Exclusive Interview with Dashni Morad talking about her life, music and latest hit “Power of Love”
Erbilia Online Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Kurdistan’s most beloved and talented singer Dashni Morad. Thank you Dashni Morad for giving us, and the public the chance to know more about your charming personality and amazing songs.
After publishing Part One of the interview, we have received numerous requests asking us to publish the second part asap, and here we are doing that. Dashni talks more about her new song “The Power of Love”, where she lived, her experience with music, about her love for Lebanon and the Lebanese people, upcoming songs/projects and concerts, hobbies, passions, and much more…
INTERVIEW PART TWO
M: How about acting? Are you thinking of being an actor and do you like it?
D: I’ve been asked so many times by big directors, famous directors, and good ones who’ve won international awards. But I’m just not ready for that stage. I don’t know if I’m going to like it. I do get asked and I do know it’s something I like to think of for the future, but not now. I just want to be focused on my music, and at the moment I’m at a very sensitive stage. For two years, all I’ve been doing is just writing music and training and trying to understand what I want, who I am, and what my style is. It is not easy, because I’ve been experimenting so long with music. But now, I’m finding myself little by little. I’m transforming from being a young lady, towards a grown-up woman. I just want to be in the studio, write music, train more, so I can put out the best of me in that.
M: This is something personal, but what are you doing in your free time? Do you use your iPod, Facebook, Twitter for “tweeting”?
D: Yes, in my free time I use Facebook. I logo on every day for two hours and post my work.
M: You’re posting it by yourself?
D: Yes, I keep it up with a team. We have our own team because we have over half-a-million likes and that is very difficult to keep up on your own. So for me, it’s work. And in my free time I like to just watch good movies, I really love movies. Especially Tim Burton movies, you know those movies with Johnny Depp. They are magical movies, you know, he did like nine movies with that director. I love Terry Gilliam movies. They’re like magical nineties movies, or the eighties, when you’re sitting with your family and all cozy in your pajamas with the popcorn. I just love those kinds of things. And in my free time, I love to be just in the green; being in the mountains, and walking, and having joy… I love that.
M: That’s what I saw in your pictures. You were so happy; I could see your eyes were smiling, along with your smile. You were very happy when you were cleaning with the people and delivering things, with a peace message; a nice message.
D: I think it’s for everyone because we’re a part of nature. If you look outside the window, you feel fine, but if you look further you get a deeper feeling. You’re just a part of nature and I enjoy that. I enjoy it very much.
M: Being famous, is it hard for you at all? Do you have a hard time going out with your friends? Especially here, because most of the people know you, do you find when you’re out they all ask for your signature or to take a picture with you?
D: For me, the biggest thing that I get is when people come up to me and appreciate me and ask for a picture or just say hello; that’s all we have because we don’t have something like academic awards. We don’t have an official billboard top ten or any awards committee. So we don’t have the official recognition. The only thing that we do have is the pure love of the fans, and that’s why I’m really doing it. Because we don’t have music ‘industry’, so I do it for the love.
M: Yes, we don’t have an ‘industry’. All of your music does go straight to your fans, this is ‘pure love’, actually.
D: That’s all I have, so I do enjoy that. But I wish that people could make music without being famous.
M: So you’re saying it prevents you from doing the things you like?
D: Yes, it prevents me from walking down the street every day. Just being in my slippers and like [singing], “Na-na-na”, you know just going shopping and happy, eating your hamburger…
M: (laughs) Especially in front of your fans, it must be a hard thing to do.
D: Yeah (laughs), yeah.
M: For the few people that don’t know Dashni, like Arab people that would like to know you, give me a brief history of yourself.
D: I was born January 1, 1986, and when I was eleven years old I went to Holland. I grew up in a very small village, and the village was famous for flowers. The name of our street was The Golden Flower Street. So I was raised between green fields with cows, and farms, and flowers.
M: So, very close to nature…
D: Exactly, and I went to do street dance for two years when I was fourteen years old. When I was 16, I played soccer for two years, and I did some modeling work, just photo shoots and not catwalk because of my height. Then I wanted to be on Dutch TV, but my parents didn’t allow me to be. I knew there was a TV station called Kurdistan TV in the border of Germany so I contacted them and then I did a program for two years called “Be Control”. And that was the first program in Kurdish history, ever, with entertaining and just being free. I was wearing stuff like this, talking to men I didn’t know and laughing with them, talking to younger people and laughing with them…
M: And this is a normal thing to do outside of here, but not then…
D: Yes, but not back then, in 2005. I used to go to houses and just take the pan out of the oven and say, “Mmm, smells good!” So, it was a show that made a bridge between Kurds in Europe and Kurds in Kurdistan. And because of that, I gained a very good fan base and popularity that helped me achieve my big dream- which was singing. So I came back in 2007; it was very, very difficult for me to find the right people to sing for, and who could help me with my singing.
