I grew up in a home that likes and appreciate music, mostly listening to classical Arabic music such as Um Kulthum, Abdel Halim Hafez and Fairuz, and the new Arabic music which has a style that blends with the Western melody such as Nancy Ajram, Ragheb Alama, and Ehab Tawfik. One of my parents’ favorite song that I know all the lyrics to is called Ahwak by Abdel Halim Hafez, which the literal translation is more than adoring and admiring a person. My parents love it so much that they both learned to play it on the piano and taught it to me and my sister. This was the beginning of my music journey, the way I first accessed it was through my parents’ music in the stereo system.
When I was 5 or 6 I started learning English, my parents made sure to learn both Arabic (Mother tongue) and English and one of the ways was listening to English lullabies such as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, The Wheels on the Bus, and Old MacDonald Had a Farm. Since these were mostly lullabies and not songs, I consider the first actual song that I heard and liked was Jenny From The Club by Jennifer Lopez, which always have a special memory to me because it was the song that I practiced for my dance performance in elementary school and with that song I started looking up more music similar genre and listen to the Jennifer Lopez. I still dance, so for me, this type of music is around me for that reason or even when I’m doing my homework, as I find these songs with the upbeat pop gives me energy to workout, study, and dance.
As I grew up I found myself exploring all kind of music. When I was in high school my friends and I like to have conversations in different medias from books we’re reading to movies, to listening to albums and discuss that. We don’t consider ourselves musicians although some of us play instruments, but more like people who enjoy music and like to create conversations with it. I play piano, and now drums, I still don’t consider myself musician since I don’t practice a lot and I believe that there are a lot of things I do not know which makes it more interesting to me and keeps me want to dig deeper to it. I remember we had different music we’re interested in but once we decided to listen to “old” music, which was basically any music released briefly before we were born such as David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Scorpions and many more. One song that comes to my mind for my senior year of high school is Wake Me Up by Avicii as many times I heard this song I connect to it to college applications, how that year was frustrating and exciting, how I knew that some of my friends I might never see them again and how I’m becoming older and many more. Looking back to it, it’s one of those songs that summarizes a whole year of my life. I remember the first time I met my freshman roommate, we were trying to open a conversation, and I asked her what kind of music she likes and she responded with I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At The Disco and it made me realize that we both like and started talking about other songs from the band. Looking back, these small stories make me recognize that music has been and will always be part of my life and journey.
I remember the first concert I went to made me realize how much a fan I am for live music, it was Scorpions with my family. I remember all the details of that day, it was for Formula 1 and it was general admission, we arrived early to be in the front of the stage and waited for hours for it to begin. They were amazing, the setlist was great and the band ended up with one of my favorite songs Rock You Like a Hurricane. After this event, I started going to a lot of concerts whether it’s on campus, small or large venues or even music festivals. I think I’ve been to more than 50 concerts in my life, it is a different experience than listening to it through a phone or a laptop.
Nowadays my interaction with music is through listening, taking classes, learning new instruments and playing and reading more about it. One of the things I started doing recently is watching or reading songwriters and how they created their biggest tracks, I find it very fascinating how much details and effort is given to each thing, when I first listen to it I don’t see it. It is a way for me to appreciate the art of music more and I love how it doesn’t always start the same or have only one or set of ways someone could do it.