This is one of the best interviews I’ve ever done! The story of Orca is inspiring and serves as a good example that anything with discipline can be achieved. Despite his visual impairment, he’s determined to provide listeners with top-notch music. Scroll down to learn more about him.
1 – Your journey towards becoming a singer-songwriter is pretty inspiring. Please tell us more about it?
It all started when I was three years old; since my mother tongue is Arabic, I was always fascinated with English music. My parents used to bring different cassettes and mashups of different genres. I didn’t understand what they were saying or who the singers were, but English music always brought comfort and happiness no matter what.
As I grew older, my dad started buying me piano keyboards, the toy version of a piano, and let me play with I even have an old photo from those times. Sometimes my grampa would hand me a mic and allow me to sing along with the songs I loved. My family used to surround me cheer me on while I was singing. I even tried to trace some of those songs.
Still, I couldn’t find all of them like for example, from the songs I could find AQUA’s “Candyman,” “Roses Are Red,” “Doctor Jones,” “My Oh My,” and “Calling For You,” and also I managed to find Shaggy’s album such as ‘Angel,’ and ‘Hot Shot.’
I also used to listen to Westlife, Five, The Backstreet Boys among other artists I couldn’t hunt down all of them, but I managed to find a few.
All was fun and good until I reached middle school. When I decided to start focusing on music and improve my vocal abilities, my family stood against it and considered music a hobby that was not to be pursued. “If you have extra time, then sing but don’t create free time for it.” I should focus on academic achievements and the fact that the kind of music I listen to isn’t accepted where I live. There was also the fact that what will benefit me in life is my education and not my passion for music, and since I’m visually impaired, they considered that I only have a one-way path in life that should cross without looking to either left or right… Yet the dream kept bottling inside, and I kept listening to English music, ignoring any other kinds of music as I grew up.
I did not recognize most Arab artists and only knew those in English. I couldn’t mix with other people because our musical interests and references differed. I didn’t build any kind of audience or connect with my generation. I kept this on as I grew listening and learning while also improving my listening abilities to understand more about the song’s structure and how everything ticks.
But whenever I tried to discuss any type of training with the family, the answer was always no, so I kept self-training until I couldn’t take it anymore all those ideas and scenarios that I needed to share in a song all those stories that I wish to tell and share with others it was eating me inside until I couldn’t take anymore, and I decided to start my journey no matter what, and on January 2021 my first release came out, and I knew that to reach my dream I need an audience a fan base a movement to support me and cheer me on because I cannot do anything alone I have so many limitations when it comes to my disability, but I’m not planning to give up, and I will keep on pushing until someday people can support me and get the message that each of my singles has within its lyrics and its own structure because it isn’t always about the story but on how its told.
2 – Being visually impaired has allowed you to develop higher sensibility in other senses?
That is absolutely true. When God takes away something from a person, he blesses him with something else in return. Throughout my life, I developed a heightened sense of hearing, smell, taste, touch, the sixth sense in a way, So when it comes to my sense of hearing, I consider it to be a blessing and a curse because now I can hear things that are far far away. I’m also able to hear when people whisper to each other when people have phone calls. I can listen to what’s going on the other end and also what other people do in their home if they were close to me, so my solution for this was buying a noise-canceling headset and walking almost every day while wearing it so if people need me they’ll have to call or text to get my attention.
I was also able to develop a heightened sense of direction, so instead of looking for the direction of where a car is coming, for example, I rely on the air around me along with the sound that the vehicle makes, which allows me to walk or move to the opposite direction this ability helped me a lot in my soccer days in which it allowed to evade my opponents and be able to avoid them and also tell where the goalkeeper or the team’s defensive line are standing either from the air around the sound of their breath or the smell of their cologne or body In this world every person has a unique smell think of it as a fingerprint but for blind or visually-impaired people so that we can recognize you when approaching us.
I recognize people via their voice because my remaining sight doesn’t allow me to identify facial details such as facial structure, eye color, etc. when navigating or moving around if it’s a similar area, I rely on my photographic memory of the place so if changes were to occur in that area such as the moving of furniture the chances of me bumping into them are high and when I’m outside of the house I rely on my Kane.
I also consider myself to be a technology nerd. I’m always looking for hardware and software to make my life easier when using what’s left of my sight. For example, when recording and mixing, I use zooming software that makes everything look bigger; of course, it has some drawbacks, but I’m always for the look for new things that’ll help me keep on pushing and release more music
The name Orca was given to me by my teammates and friends thanks to my unique and aggressive playstyle. When playing the sports of basketball and soccer, indeed, I’m visually impaired. Still, I was always able to evade my opponents and score with unbelievable accuracy despite not seeing a thing. Hence, one day they started talking about how I hone onto my target like a dolphin and how I possess an echo-location-like ability. Then they considered the dolphin to be a gentle creature that didn’t fit my playstyle. Hence, they agreed on why we call you Orca instead. Since you possess the abilities and traits of an orca, then I said OK. So there you have back then; they mentioned that an orca has poor sight, but it turned out that this piece of information wasn’t true, so how about I become the first Orca that I visually-impaired it’ll make become even more unique.
