Time magazine hails him as "Islam's biggest rockstar", and this morning, Iran-born British "Spiritique" artist Sami Yusuf was a guest on Malaysia Hari Ini. Sitting together with us was also Indonesia's own nasyid star Opick.
Indeed it was a great thrill and honour to have Sami with us especially since we've been playing hisAsma Al Husna music video countless times on the show. Honestly, I never thought that one day he would be joining us on the show!
Sami was here to promote his upcoming fourth album, Salaam. And even better news for his fans, Sami will be staging his first concert in Malaysia on the 14th of July! So mark that date on your calendars people! He also revealed that tomorrow, he would be recording a duet with our very own Dato' Siti Nurhaliza. How cool is that?
Here are excerpts of the interview:
Q: Nasyid is popular in Malaysia and the region in general. But you call your brand of nasyid as "spiritique". Are you surprised, or not surprised by the success of spiritique which has travelled far and wide across the world?
A: I have a different opinion on the whole concept of Islamic music and Islamic art. I believe we have Islamic sacred music. I don't think it's the correct word to use just because we have some Islamic words in it, that's my opinion. I believe there's good art, and there's bad art. There's good music, and there's bad music. I personally didn't know what nasyid was. I come from a classical background and my father's a composer. The only nasyid I knew was when someone gave me the music of Raihan. That was when I got to know what nasyid was. For me, it's been an absolute pleasure since 2003. I've been blessed by God. I get to travel around the world, greeted by heads of state, performing at arenas and stadium. It's been daunting and surprising at the same time. And I'm very honoured to be here in Malaysia. The concert in Malaysia in July is going to be an absolute pleasure.
Q: You were born in Iran and grew up in England. What was that experience like?
It's beautiful. It's amazing to know the traditions of the east and west. England's a beautiful country with a lovely history. Our national dish is the curry! It's a great thing to know different cultures and backgrounds. The more you learn, the more you realise that we're quite identical on the macro level. One thing I try to do through spiritique is to remind us of that. That we are, ultimately, one human family. And this upcoming tour of mine is about that, about salaam and unity, and bringing people together.
Q: How have you yourself grown as an artist and how have your success and travels impacted your own life.
A: That's a good and complicated question. Well, the more I've travelled, the more I've understood that we are very similar. And as I get older, I have a deeper sense of appreciation for everything traditional. Traditional music, culture, everything. I find myself being at odds with the modern world. But I think that fundamentally, the power of music is a great way of bringing people together. I have been fortunate and blessed to be part of that experience.