By Linda Harris
By Linda Harris
Morocco World News
Barcelona, March 28, 2012
Morocco World News recently talked to Moroccan American recording artist Yones, a popular international singer and producer, who just released the smash-hit “My life”.
Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Yones emigrated to the United States with his family when he was still in high school. In America, he initially settled in Boston, Massachusetts to pursue studies, but a long time love for popular music and club promotion soon blossomed into the desire to make music his life time career. The wish to make music, and a drive to succeed, eventually lead Yones to Orlando, Florida where he began to network with local artist and producers.
Orlando is what Yones calls ‘a sleeping city’ because of the vast amount of talent there. Known as the Capital of Pop Music, the city is ripe with creativity, inspiration, and opportunity for artists to work together, and Orlando has indeed launched the careers of some of the greatest international singers known today.
Just out of high school, Yones found himself in the middle of all these talented people, eager to learn. His singing career began in the studio when a producer suggested that Yones go behind the mic. He had caught the ear of the studio when he proposed and then began to create English language music which mixed in Arabic language, and sounds that were influenced by his Moroccan roots.
In a sense, it is his life as an immigrant that most impacted his creativity in music. Having lived in two countries, Yones has come to see the world as an international place, where art can flourish without borders. He thinks of himself as the founder of a special style of music, which is a fusion of international sounds from Latin, Arab, and American Electronic pop. It is, indeed, a style completely different that anyone has ever done before and the rhythmic sounds and creative samples are a testament to Yones incredible talent.
Language is an important aspect of Yones’ originality and music, which is a fusion of world languages and sounds – symbiotic international sounds that form the foundation of his art. Many Moroccans are raised in at least three languages and the desire to communicate his music through an international sound is a natural extension of his cultural heritage. “I am going after a style that has not been done before. My sound and message of the music is to reach out to all the part of the world so that the listeners feel that they are, in some way, being represented. I am trying to do what my audience understands and what they can relate to. I want my music to always be as international as possible because that is who I am.”
Yones is signed with the record company S.P.i.C. Entertainment/ Sony Music US Latin. This division of Sony is a perfect match for Yones who is extremely popular in the Latin market. Here, Yones can freely experiment with international sounds and various music styles, some of which include variations of opera, Spanish rhythms, rap, and traditional singing. One offspring of this partnership with Sony is the newly released mega hit “My Life”, which is currently being played in clubs and radios across the world.
In the production of the song, the Arabic part was a last minute thing. “The melody that came through for me, in the song; it was Arabic melody. I had to transform that melody into words, and some of those words had to be Arabic. A lot of people really loved it. Music is a message of the heart,” says Yones, and his heart is one that is open to the diversity of peoples and styles that flourish through the world. “When we work in the studio,” he says “negative things, and issues of religion and politics never come across because the shared religion in the studio is just to create and for all the artists to get along. When we are together, we feel a lot of love and support from each other. Everyone is rooting for you because they see how hard you work – they see you not giving up.”
Yones takes his personal inspiration from his fans. “Every day is a step forward. I have not stepped back. I see the music business as a mountain I have to conquer, and I do it one step at the time. I never look down.”
But, needless to say, making it on the international music scene is a difficult task. On the hard days, Yones focuses in on why he does music to begin with. “I want to create happiness in the world,” he says. “Every time I log on to my computer, I read all the positive comments I get from my fans, thanking me for making music that makes a difference in their life. One of the most moving emails I have ever received was from a couple who wrote that [the song] “My Life” saved their marriage.” This communication with his fan base keeps this young talent inspired and motivated to keep pursuing his dream of reaching the very top.
It was a combination of hard work, creativity, talent, dedication, support, and motivation that ultimately lead to the release of the international hit “My Life.” The song features Yones singing, as well as the the Cuban American singer Giselle, and the rapper DNY.
Listen to Yones’ hit “My Life” here:
Yones plans to launch his first album sometime early next year, while 4 new singles will be dropping this year. Younes often travels throughout the US and performs in venues from Miami to Los Angeles. He has a large event scheduled in Dallas, Texas and he is currently working on scheduling an international tour that includes Morocco.
The single “My Life” is already topping the charts in Latin America, Australia, Europe, and North Africa.
Through his management group, Yones works with a team who promotes music in North Africa and throughout the Middle East. His single plays regularly on Moroccan radio, and is a club favorite.
Another song by Yones is the smash hit “I love you Morocco”; a dedication of his deep love for the kingdom. Inspired by his mother to write something for his home nation in connection with the Green March holiday and the Moroccan Independence Day celebrations, Yones felt it naturally to write about what he knows best; expressing love through music.
Yones is the only musician in his family and the first to pursue a music career. “I would not be able to do this without their support and motivation,” he says. “My late father came from a poor family, but excelled in school and earned a scholarship to become an engineer. My mother is a fashion designer. Everyone in my family is supporting me 100%. Being the only musician in the family, I was worried how they would feel about my career, but every single person in my family has been supportive. Without them it would be difficult to get through the hard days. Their love and support makes me feel empowered. I wrote this song as a way to give back. I wanted Morocco to be proud of me.”
“I love you Morocco” became an instant hit, which, within 48 hours of its release, played non-stop on radio stations around Morocco and boasted more than 84,000 downloads on Youtube. Knowing that internet access and purchase power is limited for many Moroccans, Yones put out the single for free, as a gift to his Moroccan fans and family. He is currently in studio working on resampling the song to be relaunched as a single in the near future.
Yones was the first to release a single about Morocco in English, two years before another Moroccan artist, known as RedOne, produced a similar song. “This is what music is about”, says Yones. Artists use music to express their feelings and appreciation. “Music is about love,” he says. “I really don’t want to get involved in politics or religion [through my music]. I just want everything to be peaceful.” Yones sees himself, first and foremost as someone who creates positive experiences through his music. The single “I love Morocco” expresses that feeling.
“I wanted to do something for Morocco. I wanted to send a message of love – a song from my heart, to my audience – here is what I am. RedOne did something great for our country with his single too. It shows you that [as Moroccans] no matter where we go, no matter where we live, we are always going to go back and show our love and support and our respect to our native country. No matter how many years we live outside the country, our roots are still there…”
Link up with Yones here:
Linda Harris was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. After completing high-school, Ms Harris emigrated to the United States where she has lived since and continues to have a home. She has a BA in Psychology with minors in Religion and Philosophy, Magna cum Laude, from the University of North Florida. She also holds a MA in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics from the University of North Florida. Ms. Harris has worked as an Instructor and has taught Philosophy to students at Daytona State College, Florida for 3 years, as well as International Relations Theory at the University of Florida. She is currently working on her PhD in Philosophy, which involves data collection and research in Morocco. Her research includes ethics of gender, religion, and cultural identity in Morocco and in Moroccan immigrant communities. She currently resides in Spain. She is Morocco World News correspondent in Spain.
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