This interview is part of Ananke's spotlight edition Empowering Vision celebrating The Fred Hollows Foundation's 30 years of chamgemaking.
Let us begin by you telling us about yourself?
I am an Emirati Soul singer, who left the corporate world to strive and make a difference with positive music and conscious entrepreneurship. I would say my music is an embodiment of the UAE, where the old values meet the new and progressive – old school soul and neo- soul beats, with lyrics rooted in positivity, introspection, love and search for purpose.
With your immense body of work as a musician, what are some of the highlights of your stellar career?
I have to say I am extremely humbled in my journey into music! I’ve had the opportunity to perform at the Louvre, Expo 2020, La Mer and other high profile events. I have to say that being able to perform my music live in front of so many people is fulfilling and motivates me to do more.
Music with impact: indeed music is universal as it brings people together, it is about harmony and peace. Unity is something much needed in the world we live in. How in your opinion does music create that dialogue for people across different sections of society?
Music is more than just words and a beat, it’s about sharing a piece of yourself through song. Regardless if you know the language, a good song has a way of moving you. It’s important that we use this powerful tool to create pieces that reflect our values, beliefs and purpose.
You have been recently appointed The Fred Hollows Foundation’s ambassador. Tell us how this relationship began and why?
I was approached by Maha Oda, from the Fred Hollows Foundation, during Expo 2020 to meet and discuss a particular event, the event did not happened but discussion about my plans and theirs developed into perhaps working with them. Eventually that turned into discussions about possibly being an ambassador and now we are here! Maha has been guiding me ever since, educating me about their vision, impact and the great work they’ve been doing in various parts of the world.
Do tell us more about your plans at the Foundation in the future.
I am looking forward to raising awareness about the Fred Hollows Foundation and avoidable blindness over the coming year. I definitely want to be on ground and participate in some of their clinics and perhaps create some music!
What kind of impact have you witnessed as far as the Fred Hollows Foundation is concerned?
The results of a landmark study show the economic benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness in developing countries outweigh the costs by a factor of four to one. This means for every $1 invested in preventing someone from going blind, at least four times the financial benefit goes to the economy. This places eliminating avoidable blindness among the most effective interventions available, and can be likened to primary school education and building bridges in terms of broader economic value.
As an Emirati soul singer, how do you see music can add to The Foundation’s cause?
Music is the soundtracks of our lives, as an artist I try and create music that is conscious, uplifting and positive. I am hoping this will translate into shining a light on the Fred Hollows Foundation, the good work they do and how we can all make a difference.
Are there any new initiatives by you that we should be excited about (eg. new music)?
Quite a lot is happening over the next few months! I am releasing a new song on the 12th of October called ‘Leaving’ – a song that takes an introspective look at relationships and breakups. I am performing at the Chelthenham Festival over October, in Mexico in November and in the Bahrain Jazz fest on the 2nd Dec. Then I’m back performing at the Louvre on the 3rd December! Exciting times!
The Foundation is celebrating 30 years of impactful changemaking this year, any last words also focusing that?
A quote I live and create by is “Be ashamed to die until you have won a victory for man” – Horace Mann. I’m grateful that I can serve a purpose, to share a light and help where I can.
Images by Jalal Abuthina