The next act in Regional Artist Spotlight is: Jindi
Flash Entertainment continues its Regional Artist Spotlight to shine a light on our region’s most talented musicians…
Sudanese singer-songwriter Jindi is not afraid to bounce between genres. And he does so effortlessly, cherry-picking elements of funk, soul, pop, R&B, reggae and dancehall into his infectious grooves. His debut EP 1995 – released in 1999 – spawned the single Dancefloor, which topped pop charts in multiple countries across the MENA region. With his Arabic and English lyrics flowing smoothly across Afrobeat and dancehall rhythms, Jindi is pulling together his roots and influences, performing widely across the region, including big performances at Expo 2020 Dubai.
How did you first get into music?
Growing up in a Sudanese household I’ve been around music all my life. My dad used to play music from a lot of different artists from Sudan, this was my foundation – I’ve only realised that later on in my career. My passion for music also came from listening to a lot of radio, attending many concerts and being influenced by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson.
How would you describe the music that you make?
I would describe it as ‘World Music’. Growing up in a city like Dubai, I’ve been exposed to sounds from different parts of the world, which has had a huge influence in the way I listen to music, and also how I write songs. I wouldn’t want to limit my music or myself to specific genres. I like to take my listeners to a different space.
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Who are the artists, or people, who inspire you?
I’ve gathered bits and pieces from artists like Stevie Wonder. I’ve been inspired by his ability to travel with his music across different generations. Another big inspiration is Michael Jackson and how effortless he made everything looked, but in fact it took years of hard work and dedication. My family and friends have always been my biggest supporters. They also inspire me to be great every day and write songs that help me express myself. I believe an artist is someone who paints the world into something beautiful and has the ability to make an impact whether big or small.
What are your latest musical accomplishments?
I’ve experienced many moments that I would say are accomplishments, but to winning the What’s On Highly Commended Best Act Award 2020 was a huge highlight. Also, Dance Floor being No.1 in six countries on Anghami; headlining Bob Marley Tribute Festival in Oman back in 2019 and a tour I organised called “The1995Experience”. I was also the first to shoot a full music video on the world’s longest zipline.
What is your creative process like? It is different when you first started making music?
The first song I released was titled By your side. I remember performing it at every open mic in the city. I played it so many times that the crowd started singing it word for word. It was how I tested out unreleased records. A lot has changed since. The writing process now can easily happen in a studio or anywhere where a melody would come to mind, and I would build up on that.
What has been the biggest obstacle of your career?
One of the biggest obstacles is trying to pursue music full time. Many people have asked, and still do ask me what my real job is. Luckily, I’ve had huge support from my father since I started pursuing music professionally.
What would you say is the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve recently performed at an all-original set at Expo 2020 Dubai at the Jubilee Stage – this was definitely the biggest highlight of my career to date.
Where have you performed?
From open mic nights to the biggest stages, I’ve performed all over the UAE and the region. My The1995ExperienceTour in 2019 went across Saudi, Oman, Sudan, Zimbabwe.
What are your latest releases?
Hassa is my latest release. This record is my first ever release in Sudanese Arabic. I worked on this track with the legendary Nigerian producer MasterKraft and the song just came together naturally. The approach was to try something fresh where people have a good time. The song made me connect with my roots and also bridged a gap between the music
in Africa and the type of music coming out from the region. During lockdown, especially when everything looked uncertain, I knew exactly what I needed to feel and hoped that this record would lift me up and get everyone enjoying themselves again.
Which one of your releases is your favourite?
It’s hard for me to choose one. Each of my releases holds a very special place in my heart.
Are you working with any other artists right now?
I’m currently working with a couple of artists and producers for my upcoming releases, which I’m really excited about. I’ve also been listening to Jamaican singer Chornixx for a while. It would be great to work on a song with him one day. Another artist I would like to work with in the near future is Wizkid, who I think is taking Afrobeats to the world. I’ve watched him live on many occasions. I know time is going to put us together on a record soon.
What is an average day like for you?
I’m a pretty chill person, I usually relax during the week as I’m mostly on stage rocking crowds on weekends.
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What is your passion outside of music?
I love football and I actually thought this was going to be my thing until I took the music route. I also love discovering new places, meeting people and spreading good vibes around the world.
What does your involvement in the Regional Artist Spotlight mean to you?
I’ve been watching this space for a while. It’s a great pleasure to be featured, and to every artist reading this, don’t ever stop doing what you love – you could be next. Most of the artists featured have inspired me. Shébani and Freek to name a few are my friends and they’re just beautiful souls. It’s definitely a great platform for artists in this region. I think it’s about time the world knows that there is a lot of great music coming from this side of the world. As artists, we just have to keep on putting the work in and always be willing to learn.
Images: Flash Entertainment