SAUDI’s GOLDEN BOY: THE NEW SOUND OF VIRAL STAR MISHAAL TAMER
“We are opening up to the world and returning to how we once were in an even stronger way”
At only 22 years of age, you’d expect Mishaal Tamer to have a less than modest demeanour to his newfound fame. However, the young Saudi singer-songwriter is nothing but humble. Tamer dropped his first song ‘Arabian Knights’ in December 2019, with an accompanying video he shot in Jeddah. The track, in which he sings in Arabic, Spanish, and English, garnered three million views on YouTube, and millions in streams on Spotify. And the rest in history. Fast-forward to present tense, and he’s now garnered a cult following. With an upcoming LP comprised of 5 chapters, each to be released systematically over a 12-month timespan, the young singer-songwriter is redefining the genre that he pioneered in the first instance. We sit down with Tamer and unravel what makes him tick and how important mental health representation is for his music.
What is the meaning behind the title of your next LP Home is Changing?
Home is Changing is, in its essence, a story of self-discovery through the journey into adolescence. But it also references the changes happening here at home. We are opening up to the world and returning to how we once were in an even stronger way. With our youth full of creativity and our eyes aimed at the endless possibilities of vision 2030, the sky is the limit.
How have you evolved musically since you initially rose to prominence?
When I first began I didn’t even have a proper microphone so I would use my Xbox mic to record all my music. So the music was lofi, not by choice but simply by nature.
Today anyone with a laptop can make a song and upload it onto streaming platforms and i believe this is a beautiful thing, the world has become full of music. People have not only become more open to music from around the globe but also to new sounds that they otherwise may not have even wanted to hear.
My dream and what I’ve been working on is giving the world a new sound that comes from the youth of my country. Coming back to KSA I have been greatly inspired by my roots and the beauty that can be found here. Immersing myself in this as well as what other gen z and I have been enjoying since the years our country has been opening up again has inspired me greatly.
Blending music we love with the music that makes us who we are; This is the sound that I wish to give the world, this is S-Pop.
“My dream and what I’ve been working on is giving the world a new sound that comes from the youth of my country”
Your next album is structured in a sequenced release over a 12-month timespan. What led you to divide it into such a specific format with one track dedicated to each month?
Because a big part of Home is Changing is that it tells the story of a climb out of depression (and that is no easy climb). It’s actually my story of the past couple years since disappearing from the online world.
Mental health is a topic that is very close to my heart and so I wanted to craft this with the utmost care.
It will be told in five chapters, each as an EP five songs long, and each covering a different stage of this journey out of the darkness.
Chapter 1: The Deep
Chapter 2: The Love
Chapter 3: The Heartbreak
Chapter 4: The Dream
Chapter 5: The Return
It begins at rock bottom (Home is Changing chapter 1: THE DEEP) going down to whatever dark hole the listener may be in with empathy
And then taking the listener from that place of isolation and pain on this journey where
eventually through love, heartbreak and dreams we reach a place where one is open to the world once again, only this time stronger.
(Home is Changing chapter 5: THE RETURN)
In a sense I suppose the destination is also in a way the return to our inner child. The beautiful soul that is full of wonder, creativity and open to the endless possibilities of the future.
I believe this parallels the changes happening here at home. Home IS changing, and with 70% of our population under the age of 30 Saudi Arabia has never had so many bright young minds. We are brimming with creativity, and all eyes are on us,
I believe it’s about time we show the world what we’ve got.
“Mental health is a topic that is very close to my heart and so I wanted to craft this with the utmost care”
What do you think is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced as a musician?
Definitely myself. My mental health. It’s not an easy thing to talk about and That’s why this project means so much to me, Because I’m finally talking. I know what it’s like to be in there in the deep. It feels hopeless…I just hope that sharing my journey out of that place may give someone out there hope. Or atleast show them it’s okay to talk about it too.
Which one of the tracks is most important to you and why?
“TYSM” it’s an unreleased song and it will be the outro to Home is Changing. It means “Thank You So Much” and it’s a thank you letter to all my fans old and new.
What is the most important thing that you want your fans to take away from your music?
This music was originally intended and written for myself. I would listen to it and it was my therapy, my way to not give up. So I suppose that is the message to take away from my music as a whole:
Don’t give up.
How would you define yourself as a musician in KSA’s current creative landscape?
We as a country have only just begun, the music industry for example is still in its infancy. I’m just grateful to have been born in this incredible time among other creatives across the country where we can shape the landscape for those who see our kingdom, and to pave the way for those to come.
What is style to you?
To me it doesn’t matter what art form we’re talking about, when we talk about style It’s that touch of yourself, that nobody else has because it’s simply you. And nobody can be you better than yourself.
More is more or less is more?
Less, simplicity with attention to detail is best in my opinion.
What is authenticity to you?
Authenticity is honesty with yourself projected to the world around you.
Photography by: Abanoub Ramsis