Avel’s spoken words

He was in stark contrast to the tranquil backdrop of the flowing river, bright sun and waddling ducks. With his arms folded, defenses up and a stern look, he appears to be your average macho 21-year-old but after talking to Avel Isra his intimidating persona begins to slowly shed. Revealing  a man of raw emotion, inspiration and drive.

Just when you thought the music industry was saturated with artists who appeal only to the screaming teeny boppers of the world, Avel Isras’s music, humor and humility appeals to all ages and senses.

Anoujoum has this exclusive interview with up-coming local new artist and musician, Avel Isra.

Tell me a little about yourself

Basically I’m into music. I love anything creative… most people might consider me weird. I have a natural and unique taste in music and everything else… for example I love nature. I’ve also got a really strong sense of culture and exploring those cultures and reflecting that through my music.

You’re still at university, what are you studying?

I’m currently doing geo-physics which is basically geology with applied physics. I don’t know how I got into that… like I said I love nature so I thought it would be a good thing to do.

You consider yourself and artist. Can you tell me what your fondest memory of music is?

The best thing I can remember was when I was five, I just heard Michael Jackson and…he was one of my biggest inspirations. I was always dancing to him even from a young age, my mum use to tell me I would have the headphones on and just bumping to it. I… I also like Usher. The first time I ever sang was in grade five and it was a cover of ‘Let It Burn’ (laughs) …one of my teachers started crying… I don’t know why. I think they must have been proud.

At what point did you decide to get into music?

I was always into music… like my dad play Turkish instruments, my mum sings, one of my uncles sings and the other plays guitar. So we are all a pretty musical family. I first got into producing around the age of 13… it’s pretty much a family tradition. My family had a huge impact on me especially growing up with a musical family… I think it was meant to be.

Musically who is your inspiration, you mention Michael Jackson and Usher…who else?

At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Florence and the machine, Lana Del Ray, Frank Ocean, the Weeknd… he is probably one of my favourite artists at the moment. I also went through a huge Carlos Santana phase. I actually started guitar because of Carlos Santana… so I have a huge range of inspirational artists not just your typical ones.

You mention the guitar, what’s your favourite instrument to play?

My favourite instrument is the guitar. I play the piano and a couple of other instruments but my favourite is the guitar because when I first started that was the first instrument I started on … I was playing the flamenco … it shaped my music over the years and then I drifted from genre to genre.

What’s your family’s reaction to your music?

My family was just happy with me doing music in my room. My dad even made a few guitars, he is a custom guitar maker. I then started focussing on my voice and then… um… it was all like a hobby until it took over school. My marks started dropping and my dad said, “you know you are going to have to boost your marks, so put them away.” I went through a period of my life with no music and it was very stressful. I remember while I was studying for the HSC I use to write lyrics in secret. Any ideas I had I use to sing them into my phone and record it or wrote the lyrics somewhere.

After the HSC I locked myself in the room for two weeks and finished recording all the material I had saved up . My dad always use to say, “Do it for fun but I’m not going to have a son who is a producer …what are people going to say?” (he impersonates his dad’s voice and laughs) But after that he saw me keep at it, but I knew deep down he was always supportive, he was just scared because it’s such a competitive industry and is risky. I don’t count on it (music) to make a living but it’s what I love to do. He understood that and said, “Alright he is going to uni for a career but is still doing music,” he got that. After that when I got signed to a production team he was happy for me to persue it. He gave me a talk one day and said, “so many people told you not to do it, but the good thing is you kept doing it and you actually got somewhere.” I even get my dad to record with his instruments sometimes.

You just released your first album, ‘The Words Not Spoken’. What has the process involved and what’s the journey been like?

This album was two years coming. I went through different stages of my life. The first year of producing was adapting and learning new sounds and this last year has been trying to come up with my unique sound and make my music reflect who I am. I went through 30-50 songs and actually re-arranged the album. At first it was suppose to be RnB and Hip Hop… I thought, “No I want to mix it.” So I scrapped the whole album and started from scratch. I was mostly happy with this one. We produced the songs with my friend Mark who has a dance track on there. I have another collaboration with Christian King who is doing a lot of acoustic pop. I did the lyrics in the spur of the moment. I always do the instrumentals first. I usually come up with the song concept first then go away with it and think of lyrics and the vibe.

What song from the album is your favourite and why?

My favourite song would have to be ‘Unplug’… that song is pretty much my raw emotion. I put in everything I had into that song. I was in the studio with my eyes closed and signing the lyrics and…yea it was very emotional.

When will you be releasing the video for ‘Unplug’?

Well I am in talks with directors at the moment. One of the people who is collaborate with me for the video clips and photography is William Tune, he is a really good mate and is very talented. We are probably going to do 2-3 clips, and definitely unplug will be one. There is also a secret one too, but all will be revealed.

What has been the worse advice you have received?

(Laughs)The worse was from my dad… (laughs) I spent about two weeks on a track. I put everything into it and everyone loved it. It had great reviews and was a very emotional song. When my dad heard it for the first time he just said, “It’s too repetitive, scrap it, just throw it out.” I thought, “Wow, no I’m not throwing it out.” My dad has very good musical taste and likes complex sounds so he knows what he is talking about. He doesn’t give criticism to be annoying he is trying to teach me that not everyone’s music is the same. I don’t want to appeal to the teeny-boppers I want it to appeal to everyone of all ages and backgrounds. It made me readjust my direction.

So we have spoken about music, family and studies… I can’t let you go without asking…what about women? Are you single?

(Laughs) Yes I am single…. In a woman I look for the eye shape… I don’t know I like everything else. If a woman is beautiful she is beautiful but for me I have something for the eye shape. It’s also about the connection if we talk and we connect then that’s important. Saying that, most of the girls I meet we end up being friends anyway. If I am friends with a girl, that’s it. I wouldn’t try anything else.

Can you give me five quick facts about yourself?

I’m a perfectionist.

I don’t sleep much.

I’m a strong believer in equality. Nobody is more superior to anyone else. No one should be looked down on.

I’m honest- straight up.

I’ve always wanted to go somewhere random where I haven’t been. Like Canada or Spain.

What do you want people to take away from you as an artist?

For other artists I would advise that because everyone is different and unique you need to reflect that in your music. That for me is the most important thing. I want to make my kind of songs and music that speaks to different people not something that is already out there.

…and by the looks of things Avel Isra’s unique sound seems to have found its rightful listeners.

If you want to hear more about Avel Isra and listen to his music, including covers you can find him on facebook Avel Isra or follow him on twitter @Avelisra.

Widyan Al Ubudy.

As published in Anoujoum magazine

~ by widyanalubudy on September 6, 2012.

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