Flash Entertainment continues its Regional Artist Spotlight initiative to champion regional music talent…

Lebanese-Palestinian independent singer-rapper Anees strongly believes that music is meant to heal. It’s with this mantra in mind that makes him focus on creating music that he says is “good for the soul…”

What’s On: How did you first get into music?

Anees: I was raised in a musical home. Growing up, we had a tiny house, but a third of it was a space we called the ‘music room’. I think I had no choice but to get into music. I was immersed in rhythm and melody from day one. But my artistry started when I was 15 years old and I tried freestyling for the first time. The thrill of stringing rhymes and melodies together on the fly was a life-changing feeling. There was no going back. Ever since, music has been my therapy.

WO: How would you describe the music that you make?

A: My music is genre-less. I don’t fit into any single box. I have a fusion of pop, hip-hop, R&B, soul, and a number of other genres. But aside from the ‘sound’ of my music, I would say that the tone is best described as ‘healing music’. I make music from my soul to connect with yours. That’s the sort of music I love most, so that’s the music I feel called to create.

WO: Who are the artists, or people, who inspire you?

A: Too many artists to name but let’s choose five: Lauryn Hill, India Arie, John Mayer, Jim Croce, and Immortal Technique. Outside of music, my inspirations are my loved ones, my family, and my closest friends. But in truth, anyone who has the courage to choose to follow their heart inspires me. Dreamers inspire me. People who defy fear inspire me.

WO: What are your latest musical successes?

A: This month, we hit five million total streams on Spotify – that was wild. I just started releasing music last year. So, we have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. I also just released a an R&B song What lovers do, that was a major goal of mine. Stepping even further out of the ‘box’ and creating a whole new sound was a big win.

WO: What is your creative process like? 

A: My creative process almost always starts with freestyling. I like to let my creative impulse lead the way. I’ll sit down, maybe with a beat, maybe in silence, and record myself as I spit out melodies, hooks, and verses. Then once I’m done, I’ll listen to the recording and pick my favorite nuggets of gold. From there, I’ll sit with my lyrics, sometimes for months. I’ll massage them until they tell the story that feels right. It feels like writing a novel. I want the narrative to be served.

WO: What has been the biggest obstacle of your career? 

A: Fear. The fear of time, judgment, and success. Whenever fear creeps into the picture, only bad things follow. In my more anxious moments, I tend to let my fears take the wheel. Finding a way to remove fear from the creative process, or at least ignore fear, is an ongoing challenge for me. Once I overcome that obstacle, I think my greatest, most beauitful work will come out.

WO: What is the highlight of your career so far? 

A: Having the strength to listen to my heart and defy my fears. That was the greatest decision I’ve ever made, second only to marrying my wife. Whatever numbers, awards, or recognition comes is up to God, but the fact that I am a full-time artist is something I’m immensely proud of. I love what I do every day. For that reason alone, I am a success.

WO: Where have you performed? 

A: I just performed at MusikFest with my brother Zach Matari. It felt amazing to share the stage with someone who I genuinely care about as an artist and a friend. That’s has to top the list for me. But to be honest, it was my first ever live performance, so it wins by default. But in 2022, we are hitting festivals and touring non-stop. It’s time to go meet my fans in person.

WO: What are your latest releases? What is the story behind them?

A: In April, I dropped Slip, a love song about my wife. It’s playful and passionate. It’s the story of our love. In July, I dropped Drunk on myself, a self-love song. This song speaks on the importance of loving yourself first. I wrote it to remind my listeners that love must emanate from inside your heart before it can be shared. My latest release What lovers do dropped in October. It’s a song about burning romance. I know what it feels like to love someone deeply and to pray that the feelings are mutual, so I made an R&B song about that emotion.


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WO: Which one of these releases is your favourite and why?

A: I’d say that What lovers do is my favourite for two reasons. One, because it is the latest release. I try to stay as present-minded as I can be. Whatever song I am currently focused on is going to get my favour. But it’s also simply my best work. It’s so much more dynamic than my previous songs. It’s got groove, texture, passion, melody, and punch. I feel I evolve as an artist with every song, and What lovers do is proof of that evolution.

WO: Are you working with any other artists right now?

A: Yes. But I have to keep that information DL for now. Once we’re ready to announce those collabs, I know my fans will be thrilled. I’ve been blessed to connect with incredible artists who I admire. Social media has really opened those doors for me, so shoutout to my followers who continuously tag artists in my posts. I can promise this: 2022 is going to be a year of collaboration for me.

WO: What is your passion outside of music? 

A: Nature. I love the trees, the birds, the bees, the clouds, the water, the baby blue skies and the sounds. I think our planet is our greatest blessing and I’m forever in awe of its splendor. Once I’m a truly global artist, I will buy a farm and spend my days surrounded by the colours, sounds, sights, and scents of Earth.

WO: What does your involvement in the Regional Artist Spotlight mean to you?

A: I am absolutely humbled to be featured on the Regional Artist Spotlight. I feel honoured to showcase and I hope I can bring peace, joy and love to everybody who finds my art through this Spotlight. As an independent artist, gaining exposure to a global audience is a dream come true. I don’t take this opportunity lightly. It’s a blessing. I am forever grateful to y’all for deeming me worthy of your time, your attention, and your focus.

What is your top 5 after-party playlist?

  1. What’s Luv? – Fat Joe ft. Ja Rule & Ashanti
  2. Back Then – Mike Jones
  3. Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer
  4. Gone – Nsync
  5. What Lovers Do – Anees

@RegionalArtistSpotlight; @aneestherapper

Images: Provide