by Sherif Awad
-I am half Yemenite, and a mixture of polish and German and maybe a little Russian. My father was a famous music producer for a band called Vigil that played on NIGHTMARE IN ELM STREET. However, my father died in his thirties when I was only two years-old and so my mother became a foreign widow in the US. I had a lot of role models to push me through and make me a cultured woman. I believe the people that helped me to pass through the death of my father and his passion for music drove me to continue his legacy as a passionate musician/ artist/ singer/ poet/ at Johns Hopkins University Film as a media student. I am also an audio engineer who graduated with a degree in audio when I immediately turned eighteen.
-As a young child, I always knew I was different. My mom is an underground Yemenite psychic that many people know (without the media knowing). I always felt connected to music and sometimes arts and entertainment was my only friend in bouts of loneliness. I am very grateful that this world provides that love and support. A simple artistic venture can change your day from sadness to happiness… My role models range from Mariah Carey, to hardcore death metal. Many people say today, I look like a Marilyn Monroe look-alike and I find it quite funny. I love Alicia Silverstone and her role in some of Aerosmith music videos where she is totally clueless on how awesome she is! Or maybe not! James Taylor- you’ve got a friend has saved my life a few times.
-I studied piano naturally (without a teacher) at the age of six. I sang the moment I knew what singing was… I also started playing guitar when I was around thirteen and picked up my own original material that has not been released. I have studied at Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts as an audio engineer. I have studied in the ghetto of Baltimore (Thankfully, I live on the outskirts) to receive scholarships to study IT and earned my COMPTIA A+ certification. I am currently a student at Johns Hopkins University where I have done photography and journalism on food deserts (Places that do not have nutritious food for people in poverty) and I have won at a film festival for a stop motion picture that I wrote for children.
-It has always been a dream, but I have been an artist sitting in the dark because of patents and copywriting. Everyone prays for the big break but it always seems to come with a plan and people you know. Interestingly, I know many celebrities high up in the industry- it is that I am unnoticed because I also had to take care of my sick mother for eight years and then I also fell ill for a year or so from the anxiety and stress of it all. Life happens and that can stop you from serious stardom but it also teaches you the harsh truth of reality that it’s not about fame or fortune. It is about the message itself giving the opportunity and the people the song about love.
-Gender challenges? Of course! Hasn’t it always been that way? As a female in the audio world, it’s nothing new to me. I understand that I cannot pick up heavy equipment but I can operate the mixing board and still that opportunity comes and sometimes leave. My intelligence and integrity are always questioned and it keeps my focus that girls and women can DO IT TOO!
-My country bases now arts and entertainment solely on internet presence these days. The marketing and touring is where the money is. Unfortunately, it is no longer the 1980s and your mixtape and connections don’t seem to be enough even if you are beautiful, talented, young, and intelligent… it’s a big world with much competition and you must really focus on your dreams of you really want to achieve them. Everyone has dreams… Sometimes the idiot with a plan is better than the genius without one….
-I try to appreciate every opportunity that comes my way. I take life very seriously and my work. Sometimes this can cause an “Analysis Paralysis” which can stop you from the works offered. Meaning that, you’ve analyzed a song or a piece of work so greatly that you are frozen! It’s important to experiment with all walks of life and cultures to step out of that box and continue to invite the energy of abundance!
About personal versus professional: that’s a great question! I think due to many tragedies and pain it drives someone towards their dreams to help others in pain. Young artists are so cocky and think they know it all until life can hit you like a ton of bricks. Concussions, family addictions, financial crisis. Sometimes it’s important to disassociate and continue to smile through pain and that’s the hardest part between private life and professional. Your inner happiness and peace is everything. I will be honest, there have been times where I have been on both scales where I have focused mainly on my family and own health ( no children -not married yet) and there have been times where I focused mainly on work. It’s almost like you’re in a gymnasium and you’re balancing on that beam. Yin and yang I suppose.
My responsibility as a spokesmodel has always been to smile and get the message to the client for the company. I have been the ticket lady at the fair, I have sold wine, I have sold boats, I have been a face of the working class. The most important message is to get the message to the people that they really want the product – That the product will get them some form of happiness because that’s what people want! It’s a tough world and having those small crutches seems to help people get through the day. 🙂