Hello, thank you for your interview. It’s been very busy with the release and all , but it’s all very exciting.
From all the songs out there, why did you choose to cover MJ’s “Love Never Felt So Good”?
This song is one of my favourite songs for Michael Jackson , and it’s quite an emotional one since it was released in MJ’s album Xscape after his unfortunate death.
When we working on Demos for the Album I was actually reading Michael Jackson’s biography “The Magic & The Madness” and going through MJ’s songs as they’re mentioned in the book; and this song (LNFSG) had a special touching impact on me.
Did any event in particular inspired you to cover this song?
I wanted to cover this song but I had to do it “My Way” for it to be a special rendition to the king of pop and to have an identity to it. So Dave Pierce (Music Producer) and I were sat by a piano in a Vegas house we rented out for our creative process. We were working on a few other songs and “Love Never Felt Song Good” came up , and Dave said something along the lines of ‘would be cool to give this song a try in a swing/Sinatra fashion. So he began to play and I started to sing however it felt natural to me at the time ; and there we had it – it was beautiful.
How was the film experience?
The filming experience was magical. We were in Rome , the people , the history , the streets, everything felt just right. And I couldn’t complain at the opportunity to have my summer vacation in Bella Italia so it was a great experience altogether.
How was the recording and writing process?
The recording/demo-selection process was one of the best experiences in this project , first because it was done over continents ; early demos were created in London , creative sessions took place in Las Vegas, final recording took place at Capitol in Hollywood , and Dave and I spent a few months sending demos back and forth between Nablus (my hometown) and Vancouver (Dave’s studio).
Funny story about the recording process. I had just graduated from Cardiff University in the summer of 2015 with a Masters of Engineering and I had applied for a few engineering jobs I had really wanted at the time. At the same time my project with Sony was just picking up. So an act of fait occurred as I believe it was, where I received an invitation to a job interview at an assessment centre for this Kingston-based engineering software company. The interview happened to be on the same day I was supposed to meet Dave Pierce (music producer) in London – travelling from Canada /studio booked and everything – and we were going to work on demos for my label to give the green light for the project. Both meetings were immovable, so I decided to give both a chance , half the day in Kingston and the other half all the way across London with Dave.
So I had to run in my interview suit to make it to the other “life-defning” meeting. When I got to the studio I jokingly told Dave: “Alright the interview is out of the way, now let’s make history”. He said “Well you’re certainly dressed up for it”
Fate decided and the rest is history!
What was it like to work with Al Schmitt and how did that relationship develop?
I was very nervous around Al , even though he’s very calm and down to earth, I was still in the presence of a 22 Grammy-awards winner who’s worked with Frank Sinatra , Quincy Jones , Paul McCartney , and Bob Dylan to name a few. The man was very kind and made sure I was happy with everything going on.
After mixing a few songs on my Album I approached him and expressed how honoured I am to work with him and to witness his pure magic and class at work. He simply replied ” Talk about class .. you have quite a bit of it”
What role does Palestine plays in your music?
I think the role Palestine plays is more in the multi-cultural background side of my music. Also, I think growing up in Palestine , there wasn’t much to do other than school and any hobbies you can practice at home by yourself. So I remember diving into the different worlds of music from Classical to Pop first through Cassettes and CDs my dad and siblings used to buy , and then the internet became widely available and changed everything. It made the exposure to all the music out there so much easier. And finally I think the spirit of the place you come from shows in whatever you do, so I think the spirit of Palestine comes more personified in my passion for what I do.
What made you want to record this material?
I think all the songs on the album were carefully picked and crafted , so we’ve put together a nice selection of past hits form different eras but with brand new exciting arrangements. I also think recording well-produced covers is a great way for debuting an album following the footsteps of greats like Michael Jackosn and Frank Sinatra.
How did you choose which songs to cover?
The selection process was a lot of fun, mainly because we had a fair amount of freedom to explore so many different options and possibilities. We have covered a wide range of artists from Extreme and Bruce Springsteen to Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra. It really is a great variety.
Any plans to hit the road?
Currently we’re organising a Christmas tour for my upcoming Album in Palestine. Hopefully, I’ll start performing more in the UK in the coming new year.
What else is happening next in Omar Kamal’s world?
I think the plan now is to focus on my upcoming releases through promotional tours and live performances. At the same time I’m working on a few originals with a lot of exciting compositions for my next step. The Dream is to become an internationally renowned artist and reduce the gap between Western and Eastern music and culture.