'Islam's biggest rock star' coming

Posted on June 10th, 2012

The New Paper
Sunday, Jun 10, 2012

It’s a genre he created, but British-Muslim artiste Sami Yusuf said the “spiritique” that informs his songs can be found in modern pop music.

“Much of (British rock group) Coldplay’s music for me is spiritique. It can be regarded as profoundly spiritual,” he told The New Paper in April, when he was in town for a press conference.

Sami, 31, who was named “Islam’s biggest rock star” by TIME magazine in 2005, will bring his Salaam concert to the Singapore Indoor Stadium on July 8.

“Spiritique” is the genre he coined for himself after releasing his third album, Wherever You Are, in 2010.

He did so to fight against being pigeonholed as an artiste who made Islamic pop songs only for Muslims.

His songs, he said, should transcend specific faiths.

“Essentially, my genre of music is a synthesis of East and West, my Eastern heritage and my Western side,” said the singer, who is of Azerbaijani origin and was born in Teheran, but raised in London.

“I myself follow the spiritual tradition of Islam, but everyone has their own traditions. The main thing is to be connected at some level.

“I hope everybody will relate to my music. It’s not for any particular religious group or organisation,” he said.

Part of Sami’s ability to transcend faiths is his keenness to collaborate with a variety of artistes, including British singer Conner Reeves and most recently, The Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown.

Upcoming album

Brown wrote lyrics for the song, Give The Young A Chance, for Sami’s upcoming album, Salaam.

“I respect him a lot. Every time we speak on the phone, he says, ‘Assalamualaikum’ (Arabic for ‘peace be upon you’),” said Sami.

For Salaam, he will be collaborating with Malaysian pop queen Siti Nurhaliza, who will also be the opening act for his concert here next month.

Sami, who has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide, has gained fans of all faiths.

While in Singapore in April, he said a Caucasian man from Australia paused to talk to him while he was having supper at a 24-hour coffee shop.

Sami recalled: “He asked, ‘Are you Sami Yusuf? I sent you an e-mail about how your song, Make Me Strong, was so beautiful. I’m a devout Christian, but your songs transcend any organised religion’.”

WHAT: Sami Yusuf Salaam Concert
WHEN: July 8, 8pm
WHERE: Singapore Indoor Stadium
TICKETS: $68, $98, $128, $158 and $188 from Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)


This article was first published in The New Paper.