Live Chat Update:
Due to a massive demand, not all users were able to join the Live Chat. We sincererly apologise for the difficulty but thank you to everyone who was able to join us! Please also check the Facebook Fan Page where many comments can be read.
Highlights from the Chat Session:
A: It is no secret that for the past couple of years I have failed to release an album. Part of that reason has been due to a lack of ‘inspiration’ and other reasons have included me not feeling that I’m adding any more ‘value’. I could’ve easily released ‘another’ “al-Muallim” or “My Ummah” style album that would have, probably, sold in the millions but I chose not to because I am and will always be, God Willing, an artist who stays true to his heart and message. I can’t just release and album because there happens to be demand, I’m not a businessman ☺ The new official album I’m working on is a compilation of personal experiences I’ve gone through in these 6 years, particularly the past 2 years. Subjects such as betrayal, hurt, frustration, Forgiveness and the Love of God and His messenger Muhammad SAS and how His love and Mercy is what has kept me going… In a nutshell, the album is much more intimate, and reflects me in 2009!
A: Wow, I’m involved with a lot of things at the moment but the one project I’m most proud of is being the Global Ambassador for Silatech (http://www.silatech.com/en/section/who-we-are), an entity formed by the First Lady of Qatar with the aim of creating employment in the MENA area. It’s something we so desperately need in our time – Sound and Wise leadership focusing on ‘helping people help themselves’. It’s a real honour to be part of it mA. I’m also proud and honoured to be receiving my Honorary Phd from Roehampton University next week iA! Just days away ☺
For the long-term, I think I will be setting up my own charity iA. Something focusing on Domestic Violence or Women trapped in horrendous situations! Unfortunately, a lot of the time they go to their local Imam only to be told that they should have “Sabr.” No one should have to live through such moments – even if were just a ‘moment’.
What I’m most excited about these days (other than my album of course) is to set up a new Record Company I’m hoping to establish soon that focuses on developing talent and getting real, pure and honest art out there to the public iA.
A: Absolutely, and I, unintentionally I must add, played a part in creating this. I would argue that it’s not just the Music Scene, but some of us as Muslims commercialising (albeit, most of the time unintentionally) Islam in our own ways . In my case, I was a ‘guinea pig’ of some sort. A ‘test’ in a laboratory paving the way for future ‘tests’ (artists) to arise. In retrospect, the whole ‘Wow’ factor was in many ways unhealthy because it was being done in the name of Allah SWT and His messenger. I have been very fortunate because of my background and years of training to have been able keep my sanity and humanity intact. If it would have been anybody else, God knows what would have happened to them! They could be on Drugs, have severe depression etc. I have seen with my own eyes, what the dangers in creating some kind of utopian ‘perfect’ image can bring. I saw people who started to pray but then simply stopped or girls who wore the Hijab but then removed it ALL because they felt ‘let down’ by certain self-righteous individuals who presented themselves as ‘super-human’ when in fact were more human than we could ever imagine. I think religion (ISLAM) is sacred/holy and people should think twice before choosing to make it their business to contantly make others feel they’re ‘not worthy’ or even worse ‘they’ll never be worthy’. No one is perfect, and we are all on our own individual journeys. We have to make sure that our antennas are ALL in tune and in line with Him first and foremost before some of us, God-Forbid, appear ‘holier than thou.’ What is the conclusion one may I ask? The conclusion is that rather than thinking how we should ‘Islamize’ one another, let’s focus on becoming the BEST in our fields and contributing to Humanity and the Ummah through our fields. We shouldn’t rely on being ’pious’ alone to save us from our terrible situation. We need people to be the best in their fields and to work become assets to humanity and our Ummah – AND be faithful at the same time. Hence, “I’m an artist then a Muslim.” ☺ ‘Islam’ shouldn’t be the ingredient that’s selling YOU or ME, it should be our skills and the value we can add to Humanity and the Ummah at large.
