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October 22 2021 7:18 PM ˚

Jordanian singer discovers talent during COVID-19

Mohammad Alakhras
Mohammad Alakhras, the singer also known as A5rass, poses in this undated photo. (Photo: Handout from Mohammad Alakhras)
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AMMAN — The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns brought on by COVID-19 forced many to fill their time and discover new hobbies, such as baking bread or painting. But some discovered new careers entirely: like Mohammad Alakhras, the singer also known as A5rass. اضافة اعلان

“My experience in singing and songwriting began a few months ago, following the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown,” the local singer and songwriter said in an interview with Jordan News.

The artist launched his first single in September 2020 on his YouTube channel. The song, called “Ya Reitek Hon,” or “Hey You, Here,” has reached more than 1.1 million views. Recently, he launched another single called “Akher Kas” in June 2021. The video has now garnered more than 2.5 million views.

“At first I wasn't expecting my songs' views to reach such numbers,” he said.

He added that during his stay in Jordan he met rappers and other creative artists. “During one of our meetings, the rappers had advised my friend to learn more about alternative music, and I took the advice,” he said.

He also traveled to Dubai to visit his parents. “There was 14 days of self-isolation in Dubai, and during this time I started to write songs and sing.” 

Alternative music, commonly known as alternative rock or simply alternative, is a subgenre of rock music that grew in popularity in the nineties after emerging from the independent music underground of the seventies. The term "alternative" alludes to the difference between the genre and mainstream or commercial rock or pop music.

Akhras said that when he first started singing, he didn't receive much support. “People who know me know that I am a practical person,” he said, “I was apprehensive about singing and posting my first song on YouTube, but I knew I needed to give it a try.”

The musician added that he recorded his first single “Ya Reitek Hon,” with very simple pieces of equipment. “I didn't have any professional recording equipment, so I made do with what I had, then I uploaded it on my YouTube channel,” he said.

According to Akhras, artists can reach a vast number of listeners through YouTube and other social media platforms, and they have more control over how their music is released than through older, more traditional methods of music distribution.

Akhras's YouTube channel, with 12 songs released so far, has almost 111,000 subscribers and millions of views. He has received many likes and positive comments on his videos. “This support gives me a good feeling,” he said. “The artist must create a unique work in order for people to like it.”

The singer and songwriter said that he draws from his own personal experiences when drafting his songs. “I don't have a specific time to write songs, which is why I don't release songs regularly.” 

Though most of his music falls into the alternative genre, he has also released one rap song called “31 October,” which features musician Abudabaseh.

The artist added that he has received support and compliments from many local artists, such as the Palestinian singer and producer Aziz Maraka, which encouraged him to continue. “It's good to have the support of an artist you love to listen to and whose music you enjoy listening to, such as Aziz Maraka.”

Above all, Akhras emphasized the importance of believing in your own talent — and following your own path.

“I encourage talented people to start spreading their talents to the world, to believe in themselves and their talent, and not to wait for support from anyone.”

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