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Jaafar Hooks Fans into his Musical Realm [Interview]

Ariana O'Keefe

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Moving across the world to Jordan, singer-songwriter Jaafar is journeying into the realm of music with an endearing roster of talents that the scene is already hooked on.

Talk about everything happening for a reason, Jaafar broke out within the Jordanian music scene in 2013 when his record “You Got Me Good” was “accidentally” released after falling into the hands of a local radio programmer. The song became one of the top successful songs of the Summer that year, and from then on his name and music became well-recognized with fans naturally starting to follow. Roped into his rich stylistic repertoire, fans were eager for him to release more music as this one hit was leaving them on a cliff hanging note.

Travelling over to Miami, Jaafar found himself working with a stellar production team whose credits range from working with music superstars like Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, and Shakira amongst many others. With such top-notch talent behind the team, Jaafar put his defining twist in singing songs in Arabic in the mix. “Dalia” was the result, one track which helped pave the way for Jaafar’s tour stops across the U.S, including headlining shows at The Fonda Theater and The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles.

Crowds were and continue to be drawn to Jaafar for being a source of musical light with a truly unique presence, standing out in an industry that can often become clouded with similarity. Smashing through barriers and harnessing his vision with exhilarating force, Jaafar landed huge success in signing a five-year deal with Universal Music Group MENA. His first major single on the label “Ra7at 3aleki” is in full swing after its release earlier this month alongside a music video Jaafar stars in. With a debut EP expected to be out this summer, Jaafar also celebrated the new single with an opening slot for Clean Bandit in the Middle East which was a massive milestone.

We heard all about this exciting performance as well as Jaafar’s plans outside of music in writing movie scripts and directing videos, and a whole lot more in our exclusive interview below!

The Nocturnal Times: Congratulations on your first major label release “Ra7at 3aleki.” What do you want to share with fans about the inspiration behind this song?

Jaafar: Thank you! Ra7at 3aleki is inspired by a toxic relationship that I was in. It was doomed from the start. The opening lyrics roughly translate to “I feel like it’s over but never really started.” The lyrics are everything I wish I had said!

The Nocturnal Times: How was your show in Beirut celebrating the new single and your Universal Music Group signing?

Jaafar: Quick but lots of fun. The turnout was great! I wish I could’ve stayed longer and chatted to everyone but I had to catch a flight because we had a show the next day in Amman.

The Nocturnal Times: Can you walk us through one of your most memorable music productions thus far? What made it so special?

Jaafar: The next single we’re releasing has to be one of my most memorable productions because the process was so smooth. The song basically wrote and produced itself! I worked on it with Hadii Sharara, who also produced “Ra7at 3aleki.”  It was a really enjoyable process. Sometimes productions can take forever and be really tiring… so that’s why this was so memorable, because it was just fun and easy. Nothing forced. I hope that reflects in the song. I think it does.

The Nocturnal Times: A few days ago you opened for Clean Bandit in Amman, tell us how the performance went and a couple standout moments of the night?

Jaafar: Opening for another artist is always nerve wracking. Hometown shows are also a lot of pressure. I didn’t know what to expect. Truly though it was one of my favorite shows. Defiantly my favorite show as an opener thus far. The crowd was incredible. I was surprised at how many people in the crowd actually knew all my songs, because it wasn’t a headlining set. That was very humbling. “Ra7at 3aleki” had only been released a couple of days prior and thousands of people were singing along to it. That was my favorite part of the show… it took me by surprise, in the best way possible.

The Nocturnal Times: Have there been other artists in particular that have helped influence your sound? If so, who?

Jaafar: Tons! The list is very long and varied. I’m inspired by everyone from Algerian Rai artists to Peter Gabriel to The 1975 to old school Usher.

The Nocturnal Times: Who is one of your top artists you hope to collaborate with one day?

Jaafar: Sade.

The Nocturnal Times: Your talents extend beyond music, including directing music videos and writing movie scripts. Talk to us about the script you’re currently writing and the vision for the story?

Jaafar: Yes, I’m developing a script. I’m super excited about this project. It all happened very organically and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. It’s a little too early to talk about the story, but what’s cool is that the hero in the movie is someone that kids from my part of the world can look up to. That’s something that there isn’t really much of. Arabs are mostly represented in a negative light in international cinema.

The Nocturnal Times: Talk to us about more of your tour plans for the rest of this year?

Jaafar: We’re still figuring out dates and trying to make them work but definitely this summer we’ll be doing a couple of shows. I really can’t wait!

From her first concert at 10 years old, Ariana's number one thing in life has always been music. Now, at age 23, she has found her passion within the EDM industry. Ariana grew up in the Boston area and moved to Florida where she graduated from Rollins College in Orlando. Inspired by DJ/Producers making their dreams come true and by sensational performances at EDM festivals around the world, Ariana is thrilled to be on the road to living out her dreams.

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