One on One with Musician Mr.Fari
Mr.Fari is a Kuwaiti Puerto Rican that grew up listening to reggae. His early projects are better described as experiments into Pop, Electronic, Folk and Roots music. In the last year, Mr.Fari was selected as one of the winners of the Axe’s “Bring in the Quite” competition in Dubai, and came in second place in Gap’s Recording Room competition of the Middle East. Mr.Fari was also selected by the Kuwait Government as a representative of Modern Music and Cultural Exchange, on a government-sponsored tour of Chile, where he was to perform his songs, and give talks to University students about the cultural heritage of music in Kuwait and the shaping of its society.
He currently runs an Events Booking company where he also works on Content Development for YouTube, producing shows on the music scene of Kuwait, as well as music in foreign countries.
- When did you first start singing?
At the end of high school I was introduced into playing guitar by professor Lamport and he taught me how to play a little bit of Spanish guitar and then I had another professor that was teaching me poetry and they were separate they didn’t know about this. At that time I said maybe it’s not a bad idea to sing my poetry over guitar and be funny about it and that’s how it kind of started. Then a friend invited me over to kind of write lyrics and to do like a weird hip-hop song on a regular cassette player with a hip-hop track and a microphone. We made our first song and it was awkward, but it was a high school thing and we thought we were cool to have a cassette of a cool song. So that was my first ride into music.
- What did your family do to encourage you?
When I first showed them that track, they weren’t to pleased because it was just like an awkward hobby and I think that at that time now that I look back on it they were hesitant about it. So I studied business first they made me go to business school first, and then they helped me study in a music school in Los Angeles. So they encouraged me after I proved to them that I can be successful in other things and then go into music with a business perspective so I had a lot of tools.
- Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspirations musically are Paul Simon, Bob Marley and Kanye West. Those three musically are really interesting to me because they write, they push, they have ideals, they change the world and change themselves I think that’s really cool. On a more local level my grandfather is an inspiration, my father, my mother because my mother and father are both really good artists. My grandfather is an inspiration in the sense were he taught me how to think very clear and think about the basic good elements of good things and work.
- Who else in your family sings?
In my family nobody sings, I mean they sing now like in the car type of thing and hold a tune correctly, but nobody actually sings as a profession or plays an instrument. My father wishes he could play piano, it was kind of a thing he wanted to learn when he was little and my mom can sing if she practices because she knows how to hold a tune correctly.
- Who are your musical inspirations?
I told you my biggest inspirations in the previous questions, but let me be more specific. What inspired my music, this might sound weird but cooking and chefs, because chefs make things on a plate and they experiment and they see right away if it tastes good or not. So they mix a little bit of this and mix a little bit of that put it together does it work? Is it Chinese? Is it Indian? Is it American? They mix it all together and does it work. I like to look at chefs on cooking channels because you see how they’re daring and then you see how conservative chefs are. I believe music is like cooking some music is like a really good burger and some music is like really gourmet and you kind of want to learn how to do all of it if you want to be a really good artist
- What kind of music do you listen to today?
I listen to a variety of music, but I like to listen to Latin, modern pop, folk, reggae and hop-hop, and a lot of the classics because those passed the test of time. So I like to listen to the things that were sold like 2pac albums, Bob Marley albums, Paul Simon albums, albums in a whole because those albums were big chunks of work they weren’t just one track on the radio that made it.
- What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?
What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I am a self-help junkie and I have audio books that I listen to about everything. If you look at my iPad or iPod you find Psychological Conversations of this professor, Best Ways for Public Speaking and Self-Esteem by Daniel Carnegie, and How to make friends. Just like a lot of these self-help books that were really important and that comes from the business world. A very famous one that I like to listen to are Daniel Carnegie’s Lifetime for Success or The Magic of Thinking Big, they are more like affirmations to make you feel better they kind of tell you what to do about your life so it can be a little bit weird.
- Where would you most like to perform?
I think I’d like to do a lot of European festivals. I’ve seen Latin American, American and Middle East so I would really like to get into Europe possibly Japan, that would be a nice experience.
- Have you performed in other countries?
Yes I have. I have performed in Chile, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, Dubai and Kuwait. Mostly those places, but I have traveled to and sang in peoples house but not in festivals or big performances.
- Who would you most like to open for?
I don’t know, I think I like Frank Ocean I don’t know if my music works for him. Maybe James Bay I’d like to open for him maybe Sublime with Rome. I wouldn’t mind opening for Maroon 5 or Bruno Mars, I know that maybe my music doesn’t necessarily fall there but it would be cool to open for them.
