Jaafar exploded onto the scene with his single titled ‘Sixteen’ which was inspired by the refugee crisis in the Middle East, he then went on to receive considerable exposure through publications such as People Magazine, The Huffington Post, The National (United Arab Emirates) shortly after appearing on the US Billboard Charts. Following these achievements the Jordanian artist released an additional two more singles, ‘Dalia’ and ‘Salma’, the latter being his first in Arabic, quickly gaining him nearly 2 million YouTube views. An upcoming album is in the works, featuring a Grammy Award-winning production team lead by acclaimed producers Jonathan Fuzessy and Iker Gastaminza, who collectively hold credits for their work with internationally renowned superstars such as Shakira, Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin.
Jaafar’s latest single, ‘Yara’ is an instant seasonal classic; Eastern inspired percussion, melodious pianos and deep basslines sit atop high-spirited energies and atmosphere as ambient guitar tones, warm flutes and vibrant drum patterns complete a fusion-soaked sound fit for non-stop listening fulfillment. Showcasing sincere, intimate lyrics, and a full fusion sound, Jaafar’s inspiring and polished vocal work proves he an artist not to be overlooked, and it’s completely plain to see why.
We caught up with the chart-topping singer-songwriter and producer on how he creates his songs and what inspires him. Tune in below.
Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What did inspire you to start?
I’ve always written my own music, and I usually have an idea of how I want the song to sound. So I started producing my own music by default, as a necessity. Most of the time though I co-produce, and it’s not because I’m not capable of doing it on my own. I enjoy the collaboration, I think it’s more fun than working alone and also more often than not it leads to better results.
The music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music? How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want?
Yes, for sure. There have been times where I felt like throwing in the towel. Thankfully I’ve had people around me who’ve encouraged me not to and reminded me why I started to do this in the first place. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.
How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately?
I usually start with melody… and I’m usually muttering some sort of lyric to that melody. I try always to stick to whatever words come to me while I’m creating the melody. It may sound weird, but I believe that those words I’m muttering initially are what the song needs to be about. I mostly write all my own lyrics. Sometimes it’s a collaborative effort… but lyrics especially I always write myself.
Where the inspiration comes from?
Anywhere really. My surroundings… it could be as simple as something someone says to me or something more tedious like wanting to explore new sounds. I’m interested in different types of world music. That’s always a big source of inspiration.
What’s your favorite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right now?
I can’t choose one! It changes every day, depending on my mood. In terms of other artists, when I’m in the midst of working on new music I don’t really like to listen to contemporary artists. I feel sometimes that may lead to me subconsciously conforming to what’s going on commercially or something. I listen to a lot of classic rock and old Arabic music such as Fayrouz and Umm Kalthoum.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be releasing my very first full-length album. I’m super excited about that, it’s been years in the making. That will be towards the start of summer. I can’t wait for people to hear it. We’ll be hitting the road after that to support the album. That’s what I’m most excited about… I love performing live and being on stage.