Nadim Azzam had something to prove. As a local singer, rapper, music producer, and songwriter, Azzam wants to show the world and himself that he is pursuing something true to his emotions, beliefs, and interests. Azzam will be releasing one song per month for the next year.
On Dec. 9, he released the music video for his newest single “The Debt.”
“In a way this project feels like my manifesto and just an expression of who I think I am, who I think we all are, and what I would like to put out into the world,” Azzam said. “I feel like I had something to prove with writing about the topics I’m writing about and the type of music and the instrumentation. Now I feel set free from it because I don’t feel like it has anything to prove in that sense anymore.”
This was the first project where Azzam was able to direct and dictate all of the stylistic choices.
“It was also just a really big learning curve,” he said. “I started writing these songs three years ago and it took a really long time to develop it to its final stages.”
Throughout this process, he has been able to develop his sense of self. Before starting this project he was in a live folk/hip-hop band which is very different from the genre he is now focused on. After one of the shows with the band, a guest came up to Azzam asking what his musical influences were. Azzam replied by saying Kendrick Lamar. This surprised the guest as it was not something that was presented in his music.
“Something clicked in my head that if my influences, what I really listened to, isn’t translating in my music then maybe I’m not doing the music that I actually want to be doing,” Azzam said. “I thought it would be obvious but I guess it wasn’t, and looking back it makes perfect sense.”
After this moment, he shifted into the music he is currently working on and releasing.
“I felt a need to prove to my community what kind of artist I was and what genre I wanted to be in,” he said. “When I say community, I mean the community of artists that I know and work with.”
Azzam has only ever written songs for himself or his collaborations. He is open to the idea for the future with a caveat.
“I’m not opposed to writing for other people in the long run,” Azzam said. “I just feel like a lot of what I write is pretty personal and honest self-expression so passing it off to someone else would not necessarily feel right.”
Azzam is always open to collaborate with fellow artists, whether they are in the Ann Arbor area such as trumpetist Ben Green or around the world, such as his friend and violin player Davis West who is currently in Germany.
“I decided for myself in the last couple of years I wanted to be ahead of the curve a little bit instead of playing catch up,” he said. “It feels like the start of a long, long journey. There’s so much more to come that will surprise people.”
For more on Azzam, visit: https://www.facebook.com/music.nadim/