UAE-based singer Jindi is all about feel-good love songs and ‘Just a Dream’ fits the bill.
The Sudanese singer-songwriter talks to tabloid about his first single of the year, following the release of his EP ‘1995’ in October 2019. Plus, his Motown influences, being compared to a certain ‘24K Magic’ singer and why he comes alive on stage...
Hi Jindi! Tell us about ‘Just a Dream’. How did the idea come to you?
‘Just A Dream’ is a feel-good love song. I had this dream about someone whom I had never met before and everything felt very familiar. As soon as I woke up I wrote down what I was feeling and the music came later on in the studio after experimenting and trying out different things.
What made you want to go with a Latin influence on this track in particular?
As soon as I came up with the chords and heard my friend playing that riff, I knew what direction I was going to take … There’s people from different parts of the world that contributed to this track. Each one of them added a different flavour.
Creatively, what’s usually your process? How do you get from start to finish?
There isn’t a definite answer to that as it always differs. Sometimes I might be in the studio for hours and nothing would come up and some days I might go outside and someone would say something that would resonate with me and spark an idea. There isn’t a right formula on how to do it. I’ve written songs about personal experiences and other songs that just made me feel good.
How did life change for you after you released your EP ‘1995’ last year?
It made me realise a lot of things. ‘1995’ was like a starting point, as I wanted to experiment and try out different genres, based on what I’ve been listening to and the kind of feeling I wanted to capture … I got messages from people telling me that they liked my sound on a particular genre, and others having interest in me doing a completely different style.
It’s all love at the end of the day and I just really appreciate the feedback. I did my first tour in the MENA region, travelled to a couple of countries … I also got some new listeners, which is one of the things I wanted, to get my music out there and have people from different regions connect with my songs.
Have your goals as an artist changed since you first decided you wanted to sing?
Not really, I’ve always wanted to get my voice out there and heard. Growing up, I’ve always loved being in the spotlight. There was always the humour side of me and the artistic side. I wanted to be able to put smiles on people’s faces, or read out the love letter I had in my pocket, make them connect with some of my stories or the things I would sing or write about.
There’s an amazing scene of underground and independent Sudanese artists today. What are your thoughts? Do you have any favourites?
It’s such an honour to be from a place that’s culturally and musically diverse. I’ll have to take it back to the 50s and 60s … this music has always been playing around our house, from Mohammed Wardi and Sayed Khalifa to Kamal Keila and The Scorpions. There is some new elements in the current music scene … I feel like it’s a good sign for the scene to experiment and try out different things. There are so many talented artists from the ‘249’ movement doing their thing.
Seeing you live, you’re known for your self-assured stage presence. Is that reflective of who Jindi is, or was there ever a struggle with confidence?
That’s my favourite part, live performances! I can’t really describe what I feel before going up on any stage, sometimes I will have a thousand things in my head and before I go on I think that these things might get in the way of my performance, but everything goes away when I hear the sound of the keyboards or the drum count, or even [see] the looks in the crowd’s faces.
… I remember when I had my ‘1995’ album launch performance and for the first time I had nine musicians up on stage with me. I looked in the crowd and just felt the energy … I’ve been watching pioneers like Little Richard, James Brown and Michael Jackson and observing how everything mattered to them, the lights, the outfits, every single detail added something to the performance. I just like to have a good time with the crowd when I’m performing, talk to them, tell them a little story, or even do some backflips (I wish I could).
You’ve also gotten your fair share of comparisons to Bruno Mars — whether it’s the hair or the attitude…
That’s my Hawaiian brother, I think we all grew up listening to artists and learnt from them. Bruno’s songwriting and style reminded me of some of the old school songwriters. It was simple, understandable and beautifully sung and that’s why I related so much to it. The production of the music kind of blended the old and new school together and that, to me, was fascinating. I don’t know about the hair, but I’m quite sure I rocked that ‘stache way before him, tell him I said that!
Who are some other artists that have impacted you, personally or professionally?
So much of it came from The Motown era [like] The Temptations and The Jackson 5. I’m also into reggae music, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley’s catalogues speak for themselves. On a personal level Mohammed Ali’s journey has always been a great inspiration, the fact that he was so passionate and dedicated to something he loved was amazing to watch.
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
A chef? Cooking has always been a hobby of mine, that’s if frying BBQ makes me qualified. [Or] an actor. I would also really love to have a late night TV show. Maybe all of the above.
Finally, what’s next for Jindi?
With all that’s going on in the world right now I’m taking things one step at a time, more towards the positives. I just feel like this is the right time for self reflection as an artist and a person … For now I just want the world to dance with me on this new tune titled ‘Just A Dream’.