Some of my fondest memories as a child involve lying on the grass while the tunes of Engelbert Humperdinck played in the background. Listening to Don Moen as research for this interview took me back in time to those carefree days, bringing a sense of peace that music nowadays rarely brings. Soundbites goes on a soul-searching journey with the singer/songwriter who uses music as a tool to spread peace and harmony.
Q: How many times have you been to Dubai and what brings you here again?
A: It will be my third time to Dubai, but my fourth time to the UAE. Valentine’s Day in Dubai is the first concert of my 2013 tour. I love Dubai and I am thrilled that my tour kicks off here.
Q: How do you use music to spread the message of peace and harmony?
A: Most people remember the lyrics of a great song more than any speech. Over the years I have consistently found that music is the great common denominator, no matter what the style. People from completely different cultures and generations can forget their differences for a few moments and all sing the same song.
Q: Are you disheartened at the path musical lyrics have taken today?
A: I always appreciate honesty and authenticity in the lyrics of a song, even though I don’t agree with everything I hear. If songwriters are angry or lonely, it will usually come out in their lyrics. I’m more of a lover than a fighter, so I choose to sing about love and peace.
Q: What’s your songwriting process?
A: Most of my songs reflect my personal journey. I try to write about what I am feeling. For instance, the title cut from my latest CD Unchartered Territory is a very honest expression of what I was going through at the time. Sometimes going through a difficult time can birth the deepest, heartfelt lyrics. I wish there was an easier way, but for me, this seems to be the way it works.
Q: Who influenced you as a youngster and who influences you now?
A: Musical interests [you maybe surprised] were the old standards. My parents had all the old Sinatra records and I would sit for hours listening to those beautiful melodies and arrangements. I am a sucker for a great ballad and I think it still comes out in my music today.
Q: What’s your favourite instrument?
A: The violin. It was my major instrument at university and although my technique is not what it once was, it is still, by far, my favourite instrument to play.
Don Moen and Friends perform at the Wonderland Amusement Park on February 14. Gates open at 8pm and tickets start at Dh60. Call 050-1457090 or 050-2183536 for details.