A bull sees red and pursues it. A lion sees helpless prey and hunts it down. A man sees a dream and follows it. In Hisham Kharma’s case, a creative passion for music sure took time to manifest itself, but as eniGma’s Mahmoud Al Badry found out, it was the only path imaginable.
Well-read and well-spoken, the mind doesn’t really have to wander far to understand why Hisham Kharma is one of the hottest up-and-coming musicians in town. Despite solely featuring instrumental tracks, a rarity in Egypt’s music industry, his second album, “Al Yaqeen” (Certainty), has received more hype than most records in recent times. Everything about it feels modern, from Kharma’s presentation to the variety of the tracks. The finished product has been close to 25 years in the making.
His love affair with music began when he was nine; lyrics and melodies were an easy way for a kid to imagine what really went on in the world. Consequently, his passion remained ever-present throughout his adolescence. Kharma never thought about pursuing a career in music; instead, he studied computer science at university and worked in marketing when he graduated. However, his love for music never escaped his mind as he continued to work for bigger advertising companies in the Middle East, until about six years ago, when he decided to shelve his suit in favour of his keyboards. “I wanted to follow my passion into something that I deeply cared about,” he reflected, “so in 2010, I produced an electronic album that ended up doing a lot better than I had expected, giving me all the motivation that I needed to continue on this marvellous path.”
Kharma admits that leaving his successful career behind wasn’t easy; he was sacrificing his steady source of income and venturing into an unpredictable music path in Egypt. After all, electronic music, with all of its variations, wasn’t as accepted when he first started as it is today. Fortunately, Kharma’s persistence and passion for music shone through and resonated with an audience base that’s been on a steady upward spiral.
In hindsight, he’s adamant that a part of him always knew that he had it in him to succeed in what he frequently calls his “true passion,” and that’s really where “Al Yaqeen” comes in. With its upbeat tunes, the entire album is built around his attempt to transfer his passion and belief in himself to his audience. “‘Al Yaqeen’ was all about finding my way as an artist,” he explained. “In it, I’ve incorporated traditional Arabic instruments into an electronic fusion that will hopefully make the music appeal to a large audience base. It gave me a tremendous sense of fulfilment to think that I might be bringing something new to the table.”
Moving forward, Kharma truly lets his imagination run wild with infinite possibilities, “I want my music to reach more people. I want it to do more. I want it to truly go international. I want people to think of my music when they want to disconnect from reality, and for it to help them unwind and imagine a beautiful world.”
Turning his dream into a reality that touches that of others might be hopelessly imaginative to some, but to him, reality is but a reflection of a man’s certainty.