ABRI has been in the UAE music business long enough to be qualified to share his invaluable two cents with the pool of next-generation young talents—local or global.
Our ears were intent on hearing more than just his golden singing voice as he sat on a yellow chair. He did not disappoint. Ever ebullient but composed, he chuckled a lot during the interview at our partner studio. He was never less than fascinating, but I noticed he had a knack for evading tricky questions by gabbing in general terms rather than detail.
Clueless as to what questions I will fire at him, Emirati soul singer Hamdan Abri, braced himself for what was to come and came out of the room leaving the five-man Musivv crew in awe.
The term ‘adult beginner’ may sound patronizing. It implies someone is learning something that should have been mastered as a child. But learning is not just for the young. ABRI took a deep breath when I asked him what topic outside of music struck a chord in his heart and mind. "Yeah, I'm a huge sponge as far as talking about general knowledge [is concerned]," he says. I suspect that it would take more than an hour of an interview to articulate his broad experience in life, music, fashion and social issues. Arriving wearing his brand was a statement in itself. "I love talking about fashion, art.
I love talking about fashion, art
I wanted to be a painter at some point," he adds. The mere mention of his love for watching documentaries about crime and even politics reveals his depth and season. "I love everything! I'm into basketball as well. I love watching the game, and talking about it. As I said, I'm a sponge." Sooner than I expected, his apparent wealth of knowledge became clear as crystal.
Case in point, his advice for his 22-year-old self. "To enjoy every moment and to not take time for granted," the music pillar mulls. There is a one-in-two chance your mind is on something else as you carry on reading this.
It just goes to show how we as a specie have mastered the art of multitasking. We have somehow lost the ability to savor the sensations of a tasty meal, rather than gobbling it down absent-mindedly, missing the moment and fretting about tomorrow. ABRI says something I empathically agree with. "I think when you're young, you think you will be young forever."
He continues, "I will tell my younger self to be more productive, make more music as much as you can." It made me wonder if the soul singer has regrets in his musical journey. He then brought up the aspect of collaboration to cement his noteworthy advice. "Work with as many people as you can," ABRI recalls not having the chance to sit, breathe and enjoy the moment when he was young running after his passion excessively. "Everything was happening so quickly," he says.
To lighten things up, (and before my mind drifts without permission), I asked a random question that made Abri burst into laughter. "Do you sing in the shower?" I boldly asked. "Yes, I do! I sing in the hallway, I love the acoustics and the reverb. I love reverb!" he answered quirkily.
I started pondering post the interview. Do we still notice what is happening around us with gentle curiosity? Are we still a learner and able to absorb as much as we can to enjoy the moment? Maybe by doing so, we begin to work constructively with the circumstances of our lives and cultivate attention and soundness, forming the space for sapient responses—much like our dear friend ABRI.
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