4 – Does anyone in your family play a musical instrument or sing?
As far as singing, I’m the only one, but when it comes to instrument playing, I learned piano for a short while and didn’t finish. Still, a relative of mine is a pianist. She teaches piano lessons to those who want to learn another relative plays the violin, so basically, I have a relative who can play different instruments.
5 – How many songs have you released so far? Which one is your favorite?
This is tricky; currently, I have eight releases and have two on standby. You see, I’m struggling financially, and I record two songs per month. Still, I’m only able to release one of them due to my very limited budget. My biggest wish is to gain the support of those who listen to and fall in love with my music so that they can help me release more music and reach higher levels of connectedness with my fans, but as things stand, I only can get one song out there.
The other one will have to wait until the next month, so my message to all of you is to help me and lend me your support, allow me to share my passion with you, and release more unique pieces of music for you.
As for which one of my releases is my favorite, I can’t answer that because everyone has their own atmosphere and a fantastic story to tell. If they were the same, I might have chosen a favorite; even if the style may sound the same at first, each song will sound different in its own way of telling its story, and in my case, I don’t only focus on the music itself I also love to spill my stories into the artwork of each single leaving clues in every detail my goal is to take the listener on a journey where they can enjoy listening and figuring out the message behind each single so that my single can help them relate and connect with their inner feelings.
So, the answer is I’m in love with everything that I create because I always put 400% into every release that I make.
6 – What drove you to drop your new single, “Good 4 You”?
I was driven by the need to let my overactive imagination run free. The basic concept of “Good 4 You” can take different routes and shapes depending on the person you ask. In my case, I connected it to myself and whether I could land the woman of my dreams.
I traveled back in time and remembered the moments when I saw my now wife and the mother of my four children and how I was hesitant at first. I was reminded of how often I did ask myself this exact question.
Still, then I decided why don’t create a single that tells a unique story that its main focus is love, romance, and getting what you dreamt about in the end, and that’s when it hit me from the lyrics to the arrangement and the artwork all combined tells a happy story and creates the answer to this one simple but significant and endless question.
Always believe in yourself and the power of love, romance, and your ability to pursue and think in them. They’ll respond in kind by lending you their power, allowing you to reach the finish line.
7 – To whom would you dedicate this new song?
I’m dedicating this song to my beloved wife, the core of my inspiration and bottomless love. I also dedicate this song to all those who need to listen to it and may relate to it to help them find what they seek, so to all those who believe in love, romance, and your own ability to attract those you love; this is for you.
8 – Which is your favorite place to write compositions? Why?
There is no particular place for writing because I might be inspired anywhere, then the lyrics related to that idea will start pouring in like raindrops. So the times where I sat down and put effort into writing are pretty rare, to be honest.
So when I first started writing, I began as a poet. So whenever I think of a specific feeling, the ideas come to me in droves, then I start writing.
It’s like I become possessed, then my fingers start moving on their own, and when I stop writing, I realize that a masterpiece was created. It might sound weird, but this is what happens. It all comes out of thin air, and then boom, a song is born.
9 – Is your next single another love song?
The answer is no. As you may know, I promote myself as a visually impaired artist/songwriter who creates music that includes 400% love, 400% romance, and 200% of all that is between now.
Usually, I don’t do this, but I’m willing to share the upcoming releases my fans should expect. I’m only sharing the order, but no release dates as they’re a surprise. My upcoming single will be called “Situations.” The next in line is “Sister” and then back to the love and romance with the single “Dreamy.”
I’m always ready to create more music, so lend your support and strength so that I keep on making,
10 – Finally, what advice would you like to share with other indie artists?
I’ve got a lot of advice to offer but let us focus on the main take on things: to all indie artists out there, don’t give up and keep on pushing; this is a long road with many twists and turns.
Be careful of who you trust and who you send your music to. Scammers are all over the place, and they can mess you and your music in a heartbeat, so make sure to deal with only authentic promotional agencies and not anyone who’s offering you a cheaper, easy promo.
Don’t get discouraged if a single doesn’t turn out the way you imagined it would; instead, keep moving forward focus on the feedback you receive. If it’s valuable, take it to heart.
If it’s only hate to give it, a second glance keep improving until you reach the desired level and good luck to you and always remember my philosophy when it comes to music “Always inspire and get inspired because music can fix what words alone cannot.”
