Hi! Thank you so much for having me! I’m doing great. A lot of things have been happening lately, so I can’t complain 😉
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Rise Now”?
Absolutely! So, “Rise Now” is a song about coming out in all the senses of the term. It’s a song about affirming your own truth no matter how hard it is and no matter how afraid you are.
My original intention was to write about a close friend struggling with coming out as a gay man, but as I was writing and showing it to people, I saw them identifying themselves, their own stories, their own struggle with it.
So I decided to make it more universal so that anyone could relate. Whether it’s an issue about race, gender, orientation, being bullied or just an internal conflict, I wanted this song to be a hymn to all those in need of a voice.
When I finished it, as ironic as it was, I realized this song was also about me coming forward as an artist and owning my music.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
Yes, in fact “Rise Now” was born after an assignment of one my lyric writing classes at Berklee, which is really rare to me. I usually write from my own experience. We were asked to write a song about someone struggling with an internal conflict. So I decided to write about one of my friends struggling with coming out as a gay man. His story really touched and inspired me. The song evolved at lot, but this is how it all started.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing and recording process went great! I was lucky enough to collaborate with amazing musicians and producers I met through Berklee. I arranged the song and recorded it between New York and Boston.
What role does Belgium plays in your music?
I don’t think Belgium plays a specific part in my music. I think it’s just part of my European influences, even though I’m a Belgian citizen, I’m very attached to my Belgian roots and I lived in Brussels for 2 years. I don’t know if that counts, but I’m a huge Stromae fan!
How did your studies influence you as an artist?
I was already singing and writing before coming to Berklee. But everything was intuitive. My curriculum helped me acquire methodology and perfect a writing process. Also when you study at a school as diversified as Berklee College of Music, you’re able to touch on a lot of things and learn from the masters. So they definitely influenced my writing on so my many levels and helped me grew as an artist.
How’s your new EP coming along?
It’s going great, I’m almost done! I’m in the process of finishing the last song. And I’m so excited to release it!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
I’m still discussing a release date with the team I’m working with, but we’re thinking about early next year. Also I have to finish that last song first. Concerning the title, I was thinking about naming the EP after one of the songs called “Citizen of the World”.
Any plans to hit the road?
Definitely! As soon as the EP is released, I’ll work on my performance set and hit the road.
What else is happening next in Jamil Kassam’s world?
There’s already a lot going on with this EP for now, but I’m planning on touring in France, Belgium and Ivory Coast next.