded her choir crew, “Abad El Shams”, right after she gave birth to me. She used to bring me along in rehearsals while I was still a baby; I grew up surrounded by musicians. I fell in love with singing; I used to admire the talented musicians playing the different musical instruments and composing music. A childish curiosity sparked off my passion to music.
Later on, this huge passion drove me to compose plenty of songs. My family started encouraging me to record them and I did so for a few years. I had made plenty of songs so we decided to collect them into an album. For this reason, you will notice that my voice will change throughout the album. I grew up with each song.
2. As a musician, where do you draw your inspiration?
I draw inspiration from anything and everything around me, whether it’s on a macro level, from the events taking place in the country and around the world, or on a more personal level, meaning your relationships with the people in your life. All these events affect me in a different way, and trigger an idea which I then start working on it.
3. You’re a Palestinian artist; does the situation in your country impact your music?
Absolutely. The choir that I mentioned earlier used to introduce revolutionary songs about the Palestinian cause in the eighties. That was the definition of singing for me when I was a kid. When I traveled back to Palestine, I started to see the whole cause in a different way. When you observe something from a distance, it’s not the same as when you take a closer look from the heart of the matter. At that point, I started feeling that I’m not singing for the cause, but rather for the common people who are living this reality everyday of their lives. I just couldn’t perceive my singing as patriotic anymore; the human aspect took over.
4. You’re on the brink of releasing your new album (May 29th); how does that feel and what should we expect from this album?
I can’t wait for the album to be released. I’m so content that I’m finally done with this project owning to the fact that I’ve been working on it for the past 8 years. I was occupied with loads of other things related to my music organization “Eka3” so it took me so long to get done with this album. Additionally, I’m so relieved that I’ve turned another page in my life and will start a new stage in my work with a cleared mind.
The album is a bit unusual: the sound, the composition and the performance. It’s tricky to tell you what you can expect from it, because I honestly don’t know. I will just wait for the audience’s reaction while crossing my fingers.
5. Do prefer singing on stage or on record?
It all depends on the song. Some songs shine and come to life through the energy of the crowd; other songs will lose their taste if you shared them with others. They just need you to put on your headphones and isolate yourself from the world.
6. What’s your next project?
My next project is called “Lekhfa”; it’s a trio project with Mariam Saleh and Maurice Louca. We started recording it, and hopefully it will be released by the end of the year as planned.
7. Your music organisation Eka3 provides services that hardly existed in the region. That’s really impressive but it also sounds challenging, tell us more about it.
The music industry has more than 30 components, but for some odd reasons the only one that is available in the Arab world is the production one. The other components are either rare or missing. That’s what “Eka3” is there for; we’re planning to be catalysts and complete the music cycle.
When we started our production organisation, we faced two obstacles. First off was failing to find any organization to complement our work, secondly that there is no role model which we can take a leaf out of their book and use as a guide.
“Eka3” is an incubator for music businesses that seek to fill the gaps in the music industry. Our main goal is for the Arab world to have many companies and organisations each specialized in a particular department. Further, when someone generates a new idea in music, they will find the right people to guide them.
8. Do you have any idea/expectation where you will go from here? Will you be experimenting with a new sound?
Since “Eka3” is occupying the larger part in my life, I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to devote myself downright to my music in order to work better and faster.
I get bored easily, and I like to have a taste of diverse types of music, so yes I will experiment with new sounds. I’m already doing so in my new project with Mariam & Maurice, as well as my next individual project.
Don’t miss Abu Ghazaleh’s concert on Sunday May 29th, at AUC Falaki Theatre.