DJ Sam Halabi shares his thoughts on his musical journey so far.

Imagine a kid huddled over a piano, fingers dancing gracefully over the keys, lost in the world of Beethoven and Bach.

Fast-forward a few years, and this same kid, now all grown up, is strumming a guitar, plucking the strings of a cello, and blowing into a trumpet. It's a Stranger Things-esque transformation, where every new season of Sam Halabi's life introduces a different genre, a new instrument, a fresh vibe.

DJ Sam Halabi on the deck.

Sam, in his weave of musical evolution, is a living embodiment of a crescendo. Starting with classical piano, he ventured into genres like Jazz, Rock, and Blues. But here's the twist: Growing up in an Arabic family, the melodious strains of legends like Fairuz, Umm Kulthum, and Abdel Halim Hafez ran in his veins, de facto musical companions to his Western tunes. A fusion was inevitable, and boy, did he deliver! Merging his Western musical training with the rich and nostalgic Arabic melodies, he introduced the Oud into his productions. It's as if the Oud, with its deep, resonating strings, was the missing link in his sonic universe, bridging Europe and the Middle East.

It’s kind of like catching lightning in a bottle, referring to his creative process. Sometimes, it's an ephemeral melody that flits through his mind, which he hurriedly records as a voice note. At other times, it's a full-blown jam session in his studio, where beats and melodies collide until something just... clicks. The best part? No two days are the same. It's a musical roulette, and Sam loves every spin of it.

Speaking of collaborations, Sam's approach is humorously practical. His philosophy: Be open, be flexible, and for the love of all things musical, please know your stuff! No one wants to be stuck in a loop of a never-ending jam session from hell. In Sam's words, "If you're not open to suggestions and changes, then buckle up because it's going to be a bumpy ride... and not the fun kind!" Ergo, flexibility is the key.

So, when is a track ready for the world to hear? Here's a funny truth bomb from Sam: "A song is never ready; we just run out of time!" Because, let’s face it, if it weren’t for deadlines, producers might tweak a track until the end of time. There's always that one note, that one beat that tempts them back to the mixing desk. But deadlines? Those sneaky little devils ensure that music, in all its perfected imperfection, reaches our eager ears.

"A song is never ready; we just run out of time!"

Every DJ and producer seems to be on a quest for uniqueness. Sam's ethos is refreshingly genuine. He's not chasing the title of 'The Next Big Thing.' "Honestly, I don't look at becoming different from other DJs," he shares. Instead, he's on a personal journey to find his voice, his sound — something that resonates with him.

"Honestly, I don't look at becoming different from other DJs,"

If the world of music is akin to the Upside Down from Stranger Things, then Sam Halabi is our Eleven — harnessing the unpredictable, merging worlds, and creating something both nostalgic and innovative. In a realm where old meets new, East meets West, and classical merges with contemporary, Sam ensures that the portal between these worlds remains wide open, inviting us all to step in and experience the magic.

HOMEGROWN is musivv’s segment dedicated to featuring UAE-based artists. Features under this segment are considered as submissions for nomination under this category in the Musivv Awards’ annual recognition.

November 14, 2023

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