M: It was very complicated for you to communicate with the people?
D: Exactly, yes, it was a very difficult process for me, but I went through the process and I was the first girl who did the first pop song with dancing. I got inspiration from Arabic artists, but also Kurdish artists. There were females and males who helped me to be a better artist. But, that process was a long process for me to go from being an amateur to becoming more of a professional. And I’m still working on that.
M: Well, you are a professional.
D: Thank you.
M: Back to how you were describing the purpose behind doing your Power of Love song, and how you feel about love. So now that we actually have an idea of the power of love to you, are you actually in love?
D: (Laughs) Of course, I think everyone should be in love. I’m in love with my music- and that’s a very boring answer (laughs), sorry. But I’m really in love with my music. I’m in love with my work on TV and having a talk show. I’m in love with nature and my family.
M: So, you believe in the power of love?
D: I believe in the power of love. I think it’s the biggest and most powerful power- energy- that exists in the world. I believe there are three things: there is the power of love, then you have the media, you have music, you have sport… but the biggest is love. It’s an energy, it’s energizing. And I am energized because of you, because of the good energy of love. So I’m very energized, excited, and happy. So love is very important.
M: Do you consider your music to be international singer?
D: Umm… Well, no.
M: What do you consider yourself, your music?
D: No, I’m a national artist.
M: You have done Arabic songs before, yes?
D: Yes, andI had my English songs reach number one on Dutch radio in Holland and I was invited into big talk shows in Holland with about eight million viewers. I was featured in famous newspapers there, and a very big magazine in Italy called Grazia. It’s a fashion magazine that is so famous and big, everywhere in Europe. I also had a lot of attention in Lebanon, I was on Arabica TV Interview and did a performance on LBC. I also did magazine interviews and a lot of things. A while ago, three years ago, I did a song in Rotana. But that doesn’t make you “international”, because “international” is when people know you worldwide.
M: Well, they know you, come on.
D: Thank you. I am a national artist, that’s the answer. But I am taking little steps into international. And I’m a dreamer, so I hope I can achieve my goals to be international.
M: You helped an Ethiopian lady become a singer. Can you tell us about that?
D: Yes, she is one of my best friends. Her name is Maha, and I saw her singing every day as she was cleaning. I told my producer, “Please, you have to help her,” and they made her a song. After that, we lost contact.
M: You lost contact with her?
D: Yes, with her. I didn’t see her again because I went back to Holland to live for a while. But I came back two years ago and we are very good friends, we live together in a house. She is not a cleaner, she is my friend and she is my family. My dad calls her my “daughter”. She is like my sister. She has her own room; sometimes she gets more attention than me from my dad or from my mom than me, from my family (laughs). She also works in a very good place…
M: As a singer?
D: No, she works with pen and paper. But now she is working on her song, which she is making a music video for this week.
M: Well, that is nice. You should publish this song on Erbilia Online Magazine.
D: Oh, yes, for sure! We will publish it on my web page, as well. We are very proud of her and she is my friend. And my dream is to go back to Ethiopia with her, together, and have a concert there. For love! We just need connections in Ethiopia to help us. What we raise, we want to give to the poor people there. She is my friend, and there is no difference between me and her because she is African and I am Kurdish. There isn’t any change.
M: That’s very nice. My final question. Who is your favorite singer globally? We asked about Iraqi and Lebanese, but what about globally?
D: Globally I have many favorite singers. There are a lot, like Norah Jones, Adele, Shakira, and Beyonce. It’s very different, it depends on my mood.
M: Do you just like pop music?
D: No, I have a very wide range of music. When I’m at home and enjoying my own homemade pasta which is very spicy (laughs), I put on German TV because that’s the only thing I can receive. I will put on OSN. Then I will have candles, and listen to Chopin, or jazz music like Michael Buble. It depends on my mood. If it’s raining, I’m listening to Norah Jones. If I’m sad, I’m listening to Adele. If I’m very happy when I wake up in the morning, I’ll put on Bryan Adams, “Summer of 1969”, you know? I have albums that I didn’t check for three years because I just didn’t find the right moment to listen to them. So, music is very special. It’s life. It’s a lifestyle.
M: So you’re not just listening to pop, you’re listening to everything, and it all depends on your mood?
D: Everything, yes, it just depends on my mood.
