Emirati music producer Issam Freiha on his new single and representing the UAE to the world – News
Issam Freiha aka icekream also gives budding artists good advice in a conversation with City Times.
“A very good pair of headphones”.
Emirati music producer Issam Freiha, also known as icekream, thinks that’s all a creative and driven person needs to work remotely and create spectacular tracks.
However, in a Zoom interview with City hours about his new single and his journey as a producer, he expressed his hope that 2022 would see a return to live performances and concerts – always at the heart of any true artist – around the world.
Issam is back on the music radar with his first single of 2022 – a sizzling aptly titled track In fire – produced alongside British rapper Tullyman.
Despite the pandemic and its damaging effects, 2021 has been a busy year for Issam, as he released 10 new singles featuring artists like Prayah, Long Island rappers Hue Hef and KeyZz, Tullyman and Egyptian Mo Sella. .
The entertainment industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, but what we gleaned from our conversation with Issam is that looking ahead and coming out stronger than before is the need of the hour.
An upbeat personality combined with a talent carefully honed over the years is always a great mix for anyone working in a creative industry, and Issam is the perfect example.
As he guided us through his journey as a producer and expressed his pride in representing the UAE globally, he also had timely advice for budding artists on pursuing their dreams and why you should be wary of falling in love overnight. success that some celebrities achieve.
What can you tell us about In fireyour first title for 2022?
It’s a song that came out of the blue. I spent time in London for the last two decades of my life and discovered the music and culture there.
I wanted to do something different with one of the local artists and we did it – sort of “on the fly” – remotely, if you will. But it turned out pretty cool and we made a nice video that went with the sounds – the music was complemented by the visuals which we thought was a good match.
You mentioned remote work, and a lot of people did it – artists, singers and bands in the Covid era, but have you adjusted to it now? Is this the new normal for you?
This is the new normal for most people in my industry. Certainly the producers, like me. We’re used to producing remotely and also producing in a sort of isolated environment because all we need is a good pair of headphones, believe it or not!
And you’ve got your laptop – hope it works well – then a keyboard, and you’re pretty much set!
Last year was good for you – you released 10 new singles. Covid has hit the entertainment industry hard, however. What are your hopes for 2022?
I think back when times were normal, we took that for granted. By far the most important thing is parties and eliminating any kind of fear of many people gathering at the same time. That was basically the biggest problem anywhere, and understandably so.
So I guess when these things kind of get back to normal, crowd safety and stuff, everyone will feel so much better about themselves, as performers, artists, entertainers; it would be a big step forward for us.
Tell us about your background and your beginnings as a music producer in the UAE.
I have always been influenced by music. And I started to recognize that it was more than just a relationship with the fans, it was more passionate than that. During my travels, I was always exposed to the best kind of music and realized, probably at the age of 14, that I wanted to make it my full-time job.
I knew that because it just felt right – there was a kind of natural chemistry. So I took it with me; I was lucky to be from a multicultural background and upbringing so I could use that to my advantage because it was kind of a new vibe, a new scene in the UAE to do what I did, and there were only a handful of guys doing it.
So it was exciting and we thought, you know what, maybe we’re onto something. In history, looking back, we might be one of the first people (here) to take it really seriously.
Since you had that initial dream and started, how has the music scene in the UAE evolved?
It evolved so quickly. I remember when the first festivals started, the first big concerts – artists and major artists were coming to the UAE, and then it became a regular thing. Then these artists would start, for example, going on vacation to the United Arab Emirates.
So they were going there for business and pleasure and you could just tell there was this hype everywhere around the UAE, and entertainment was part of it.
And that was awesome, I thought, oh my God, we’re here at the right time! It’s incredible. So it was really cool to be part of it.
Tell us about some of the artists you have worked with. Which international artists have inspired you?
The most inspiring artist I’ve met, and that was in Abu Dhabi, was Wyclef from Fugees. It was really something special because I approached it like anyone else – you take that risk. I’m like you know what, he’s here, I’m going to go talk to him. What could be worse – I don’t want to talk to you? And that would be it, but at least I would have tried.
So I did. He got a good vibe from me and he said, let’s go to the studio tomorrow, in Abu Dhabi, and we ended up doing some songs together.
It was really amazing – I felt like it was a sign to me that okay, please keep doing what you’re doing because it clearly worked. I mean what else can happen? Where does the potential start or end – I really felt like I was onto something, you know?
As a producer, what are some of your favorite genres and what genres have you worked with so far?
I like hip hop, house music, electronica (anything you can think of), jazz, and now latin music – reggaeton which is faster, and afrobeats.
I love rhythm, so for me genres – it’s a bit like boundaries! I like the fluidity between all genres and it makes you move or not! It’s like a natural feeling.
How do you feel about representing the UAE globally?
I think it’s an honor, even if it’s for something quite special and different, I guess. I think we benefit the global society and I love that representation and affiliation.
I can promote what everyone knows is the great hospitality and the innovative and proactive mindset that we have and bringing that to the world stage would be really cool but also if I can be a respected Emirati music producer in the world – I would be very happy with that. It would truly be a dream come true.
What advice would you give to artists starting out in the music industry?
This is (at first) the most difficult part, I think. You must be your harshest critic; you have to be completely honest with yourself. Because at the end of the day, whether people support you in the beginning or agree with you or give you their opinion, it doesn’t matter, it will all come down to you.
So if you decide to do it because you honestly think you have a chance or you’re way better than anything you’ve tried or not, go for it. Don’t worry about the mistakes you will make and all the inevitable things that are part of the experiments.
It’s like a long-term investment. Don’t think of the overnight hits we’re used to with celebrities — like Justin Bieber (who became a household name almost instantly).
Think of it like buying stocks in yourself and it would pay off in 15 to 20 years, maybe even 25 years. But you will be happy, you will be fulfilled, you will be satisfied and it would have been the right decision.
So look at it long term, that’s all I would say!