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Exclusive Interview: Paul Mayson Delves Into His Debut Album ‘One Life’
Paul Mayson‘s first-ever album, ‘One Life,’ is like a special mix of his love for House music, blended with different kinds of sounds and cool collaborations from artists all over the world. You definitely don’t want to miss this interview!
1 — With the release of your debut album ‘One Life,’ what are your expectations for how listeners will connect with the music?
My goal was to showcase my story and my sound. And for it to be an uplifting, positive, and summery album. Hopefully, it feels like that! It’s a collection of songs made at the moment, to make you feel happy and free. It’s about embracing life, the good things and the bad. And about doing what makes you happy.
2 — You’ve teamed up with a diverse range of international artists on this material. Please let us know how these collaborations came to be.
It was really exciting taking elements from different genres, working with a group of great artists who come from very different backgrounds, and bringing all of these sounds and flavors together on one project. A lot of artists I meet myself, reach out to the people I’m interested in. I often travel abroad to work on music together and do sessions in London or LA. Sometimes collabs can also happen through the label or the publisher, but ultimately it’s great to have an artist-to-artist relationship.
3 – What compelled you to emphasize the themes of life, freedom, and diversity in this album?
I’m very passionate about House music culture and the way it started. Which was all about positivity and celebrating life together. I love that message and think the soulful, feel-good element of House music is what always really attracted me to the genre. And to music in general, including other genres like Soul and RnB.
A few of the songs (like “Tell Me How” and “I Want You”) were basically made during one big jam session. It’s me just trying out completely different sounds, textures, and rhythms and experimenting with live drums, guitars, and whatever I feel like. Letting go of any rules connected to dance music allows for a really fresh approach to the album songs.
6 – How does the artwork complement the album’s concept?
It emphasizes the feel-good element and the overall message of the album. Life is in front of you, it’s there for the taking. You’re in the hallway, step into the light and embrace life.
7 – Will there be another amazing music video like “Have It All,” dropping in the near future?
We released a really cool art piece and visualizer for the album which I’m very excited about!
8 – Given your ambition to push boundaries within the Dance genre, do you think the bunch of producers already out there could make it tough for you to really stand out?
I think individuality is key. Doing something you’re passionate about. Telling your own story. If you go into that process, the outcome will be unique. Not following trends and doing my own thing is what helps me stand out and allows me to be ahead and I try to keep pushing myself.
9 – Among your studio essentials, what’s the item that you consider the cornerstone of your setup?
Quite a lot of my work is digital. I carry my laptop around and can produce and write anywhere with it, whether it’s my home studio, the studio in Amsterdam, a hotel, or even an airport. That’s what makes it flexible and international! Just being able to work anywhere and get the creative process going. At home I also love my Adam A77x monitors and I also use a Prophet synth.
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Exploring “My Friends”: Tobtok Talks Creative Process And More!
In this exclusive interview, Swedish producer Tobtok discusses all the details about his latest single as part of the ongoing countdown to the upcoming ‘My Friends’ EP. This is a collaborative effort with farfetch’d that you definitely shouldn’t overlook.
1 — Congratulations on the release of “My Friends.” Please tell us more about the influences and musical style that shaped this cool track.
Thanks! This tune has taken inspiration from bits and pieces of tracks I’ve been into over the last 10 years, everything from Daft Punk to Fred Again. It contains a lot of micro samples and vocal lines that are in a similar vein as old French House records, but we also wanted to experiment with the current UK rave sound, which we think ended up in a pretty unique and interesting way.
2 — How did you and farfetch’d navigate the creative process together, especially when faced with differing ideas or disagreements?
We were kind of on the same page with most things to be fair. Jerry from farfetch’d is a very creative guy and he loves to bash out new ideas, which worked well for me to develop into full songs. We worked on every track together in my studio and finished them off together. Of course, we had some different ideas about certain things but since none of us had a big ego, we just compromised. I think when you like the same kind of music, you usually think quite alike.
3 — What sets this collaboration apart from your previous singles?
I think this is possibly the strongest single from the EP. It feels catchy and is super simple yet not too boring. It also has Jerry’s voice in it which is unique to any other of our tracks.
4 — Can you share any funny anecdotes about specific moments while crafting “My Friends”?
We have hidden a few wacky voice notes in it as a sort of ambiance. It can be heard in the second verse or whatever you wanna call it. You clearly hear Jerry laughing about something, but I can’t remember what it was.
It’s track no.3 from our ‘My Friends’ EP which has a total of 6 tracks. It was released via Perfect Havoc on 29th September.
6 — What are your emotions when your music receives recognition and praise from other producers in the industry?
It’s always so much fun to get praise from your peers and colleagues. These people live and breathe music and probably hear way more stuff than the average listener, so I guess they tend to be less impressed by music.
Haha most definitely. I started out with French House which evolved into Nu-Disco. I later jumped on the Tropical House train (quite early on in my defense). Left that and tried something cooler with my track “ABER,” and from there, it’s been more of a mix between UK and Deep House.