M: Some of our readers are from Lebanon, so they will be wondering if you have ever visited Lebanon before.
D: Of course, like twenty times maybe (laughs)! I did a lot of music videos there. I did a lot of photo shoots there, interviews, and one concert there. I have some other projects there soon but we cannot say because it’s a secret. But, yes, I love Lebanon! I feel home there because they never give me the feeling that I’m different or that I’m a foreigner. In Lebanon, I can shout out and say, “I’m from Kurdistan!” and they just receive me with utmost hospitality. It’s so funny, and I just love Lebanese people because in the process of rebuilding the Kurdish region, they are a big part.
M: Okay, five things you cannot live without, what would they be? Like your iPad, iPhone?
D: Yes, of course, I can’t live without my iPhone! I think I would scream, because it’s the only way I can be in touch with everyone since I’m always working and traveling.
M: How about your laptop? Maybe you like PlayStation or video games?
D: I used to like PlayStation, I used to play TombRaider a lot, and Crashed. I was addicted to it! When you would get that little thing and walk around and eat all the apples, I loved it. That, the iPhone, and (pause) I can’t live without…
M: Maybe guitar, piano?
D: I am getting lessons.
M: Any sports, do you like sports?
D: I do like sports. But I can’t live without music. I can’t live without my iPhone, I can’t live without my family. So we have three things. I can’t live- this is very important- without greenery.
D: Yes, because I’ll go crazy. If you come to my house, my balcony is all green and I bought the plants from Holland. I bought these big trees.
M: So we have four, what is the last one?
D: The last one? (Pause) I can’t live without love.
M: (Laughs) That’s a good one, good trick by the way.
D: (Laughs) Thank you! You asked.
M: That’s true; no one can live without love. So, ten years from now, where will you be?
D: Ten years from now? I’m a big dreamer, a very big dreamer, and I never give up, never. I want everyone to believe, and everyone who lives in a very bad situation with no family or no money or no education, or who works for one dollar an hour, to never give up. If you have bad health, don’t give up. Because one day that person can be the most celebrated person; that person can be the most achievable and successful person.
M: You’re very inspiring, by the way.
D: Thank you, it is true. I’ve been through so much and I’m still going through a lot. After ten years, I will be an international artist who will be a symbol of freedom. I want to be recognized as the artist who passed on freedom. Today, for example, in Holland, the fifth of May is the day of freedom. On the fourth of May, we bow for the war which ended in 1945 with Germany, when millions of people died. But today is the day of freedom in Holland. So everywhere there are festivals in every city now in Holland, and the line that they say is, “pass on freedom”. So, for me that’s where I want to be in ten years. Passing on freedom internationally; and I do believe in that.
M: That’s nice. Like I said, you’re inspiring me. So your future plans; will be there concerts, or new songs in Kurdish or English? Do you have an English album coming out?
D: I’m working on an English album. I’m working with a team in London and a team in Sweden, also in Denmark and Holland. I’ve also been working on a Kurdish album, and it will be together with VIN TV through BNB Group. There are concerts coming in the last six months of the year.
M: And where will those be?
D: I can’t say where, but it will be international, in Europe and the Middle East. But now we’re working on a song with a Kurdish/Danish group. We actually haven’t told anyone so far, but they will come on the fifteenth of May. We will be recording an English/Kurdish song that will be Kurdish folklore with English music. That will be distributed and promoted in Europe.
M: So on behalf all of us at Erbilia.com Online Magazine, I really thank you for your time. It was really my pleasure to meet you today.
D: Thank you so much, and I want to thank you and Erbilia.com. I saw your website and it looks very nice!
M: Thank you. Erbilia.com strives to promote everything beautiful in Erbil and Kurdistan.
D: Right, to be safe and to be happy. I hope it will happen with the rest of it, as well. My only thing is that when they asked me for an interview in Lebanon, it was for a local magazine, they said to me, “You are from Iraq. You’re not from Kurdistan.” And I said, I love Iraq, but look at Europe. Holland and Belgium are two hours from each other. Germany, for me, the border is only a half hour away. It’s so small, but together they support each other. And I think that if I have my own home, and you have your own home, I may call it Kurdistan and you may call it Iraq. But we can visit each other and invite each other over for food, and work together, and then we will be living in so much peace in the Middle East. We just need to respect each other’s homes, because we all love each other and we have no problems with each other. It’s just the big politicians. They should stop being such children and grow up and understand each other.
M: Thank you again Dashni for this inspiring interview, looking forward to hosting you again on Erbilia.com Online Magazine.
D: Looking forward to that. Thank you very much.
END INTERVIEW WITH DASHNI MORAD
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