A: I’m not aware of any specific campaign, but I do know that my former company is requesting TV channels not to air my Music Videos. Also, removed most of my videos off Youtube. I was so proud that as a Muslim artist I had, by the grace of God almighty, accumulated a collective viewership of 30 million hits through my Music videos. Unfortunately, ALL those videos were removed and subsequently uploaded again which reset the counter to Zero. It’s not the end of the world though, God is most just and kind ☺ I’m very hopeful and excited about the future.
A: Michael Jackson has influenced EVERY single Artist in the 20th and 21st Century – at least on some level. Those who deny this are simply being unfair! May he RIP.
A: The songs that are closest to my heart are the ones that are deeply personal: “al-Muallim”, “Mohammad SAS” and definitely ALL the new songs in the upcoming album!
A: I remember having a light-hearted chat with a friend about a year ago, and he said “Sami, when your name is mentioned, people think you’re a billionaire!!” I was literally on my knees laughing ☺ I feel like a millionaire or better yet, a “Billionaire” in Barakah and blessings ☺ Whether it’s the countless duas and kind messages I receive on a daily basis or just being able to inspire others to reach their dreams – Praise be to God for everything ☺ However, in monetary forms I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a man who’s very much in debt. Look at ALL the established artists around the world, during the first 5-10 years of their careers they earned virtually nothing – or very little. I have earned virtually nothing from my album sales and 100% nothing from ringtones, videos being aired, Publishing, sponsorship payments etc. What is seen on TV is not reflective of the Truth. All the flare/hype is very much part of Show Business ☺. What I have earned has been through my concerts (which don’t happen very much as I’m selective). Unfortunately my brothers and sisters, what started out with a pure intention to serve my faith, the Ummah and humanity has now turned into a BIG lucrative business. It is THIS very business I’m trying to distance myself from. I will continue to make music with the same spirit I had when making Al-Muallim (SAS) until God takes me from this World iA.
A: I hope to be starting a World Tour with the release of my official album. But currently, there are a few concerts lined up all of which can be viewed on my official website: www.samiyusufofficial.com
A: Wow, the price one has to pay when becoming famous ☹ Wallahi, This is why I always prayed to God to not make me famous because I saw at first glance what people had to go through – whether it was the musical environment I was involved in prior to releasing al-Muallim, or witnessing what occurred with the likes of Princess Diana and other famous icons. It’s a very cruel and hard life to deal with. I have to say though, it hasn’t been too bad for me, but you only have to have a ‘few’ disgruntled individuals with an agenda to spread horrible lies about someone and try to defame him/her for people to start believing the rumours. For the record, ALL of my musical compositions, lyrics and songs have come sincerely from my heart and are connected to God and/or His messenger SAS at some level. The problem is that I can’t make ‘religiously -orienated’ songs my business. I simply cannot and will not. I refuse to sing Devotional songs about our Nabi SAS purely for financial gain! I’d rather pack up my bags and never sing again! Unfortunately, my name has become a ‘brand’ and a lot of people have been ‘cashing in’ on it – not to mention misusing and abusing it. In a nutshell, I’ll continue singing about what I feel is worth sharing and what is TRUE from my heart . Whether it sells or not is not my concern ☺ I refuse to be part of any particular industry, and I refuse to sell my faith for a quick buck!
A: We need to beg for God’s Mercy and compassion, not only His Justice. If we were to rely on His justice alone then God knows where we would be now! We are in dire need of His Mercy.
Final chat message from Sami: My dear brothers, sisters and friends. Please forgive me for saying anything that may have caused offense. ‘Chatting’ like this is always ‘one-dimensional’ and can easily lead to misunderstandings and offense. Please accept/receive my humble thoughts with the spirit with which they have been sent, one of compassion, sincerity and earnest respect and love to you all. Regrettably not everyone could join us for this first chat due to the overwhelming demand. God Bless you all and looking forward to our next Live Chat – hopefully next time we can have a Video Chat ☺