Artist Interview: Ziryab Michael
Tell us about yourself and your music
Ziryab Michael (ZM for short) is a Moroccan/American artist, born in Morocco and played guitar at the age of 5, at the time of which, he even assembled his own guitar, made it from pieces of wood and strings, and could play any piece he listened to by ear. At the age of 7, he listened to Mozart, and started composing classical music in his head. Later he pursued a scientific career, studied in prestigious schools in Paris, and obtained a Ph.D in Mathematics from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. After the death of Michael Jackson, his favorite modern artist, Ziryab decided to return to music and start composing again, as a way to honor the legacy left behind Michael Jackson. Ziryab loves all musical genres and is able to compose music in any style or genre. In Ziryab’s world, musical genres are simply different movements of the same body. Very often, Ziryab likes to mix many genres in the same song. Ziryab also has a great passion for dancing, the same way Michael Jackson did.
Talk to us more about your latest release
In 2016, a single was released: a song called “You Are My Life”, which is is based on an English translation of a spiritual poem by Rumi. In the same year, an album was composed, called “Dust of sadness”, containing 13 songs, but was not released (it may be released in the fall of 2017). A new Arabic song called “Watani” (not part of the album “Dust of Sadness”) will be released in Morocco in few days (around January 6, 2017), and all the Moroccan media will be covering its release. A month later, another Arabic song is scheduled to be released in Morocco, a song based on a beautiful Arabic poem by the big scholar and Sufi master Ibn Arabi, that talks about love and tolerance of all religions and races.
What inspired you to write this release?
The song “You Are My Life” was composed on the fly. Ziryab was reading a spiritual poem in English by the Sufi master Rumi, and the music just came by itself. Luckily he was in his studio and everything was plugged in and ready to record and he started singing directly while reading the poem. After two hours, the song was completed and recorded. But it took more than a month for his nephew Iligy Eli to mix it and master it as he was busy with other things.
Any plans to release a video?
In summer, August of 2017, Ziryab is planning to shoot a video in Morocco for his song “Pool Party”, which is part of the album “Dust of sadness”. The song “Pool Party” is supposed to be a parody where Ziryab is making fun of modern artists who compose songs whose lyrics are very superficial and meaningless and love to portray semi-naked women in video clips to attract viewers.
Any plans to hit the road?
In August of 2017, Ziryab will be live on a Moroccan TV (in Morocco). One or two concerts might be scheduled in the Bay Area (California) before Ziryab travels to Morocco in August.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
Ziryab is a true music composer by nature, like Mozart was a composer since the age of 5. All musical genres are part of the same body, which is called music, and because of that, Ziryab has no specific genre: he can swim from one musical style to another as if all genres were the same thing. That is the musical style of Ziryab: the ability to combine many musical genres and blend them into one composition. There is no limit to how many genres can be combined and how they can be blended together. Ziryab is also very serious about the lyrics of his songs. His songs have always very strong and deep lyrics. Ziryab would never sing a superficial song, unless he is making a parody to make fun of the decadence in modern music.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Ziryab listens to classical music, mostly Mozart and Beethoven. He also listens to Michael Jackson and music films.
Tell us about your passions
Besides music composition and dancing, Ziryab likes to write books on various topics and to play soccer. He also likes swimming in a warm nice beach and to explore nature. When he was living in Paris, one his passions was to simply sit in a caffe, when the weather is beautiful, and watch people walk by in the streets, listening to the music that every person passing by generates. This was the source of one of his biggest inspiration in music.
What else is happening next in your world?
– The Arabic song “Watani” is to scheduled to be release in Morocco around January 6, 2017 and it will be covered by all the Moroccan media.
– A month later (around February 6), another song called “Love, My Way of Life”, based on an Arabic poem by Ibn Arabi, will be released in Morocco.
– The album “Dust of Sadness” which was composed last year, might be recorded song by song, so that it can be release in the fall of 2017.
– One or two concerts might be planned in the Bay Area in the coming months, in collaboration with another artist “Taher Awni”.
– In Summer (August 2017), the video clip for the song “Pool Party” will be recored in Morocco.
– Ziryab will be live on TV in Morocco this summer.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Ziryab!