8 — Is there any specific music genre you’re eager to explore?
Old School Disco and Soul. I’m a big fan of the 70s as a whole, that’s why I’ve bought a few vintage Roland pieces in my studio and a Rhodes Piano.
9 — Considering the global nature of music today, are there any international artists you’d love to collaborate with?
I love Jungle right now, for reasons made quite obvious in the previous question. They’ve mastered this cool retro 70’s/Motown sound and yet managed to make it sound fresh somehow. I’d love to just hang out in the studio with them and see what they do.
10 — As we conclude, do you feel that there’s a certain formula that artists can follow to produce chart-topping hits?
Nowadays, it’s all about doing something that stands out from what everyone else is doing and probably also adding a sprinkle of nostalgia and familiarity into something. A good example is the new Peggy Gou record which is a massive hit that takes inspiration from ATB but puts it in a new and interesting context. It doesn’t hurt to have a massive TikTok following either lol.
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From Drummer To EDM Producer: Kouss Opens Up About “Can’t Go Back”
You must read this interview with Kouss! He used to rock it as a badass drummer in the Stellar Revival band, but now he’s spilling the beans about how he switched things up and got into making electronic dance music (EDM). The spotlight is now on his latest track, “Can’t Go Back.” Learn more here.
1 — Putting your sound into words, how would you convey the mood and sensations that your music evokes to someone unfamiliar with it?
My music aims to be an uplifting and thoughtful blend of Progressive House and Dance-Pop. Even though the music is very dancefloor-friendly, the songwriting is very Pop-forward. I also love mixing live instrumentation with electronic production to create layered recordings. As a drummer, having live elements mesh with the electronic really brings out a unique texture.
2 — Your transition from Rock music with Stellar Revival to EDM is quite remarkable. Can you tell us more about it?
The transition from Rock to EDM is an exciting and natural creative evolution. I’ve always been passionate about electronic music, so finally being able to fully immerse myself in the genre as a producer and songwriter has been fulfilling. My background as a touring Rock drummer also gives me a unique musical sensibility that I try to incorporate into Kouss Records.
3 — As a drummer, you had to adapt to a different genre. How did you translate your rhythmic background into this new realm?
When approaching any genre, especially Dance music, I’m utilizing my background in percussion to create grooves and drum patterns. The drum parts still come from the same creative place whether I’m sitting behind a drum set or drawing with a MIDI controller. I will say that with EDM I find myself focused more on groove and restraint.
4 — In what ways have Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta played a role in shaping the sound of your new single “Can’t Go Back”?
Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta definitely influenced the melodic and atmospheric vibes in “Can’t Go Back.” Their music motivates and challenges me to produce massive soundscapes on the highest level. They’re all melodic magicians, and I continue to be inspired by their work. I also feel like I put my own spin on “Can’t Go Back.” It’s almost like the line between EDM and Pop became blurrier on this track.
5 — What’s the story behind the song title?
“Can’t Go Back” is generally about moving forward and not dwelling on the past. For me personally, it’s about evolving as an artist and person.
I was introduced to Anna soon after starting the Kouss project by “Can’t Go Back” co-producer and dear friend Phil Barnes. The second I heard Anna sing I knew I wanted to work with her. She’s an incredible songwriter and an awesome human. It was an organic collaboration that we’re both stoked about. Definitely be on the lookout for more collaborations with Anna in the future!
7 — How do you aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through this single?
I aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through the authenticity and musicality of “Can’t Go Back.” It’s about delivering that special feeling to the listener. We crafted this recording from a place of passion as artists. The lyrics are relatable and cathartic, and Anna’s vocals draw you into this sonic world we created. We also tap into some nostalgia with the Big Room House vibe. But overall the goal was to give listeners an authentic musical experience that resonates with them, regardless of what genre they usually listen to.
Yes, “Can’t Go Back” mixes electronic production with live drumming and live guitars. The live instruments give the song a dynamic texture and human feel. Not every Kouss song will have live instruments, but it’s definitely a major part of the debut EP coming in 2024.
9 — Looking ahead, how do you envision your music style evolving?
I want to continue bridging the gap between organic and electronic. Creatively, I think there’s a lot of meat on that bone. I also don’t want to limit myself to a single genre or style. I love all types of music and ultimately hope to develop a sound that draws from those diverse influences and experiences.
10 — Lastly, reflecting on your journey so far, what’s been the most memorable or rewarding moment of your music career?
Working with talented musicians and creators who are excited about my music has been humbling and inspiring. I didn’t expect it, but the reaction to “Can’t Go Back” has been both unexpected and validating. It’s so cool to see the song played in clubs, gyms, and cars. I’m truly fortunate to share my passion for music and connect with listeners who share the same passion.