Taking Oman to the world

For Hisham al Maskari or Sham, a visit to Oman is always special. “I’ve never strayed too far from my roots, you know. Oman is what I am trying to educate the world about through my musical career,” he said. The singer, songwriter and rapper said that he is currently at that stage of his career where he is into ‘feel good’ music.

“Right now it’s about creating music that makes people happy. Something they can vibe with and shake a leg to. There is enough darkness and grittiness in the world with wars and recession, he said. “Melodious numbers which make people feel good about living are the need of the hour.” SOS, which is all over HiFM airwaves, is just that kind of track.

The beauty of relationships has also inspired the much-travelled singer. Having stayed in Malaysia, Dubai and US, Sham says he has met many people who have shared with him their stories of perfect love and heartbreak. “I have incorporated into my music the dynamics of relationships and the various emotions people go through when being in and out of relationships. So, I have tracks that are appealing and also tug at the heartstrings,” he said.

 Sham, the first artiste from the Middle East to have signed a deal with Get Real Records company of the US, spoke about being based in America and how it gave him an opportunity to make Oman proud. “It’s a different place with a different culture but my heart is always with Oman. I do what I do backed by my friend and partner Abdul Munim bin Qais al Zawawi, who recognised and nurtured my talent. And I know that Omani youth has talent.

I just want to inspire them to recognise it. “Right now the youth here may think they do not have avenues to express their artistic selves because we are a small country. “But we are also a proud country and I would like to give the example of Ali al Habsi here. No one told him he could never play in one of the toughest leagues in the world in England. By doing so he has put Oman on the map,” said the artiste who says that it hurts him when some people tell him they don’t know where Oman is and he has to explain by saying that it is a country close to Dubai.

“Just like there are talented sportsmen here, there are talented musicians and artists as well who just need someone to pave the way for them,” said the singer who has shared the stage with Neyo, Shontelle and Jay Sean. He also elaborated on his experience of being in a field that involves immense where there is a lot of hard work. “The fact that no one from Oman has really done what I’m doing in the US right now means that I have no yardstick to compare myself with.”

The artiste went to the US after dominating the charts in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the UK with tracks like Naughty Boy which was a sensational hit on Radio 1 and One and Only, which was ranked number one on MTV Asia/Arabia. “I knew I had to work hard and take it to the next level.

Like I mentioned before, I had the faith of Zawawi, and in the US I got my Get Real records gig and a chance to work with producer Thaddeus Berry or T Berry (who has worked with artistes like Pit- Bull, T-Pain, Jennifer Lopez, Ciara and Rick Ross).” Sham, who will be in Oman for about a week,” had a message for all his fans and the youth in Oman. “You have to dare to live your dreams and you can’t let anything get you down. If you believe you have the talent, and you are ready to put in hard work, there is no reason why you can’t taste success. I personally know that I am moving from strength to strength, from quitting a day job three years ago to charting hits regularly now.”

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