Idreesi: Jordanian musician shares his personal journey with music

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Jordanian musician Idressi shared his belief that self-satisfaction with one’s own image is key, “I will not change anything from my style to satisfy my audience, as this is how the relationship becomes unhealthy.” (Photo: Handout from photographer Aya Nashashibi)
AMMAN— Idressi, a producer, singer, and songwriter based in Amman, Jordan, is one of the founders of the Electro-Acoustic collective “Garaseen.”  He has since moved to make a career for himself as a solo artist. اضافة اعلان

He entered the world of music in 2012 when he was studying acting and theater directing at the University of Jordan, where he met Nayrouz Ajlouni.

Shortly after the meeting, the “Garaseen” band was established. Idressi was the singer and songwriter and Nayrouz was the producer.

The duo was known for mixing electronic rhythms with traditional instruments, from guitars to brass. In 2020, Idressi had started his solo project taking a short break from "Garaseen.”

Jordan News was able to conduct a phone interview with Idressi, who shared details about his new album and some information regarding his personal life.

So, who is Idressi?  How would you like to introduce yourself?

Idressi is a multi-tool, art-directional, and self-paced art project. This project was established from a place and a source that is personal and subjective for me. Therefore, the name of the project took the name of my family, Al-Idrisi.

Where do you derive the ideas for your songs?

Most of the ideas come from my personal life experiences. I consider it an individual view of what is happening around me in terms of events and personal relationships and what I feel of maturity, joy or sadness, and so on. I do not discuss the problems or policies of other people. Everything I write or sing about is personal and concerns me primarily, but it can be interpreted and linked to the human experience in general, believing in the idea that we are all the same at the end, and seek the same feelings and life problems.

In your opinion, to what extent does the Jordanian community accept your songs?

Averagely I think; they need more time to accept them, as they accept commercial songs that are constantly broadcasted on local radio channels. At the same time, especially in the recent period, we noticed a good number of the Jordanian community that follows the songs we produce. They request and support them, and this number of people is a new audience for us.

In your opinion, do Arab radio stations, local ones, in particular, support these kinds of songs?

Only a limited few only.  They are trying to, but we always expect more support from them.

Do you feel that Jordanian artists receive the support they need from the concerned authorities or the government?

The government is absent from the art we produce. I believe they do not know we exist. Here, artists are divided into two parts, the first is the artist who holds a membership in the Syndicate of Artists, and the second is the independent artist who works without the need for membership in the syndicate. The first, as far as I know, gets weak support. As for the second, he is not recognized by the government or cultural authorities.

What are Jordanian artists missing?

Local support and appreciation. I can confirm this when I see raw talent in Jordanian artists whose names shined abroad but their own country and local audience in their hometowns oppressed them.

Idressi is known to take a somewhat unfamiliar external appearance for the Jordanian street, how did you adapt to this matter, and how do you navigate negative criticism?

I was a theatre artist before I became a singer or music performer. Personality, fashion, and appearance are an essential part of the composition of my musical project. I am not surprised by the negative criticism. I always expect it, given the culture of our audience and the traditional masculine forms and molds they are accustomed to. Of course, I will not change anything from my style to satisfy my audience, as this is how the relationship becomes unhealthy. I believe that it is a matter of time and the audience will get used to my appearance the way they got used to my songs, which they criticized at the beginning, describing them as strange, and liked them after that.

In light of the painful events that our beloved Palestine is witnessing, is it possible to see Idressi in a song about Palestine?

Palestine is my origin and the birthplace of my father, grandfather, and mother. It is my primary cause as it should be for every Arab person. I sang and wrote for Palestine, but I do not see it appropriate or necessary to sing for Palestine every time it witnesses painful events because Palestine is not a trend that the artist feeds on and climbs on. If this is the case, we will not stop singing about Palestine, and all our songs will be about Palestine because it is a land that has never stopped bleeding and has never seen peace.

Tell us more about your next album, when will it be issued?

My next album is the most important and serious step for me in relation to my musical project. It is my first studio album consisting of 15 songs produced by Wall of Sound Company in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It will be released in February of 2022, but I will start releasing some songs starting in October, to begin with the stage of marketing and advertising.

Any advice you would like to give to the young Jordanians?

Do what you wish. Stop thinking about the community around you. If you believe in something, catch up with it. Most things need a lot of time and patience. Fail more than once and look for failure because it is the first and most important lesson and the only way to success.

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