by Sherif Awad
-Both of my parents are artists, visual artists. They always encouraged me and my siblings to do what we love and what makes us happy. I was very fortunate for that kind of upbringing because my parents struggled as young artists at the beginning of their career, like every artist on the planet does. And despite that they didn’t let that fear stop their children from pursuing a career in arts. For myself that was music. I started singing and touring at a very young age, and then later on I started studying piano and music theory, which led me to continue my education in jazz as well.
-I loved loved loved Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Horace Silver etc. Coming from a family of artists we were surrounded by artists – poets, actors, painters, musicians and so on, so we had an opportunity to be exposed to a lot of great art. My role models in cinema were Sophia Loren, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Patrick Swayze and other great artists. It is not dance but we watched a lot of ice skating so definitely Evgeni Plushenko.
-You learn all your life. And sometimes it is painful for many reasons, you realize that the road to your dreams is a lot more difficult and bumpy than you could ever imagine, and you will doubt and criticize yourself a lot. But it really is all a part of this destiny and a beautiful process to fulfill the same. Just keep going, if this is what you love. If this is what makes you sparkle as my little sister would say when she sees me sing, keep working hard, keep giving it your best, keep trying to be your best self and enjoy that process and appreciate it for what it is.
-I try to find pleasure and gratitude in every moment in my career and life. But progress, evolution and ambition are very important to me. I love reaching goals.
-There are gender issues in almost every profession on earth. Jazz is a predominantly male genre, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of amazing female jazz musicians, on contrary. Bands and audiences just need to start believing and trusting them more for them to be more accepted and embraced within the jazz community!
-If by my country you mean Serbia- the creativity situation is always brilliant. There’s so many extraordinarily talented young people, and with the opening of the jazz department at the University of Music in Belgrade a lot of people are coming to the capitol, which is making the city even richer when it comes to art.
-There’s various types of professional engagements in my field. Depending on the type of the engagement I have to change the approach. Sometimes the deadline seems undoable but we still try our best to do it if we commit to it.
-It’s hard finding balance when you are a freelance artist. The first balance problem appears because we don’t have the same amount of work throughout the year, and then considering how big the commitment to your domestic/family life is also changes how you deal with the work you have to do. I have a small child and in my field we travel a lot for gigs so that’s always a difficult thing to figure out logistically… Right now I am about to publish my first solo album “SOFIJAZZ” , it comes out on April 30, 2020!