- If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
I think I would get into fashion in the sense of like creating fashion either jewelry or clothing and collaborating because I feel like not that I have a fashion sense but I have a good idea of what trends are and creating businesses and kind of understanding what is going on with the community in a city to kind of present that in clothing. I don’t have a fashion background but I did a lot of work in the fashion industry when I was in Los Angeles. I’m not saying I’m credible but that I would probably like that world too.
- Do you play any instruments?
I produce but I pay guitar and sing but I kind of work on production on piano and a little bit of bass and percussion.
- If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
I really like that idea of R&B, hip-hop, electronica. I like to experiment and enjoy those worlds.
- What genre of music can’t you stand to listen to?
I think when it gets into heavy scream rock, like really grungy, punk, edgy. You know what they scrawl type of thing because for me their work is more like about energy and frustration and getting it out. For me I need something different, its not really my style.
- What hidden talents do you have?
I think a little bit of photography; I wouldn’t mind being a DJ or a radio Host. I would love to be a radio host on 99.7rkfm on the middle night hour maybe for a season or two months of the year, ‘Midnights with Mr.Fari’ or something like that.
- Do you enjoy writing music and/or lyrics?
I’m enjoying it more as I get older because in the beginning it was a little bit tough. As I get older it gets more easier because I’m understanding my voice better and how I approach it.
- Are your lyrics based on your life or general topics?
I think they are like a collage; I get ideas from people, sayings from people, or what happens to other people. If I want to sing it in my shoes or in theirs, I’d like to say it’s based on a true story but it’s not necessarily me. A good example some of the songs I write about love are not necessarily about people but maybe its about missing a country or a best friend but it works to sound like I miss someone I really love. So some of the songs can shape their own way and some of the songs can do their own thing, you can say 70-80% of the lyrics are based on life. I do make up some stuff and add a sense of exaggeration to make it pop out more if that makes sense.
- If you could eternally be stuck on one year’s music scene, which year would it be and why?
I think it would be the 70’s because people were really playing with their instruments and were free and open about it. I would love to be a hippie and watch Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana and just be in that world of taking pictures and playing music and watching Miles Davis and watch these people do 2-3hours jamming sessions on stage. It was very much about their talent it wasn’t about what pop song they can do or who said what. That time was about ‘do you play well and if you play well can you make it get the people going on stage’ and I think that is important and important for my musical soul.
- What advice would you give upcoming singer/songwriters?
Study the greats the people in the past and study what is happening now. Study the people that you really like in the past about their songwriting and learn about them because you get a mentorship that way to learn about other works of are and learn from them. I like to study from Elvis to Frank Sinatra because I like how they wrote at that time. I would advice them to study other songwriters because I think that we have an illusion when it comes to our modern songwriters. They think that songs are like journals were they are just like writing their feelings and I think to be honest that’s shows an amateur songwriter where its like ‘I feel this, I feel this…’ like so about it? What I like about good modern songwriters is that they are not saying what they feel they are saying a story about what happened, what they felt, how that story began and finished. A lot of people in the past knew this; they knew clean clear good songwriting that didn’t lose the people. Now we have songs that are very confusing were you don’t even know the words and that happens in hip-hop and R&B like “Panda” or “Work Work Work” and it’s like ‘what are you really trying to say?’ I mean its sounds cool and a lot of fun but they are not saying something that enhances our reality. They are not saying ‘this is how we make work better’ but if you think of another work song that is very famous by Disney “Whistle while you work” the whole song is to make you feel better about your work. So right now we are losing that in our reality and our music making it a weird distractions but the music and songwriting of then are about making you think a little bit differently.
The Plastic Desert Roots EP is Mr.Fari’s third project release as an Independent, Unsigned Artist. In this project, Mr.Fari steps away from self-producing and enlists French Reggae Folk artist and producer, Fabrice Mareua, to push forward a new style of reggae.
The first single, “Stay for the Night” is a song that touches on aspects of modern relationships – desire, equality and nationality – and was first released on the Kuwait radio, 99.7rkfm, on April 20 2016. Given its suggestive, forward approach to relationships, it is worthy to note that it premiered in an Islamic country on its public radio.
The second single, “Peace in the Middle East”, is a clean anthem for peace. At the young age of 6, Mr.Fari experienced, first-hand, the atrocities of the 1990 Gulf War before his family evacuated through Iraq. A profound experience, shaping the very fabric of Mr. Fari, “Peace in the Middle East” has been a long time coming.
As part of the media campaign for this EP, Mr.Fari performed his songs, stripped down, unplugged, and published them on YouTube, giving fans the experience of the process of taking songs in their plain form. These songs are recorded in an old, traditional Kuwaiti house, and are shot in one take in an effort to highlight the rawness of both the song, and the artist.
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