Interviews

Published on July 11th, 2019 | by Jerry Doby

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Meet Jordanian Rising Star Jaafar

Jaafar is a Jordanian singer and songwriter. He exploded on to the Jordanian music scene in 2013 with his song ‘You Got Me Good’ that was released “accidentally” after falling into the hands of a local radio programmer. The song went on to become one of the most successful songs of the summer in Jordan that year. At the time, Jaafar was living in Miami where he had moved to pursue a career in music and attend the University of Miami. In the summer of 2014, Jaafar headlined the North Theatre at Jordan’smost famous music festival; Jerash Festival. Jaafar played to a packed house at the 2000-person capacity theatre. The Jordan Times released an article the next day in the paper titled ‘Jaafar wows Jerash Audience’ which highlighted the singer’s performance chops and box-office draw despite only having one “mega-hit song” under his belt.

Jaafar returned to the US directly after the Jerash show and began working on new music with a Grammy-winning production team, whose credits include international superstars Shakira, Ricky Martin, and Christina Aguilera. In 2015, Jaafar released his first US single ‘Sixteen’ that went on to perform impressively for an unsigned act, especially in the US market, where it achieved widespread radio airplay and began to climb the Billboard charts and other US national radio charts. It was at this time Jaafar started to catch the eye and ear of mainstream Western media, being featured in publications such as People and The Huffington Post that both praised his music and message.

Jaafar then released a second international single called ‘Dalia’ in which he sang in both English and his native Arabic language. ‘Dalia’; was Jaafar’s first foray into singing in Arabic. With the success of ‘Sixteen’ and ‘Dalia,’ Jaafar’s stateside audience began to grow notably. After years of growing a grass-roots fan base by playing smaller venues in America, Jaafar embarked on a string of tour dates in the US, which included headlining shows at The Fonda Theatre and The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. With the release of ‘Dalia’ also came an increasing demand for Jaafar’s music in the Middle East and North Africa. As a result, Jaafar took his live show back to the Middle East where he opened for various Arab Pop heavyweights such as Amr Diab and Cheb Khaled.

After releasing some more Arabic language singles including ‘Salma’, ‘Yara’. and ‘Gheir Ay Leila’, which all received heavy radio airplay and press attention around the Middle East and North Africa, Jaafar began work on new music with famed Lebanese producer Hadii Sharara (French Montana, Wael Kfoury, Nancy Ajram).

In March 2019, it was announced that Jaafar had signed a five-year deal with Universal Music MENA. Jaafar’s first major label release, a single called ‘Ra7at 3aleki’ which was written by Jaafar and produced by Hadii Sharara, is due to be released on April 3rd. His first EP is also expected out this summer. Jaafar will support the release of ‘Ra7at 3aleki’ by opening for Clean Bandit live in Jordan this April, as well as performing a live set at his single launch show in Beirut, among other promotional appearances.

The Hype Magazine got Jaafar to weigh in on a few things:

From the outside looking in, who is the artist Jaafar?

I’m a product of my environment. I grew up and lived in Jordan until I graduated high school. I then went to art school in London for a year, then I moved to the States. I love both Middle Eastern music and Western popular music. I was brought up on both. My music always has a fusion element to it.

What brought you to the entertainment industry, music specifically?

I’ve always loved music. My first concert was Sting live in Amman when he was touring “Brand New Day”. I had actually gone to see his opening act, Cheb Mami who is a very famous Algerian Rai artist. I didn’t necessarily know that much about Sting… I knew “Desert Rose” because Cheb Mami was featured on it. I was blown away by the concert and the music. I think after that concert it clicked that you could actually do this for a living. I don’t remember ever wanting to anything else though.

What do you get from music?

Joy!

Tell us about your current project.

I just signed a record deal with Universal Music MENA. I’m working on new music now. Actually, I’m almost done recording. We’re going to be releasing new songs every couple of months this year, God willing! I’m really excited for everyone to hear the new music.

For new listeners, what song of yours would you pick as an introduction to you as an artist?

Out of my currently released stuff probably “Dalia”. I love that song and it was a turning point in my career as a songwriter.

Tell us a bit about your work and passions OUTSIDE of music…

I’m really a pretty low key guy outside of music. That’s something that always surprises people. I love horses. My dad is an Arabian Horse breeder, so I basically grew up at the stables… and I still try to spend as much time as possible around horses or riding. Otherwise, really I’m just hanging out with friends and family, watching a movie or playing cards. I’m a big movie buff.

Last but not least, HYPE wants to know…What’s your CRAZIEST “Where they do that at?!” aka WTF?! moment…

Getting recognized outside of Jordan and the Middle East in general is always crazy to me. Good crazy though. One time in particular I was in Los Angeles with my sister about to walk into a store. This guy jumped out of a car and ran towards us with a camera. My sister bolted! I was looking around thinking Justin Timberlake or somebody was behind me. He scared us, lol! It was all good though. Except for the fact that I looked like a total newb!

2019 Highlights for Jaafar

  • July 16 – YouTube Space live performance in Dubai Studio City
  • July 17 – UMG MENA is taking Jaafar to do a live performance with a Q&A session at the Apple Store in Dubai Mall
  • Jaafar tapes an episode of the popular TV show “Hek Menghani” on MTV Lebanon that will air later this year
  • Jaafar has already appeared on Entertainment Tonight Arabia as well as many others
  • July 30 – releasing new music video (being filmed June 22 as listed above)
  • September 13 – Headlining music festival in Jordan

 

Social Media Channels

https://youtube.com/Jaafarsound

http://Facebook.com/jaafarsound

http://instagram.com/jaafarmusic

http://twitter.com/jaafarmusic



About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.


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