Not many might feel and think the same, but "life is great" for Nour Henein and his partner Usama Al-Farisi. The producer tandem has recently found the downtime to reflect on the array of projects they have in the pipeline. Admittedly overwhelmed at times living in this "dystopian reality," the duo is keeping a positive mindset during these crucial times. Having a strong support system helps them significantly and they realize that family is all that matters. How these translate to their work, we're here to find out more.
How has the current global climate affected your music?
The current global climate has been a blessing and a curse in disguise. A blessing in the sense that it allowed us to strategize and pivot our efforts in advancing our artist NAIIM in various ways possible. The curse was in terms of postponed gigs but again it was a blessing as it allowed us to focus on NAIIM’s live performance and be well prepared when shows become a thing again.
Please tell us about yourselves.
My partner and I never studied music. In fact, we both studied finance and entrepreneurship. Our close friends are the ones who are naturally talented in music production and we could not help but be obligated to propel our friends and provide them the initial start into the entertainment industry as a whole. This is where we went out and started developing relationships with all key stakeholders of the industry to put our artists on platforms where they can showcase their art and music. From this point forward, my partner and I fell in love with what A&R’s do and we plan to embody and manifest this role within larger record labels.
It has been a blessing and a curse in disguise
How did you start with music production?
We are not producers by nature but if anything we are the ears to our musicians to help them through the production/curation process of tracks. From there, we developed the ability to notice rhythm and identify tracks that have potential, and showcase them to the world to enjoy.
Our inspirations mainly come from executives who work in the industry and have created some of the major acts in today’s music industry. Some of the people who inspire us today are people such as SALXO (Manager of XO Records) & Lyor Cohen (Initial founder of Def Jam Island and current Head of YouTube music) and lastly Oliver El Khatib (One of OVO’s main management representatives) and lastly Lamar Taylor (Creative Director of XO Records). They helped shed light on the importance of what we do for the industry and musicians who want to make it.
I mean the producers that my partner and I tend to work with are people who have no boundaries in music curation and fall under the category of World Music. The main source of influence we could say stems from a group called Soulection, led by Joe Kay, who introduced the idea of world music to us at an early stage in our careers as music managers. The sound is not bound to any style rather a culturally created sound from different cultures across the globe.
Among the big names in the music industry, who do you want to work with in the future?
In terms of artists, we think who would fit best with NAIIM would be people such as Guapdad 4000, Amine, Tory Lanez, Drake, Bryson Tiller, and Hamza Sauce God. In terms of managers, my partner and I would love to work with names like Dre London, Salxo, Cashxo, Lamar Taylor, the Lipman brothers. Part of the reason we bring up Salxo often is that he is Arab as well. It just outlines that people of our background have made a mark in the industry and we plan to do the same.
Never give up, focus on the craft
What do you look for in an artist that you would collaborate with in the future?
We typically look for artists who are complete and know the creative vision of their art. An artist who is versatile and can patch on to any beat and provide his/her style. We love it when artists think outside the box, and make it evident in their craft to attract new unique listeners.
Any last words you want to tell inspiring producers or A&Rs?
Never give up, focus on the craft, and experiment with different sounds until you find your own unique sound from which you can convert unique listeners to your following. Stop saying you will and start doing. It’s tough love, but you can get it if you really want it so keep at it.
We can always strive to look at the silverlining. Keeping a positive outlook in life has helped these two aspiring producers/A&Rs. The future is bright and the world is waitingFollow Nour and Usama's journey: