By Cesilia Faustina
Photography by Kathleen Euler
“Explaining what I do, it’s a pain in the ass. What I do is not my job, making money is different, I can make money out of a lot of things, I do this for me. It’s for my own sanity, it make me feel good, it’s my own drug of choice,”
Ismail Dawood is a Jordan-born Sudanese that takes advantage of musicians for his work, literally.
“I do art, mostly,” he said.
“I don’t know how to describe it; I like music and I like making music.
“I like having musicians around me, I like having creative people around me, so mostly I use people for my work, literally.
“My work depends on other people somehow. At some point, I can’t do it alone. So this is what I do.”
Born from a Jordanian mother and a Sudanese father this musician took advantaged of his network to create something that works for him.
“For example, I make beats and at some point, when I’m making a beat, I sample music from other people – that’s how I use other people for my work,”
“I take a sample, I put it on a drum loop and I just make it sound different.
“I just make it my own somehow and at some point, it’s amazing because somebody did something for a reason.
“Seeing other people making something out of what this person did, it makes it last forever somehow.”
This process, however, is not the easiest thing to do.
“Explaining what I do, it’s a pain in the ass,” he said.
“What I do is not my job, making money is different, I can make money out of a lot of things, I do this for me.
“It’s for my own sanity, it makes me feel good, it’s my own drug of choice.”
Jordan’s creative industry is continuously expanding, however, it is not the country’s top economic priority.
According to an EU-funded report Developing Creative Industries in Jordan A Call to Action, the total government spending on cultural activities was less than one percent of the government budget; along with very limited business opportunities in the creative industry.
“Jordan makes it difficult, it’s not doing anything for my music, it’s making it harder, but I guess in some way it’s more personal,” Ismail explained.
“The thing is, when somebody asks me what I do, I have to explain it and it takes a lot of time usually.
“And whenever I have a party; you see people in Jordan, they’re different.
“They like what they like; new ideas are difficult for everybody because Jordan is small and young and doing something new, doing something nobody does.
“It’s so hard for people to accept that, and at some point, you have to explain yourself and that takes the time you don’t have mostly, so that’s my biggest challenge.”
Ismail saw that to do something that meant a lot to you was a great thing, but you didn’t always need a goal behind it.
“What I hope from myself is I would like to see my work inspire other people, that’s what I would like to see most, but it’s not a goal,” he said.
“I’m not actually working or do what I do for that.
“I just do it to the point that I’m satisfied; I can hear my work and actually be happy about it.
“I don’t know, it’s not a hobby because hobbies are lame, it’s just something I do for myself, basically.”
The art of making music
“For you to like it, for you to hear it, it’s for you to accept it. Mostly other people won’t because they’re used to other stuff but it’s unique because I think it’s mine, that’s what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to make it as mine as I can,”
Ismail said he started his journey after attending a music workshop by his friend.
“I had a friend, he had a workshop for rappers, it was sponsored by an NGO, so he decided to invite me to see if I was interested and he did and I was,” he said.
“That was maybe eight more years ago.
“He taught me how to rap, to produce, how to do audio engineering, we used to do shows all over Amman and it was so fun.
“I used to go there every Friday to do music; it was the best time I’ve enjoyed music ever, it was amazing.”
Ismail explained that making his music was just about doing it – not based on a specific process.
“I make music from time, which I have a lot since I don’t have a job; so time.
“I just do music; I watch something – I would watch a movie – the movie is done, I’m bored and I would be making music.”
Check out the full version on Soundcloud
Collaborating with a different range of sounds, Ismail said he hoped to create a unique sound that represented him.
“Well I do hip hop, soul, and music in general but mostly hip hop,” he said.
“My kind of hip hop is just me and I try to do what other people do but eventually, it’s me.
“For you to like it, for you to hear it, it’s for you to accept it,” he explained.
“Mostly other people won’t because they’re used to other stuff, but it’s unique because I think it’s mine, that’s what I’m trying to do.
“I’m trying to make it as mine as I can.
“I can be inspired, I can use other people’s work but it’s to the point where I can do something for me — completely for me.”
What the future holds
“I just want to be satisfied eventually. It’s not money or fame I guess – I’m not even trying to make any lately – it’s satisfaction. I’m just trying to get to this point where, when I’m doing music – when I’m doing whatever the thing I do – I feel happy and I do now.”
Ismail saw music as something fun and has continued to do it as simply something he enjoyed. Not seeing fame as a certain obligation, he would rather just enjoy the flow.
“I would like to see my music on your phone in the future,” he said.
“I wish I can get famous, I’m not trying, but I wish I can; if it happens, it happens.”
As a hip hop artist, Ismail stated the importance of self-confidence and a lesson he learned through his journey.
“That people suck,” he said.
“In music, it’s all about ignoring the people around you.
“If I focus on everything people like, then I won’t be able to do anything; so yeah, people suck.”
“I just want to be satisfied eventually,” Ismail explained why he did what he did.
“It’s not money or fame I guess – I’m not even trying to make any lately – it’s satisfaction.
“I’m just trying to get to this point where, when I’m doing music – when I’m doing whatever the thing I do – I feel happy and I do now.
“I’ll be happier in the future.”
Ismail Dawood is a 25 years old Jordan-born Sudanese artist. He creates music through the use of other musician’s work. He mostly does hip hop – with your occasional soul. He has been in the music industry for eight years and is looking to continue on.
Show your support by checking out his music at Soundcloud!