by Sherif Awad
-Being the second child of a small-town family with no background in the arts and music, you wouldn't expect me to be involved in music in any way. That being said, my mother's insight when she found out that I loved listening, dancing and singing was the base of my introduction to play music. She got me a piano when I was about seven years-old and that's when I started learning how to play my first ever instrument. It was more exciting than I ever thought it would be, and made me love music and get involved with the arts even more, with changes in instruments, genres and my general evolving through music.
-Well, growing up in the years that MTV flourished, the pop idols of the time were the first ones to make me try my best to be even better; Michael Jackson, Toto, Phil Collins, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Prince and so many more were my favorites at the time. The Doors was a band that I really loved and "studied" a lot in my early music years and Morison's lyrics and poetry was the starting point of my love for songwriting. Then came the pure sense of rock that was named Led Zeppelin and the intricate genius minds of Pink Floyd that blew my mind away...
-The truth is that I never studied music in the conventional way any more than the five years of piano lessons I took. I would improvise, learn to play new instruments and ended up loving the guitar, which was the instrument I started my songwriting experience with. Since then, I've been writing my own songs.
-The road so far has been bumpy, but all the while very satisfying... I've met great musicians, I've made the best of friendships through music and my life has been better since music came to be such a big part of it. Worldwide stardom is the hidden inner-most desire of every artist, mainly because we want to inspire and connect to as many people as we can. Moreover, sharing my music is the quintessence of life as I know it for years now.
-Music is the most challenging profession there is... So, of course there are a lot challenges in making, recording and distributing music, and they mainly originate in the lack of funds (especially in the recording part of the challenges). Living and working in Greece, a folk and pop music loving country, rock artists do not get the chances to meet their potential. That doesn't mean that we'll ever stop creating and playing the music we love and expressing ourselves.
-There are a lot of great new artists emerging every day in Greece, and most of them are struggling without the backing of a major label and fund themselves. The current state of the industry does not support "new blood", but nonetheless, we live in a time when the internet gives us the way to reach much more people than the boundaries of our countries. Hopefully, times will change, and all new music will be supported again by major labels, as it did in the past.
-Every work that was ever offered to me was a special gift that I cherish up until now. Someone giving you a song is a very personal process. So, at times I have found myself just immersing myself into it and creating something beautiful with the help of someone else's original creativity, passion and a small part of their soul, that is delivered through their work and at other times, I find myself wondering if I am good enough for the work itself or if I can give it appropriate justice; those last times, are the ones that spawn even more creativity and the end result always is much better than anticipated once it's "filtered" through my own experiences, quirks and ultimately a little bit of my psyche is imprinted on the song.
-For now, we are at the peak of music distribution in my opinion, and that's not at all bad; the listeners get to stream the music they like anytime, anyplace and the creators receive their royalties according to each agreement of every platform, YouTube, Spotify etc. Even though there still is a lot of downloaded music, I feel that this is changing too; people are moving towards storing everything on the cloud and the listener expects it to be so; music accessible anywhere, inter-connected and always available... I'm guessing that the physical media will always have a big part to play in the life of an artist, but most of our works will continue living online rather than on vinyl, disk, flash drive or any other physical media one could think (or create).
-Ha ha! That's a good one about professional and private life... Well, having in mind that the one is unequivocally woven with the other in so many ways, I don't think there is something I do to bring equilibrium to them; they have a way of complementing and completing each other so efficiently, that -at times- I find myself feeling there is nothing that separates the two in any way possible. They are two lives merged into one...
-After my debut album release in 2014 (title: "Elefthera" meaning Freely in Greek, the freedom that we offer to the ones we love), I started writing new songs and bringing them to life very slowly but in a steady pace; I'm currently making my way to recording most of them in the studio and thinking along the way the how, where and why I'm doing it, so that the end listener will connect with them in ways that never occurred to him/her. Alongside the music, a new love emerged in my life, in the form of theater. Through a dear, long-time friend of mine and great creator/writer/director that was trying -as long as I can remember- to get me to act in front of a live audience, I started "studying" and thinking like an actor. We had the chance to test out our first endeavor right before the quarantine of 2020 with a collection of ancient and modern monologues and dialogues with a political and social stance, and as it seems, it had quite the success. Theater from now on, has a special place in my heart along with my lifelong love for music.