Tarek Kabbani is a musician, multi-instrumentalist, producer, designer and the owner of his own studio called Jaybird Studios. At many events across town, you can see Kabbani share the stage with other musicians as a drummer, guitarist or as a beat-boxer. A few months ago, I was blown away when I heard an original tune of his on Instagram. I got in touch with him immediately to collaborate. He not only obliged, but came up with a transcendent tune that gave justice to my poem and resurrected it. I will be working with him again soon, but for now, I am lucky to be able to interview him for this month’s issue.
You know we are suckers for intrigue. So, before anything, tell us why you use the pseudonym Turk Himself?
This name has a funny story. I was given the name Turk by an old friend in grade 4 while watching the Disney movie Tarzan in class. The “himself” part of the name really stuck because I played all the instruments of my music myself.
Tell us a little about your baby: Jaybird Studios.
The project started in 2008, while I was at Art College. I have been interested in recording and creating music since I picked up the drums in 2005, and it’s been a slow and steady growth up to this point. What really set me off into producing music was GarageBand on my first Mac, in 2007 – which has now expanded into more toys and more sound! I feel lucky to be able to do what I do and more than happy to share it with the world.
Jaybird is the name of my late pet bird – a white-spectacled bulbul. A loving and brilliantly intelligent creature, who was adored by my whole family. She is unforgettable. Conceptually, having wings means freedom – in the physical and the spiritual realm – and this also inspires me to take flight through creative expression.
You and I once discussed how a world without music would be dreary. What people don’t realize is that the power of music resonates within the musician first. What does music do to your soul?
Music feeds and nourishes my soul; it runs through my veins. I am uplifted and energized by it, especially when creating it with friends! I whole-heartedly agree that a world without music would be extremely dreary. To me, music is home, heart and soul. If everyone picked up a musical instrument, the world would be a better place.
You seem to thrive on collaborations, which is antithetical to the competitive world of our current paradigm. How would you encourage artists to shine with others instead of basking alone in the spotlight?
I believe that there is strength in unity. I feel that we should cooperate instead of compete; we can get things done faster. Unity has been shown to reach immense strengths in the past, so I encourage artists to stay humble, kind and open-minded. You never know what can happen!
Collaborating with others can help you learn, communicate, and reach new levels you may not have seen before! You might even make some really strong bonds along the way.
Lastly, Tarek, it is every musician’s dream to retire from their day jobs and spend the rest of their lives performing. But, it is difficult to permeate a system that does not support this. Unfortunately, as a result, many artists give up on their passion. Any tips on encouraging artists to make time for their calling – even while stuck in the matrix?
It breaks my heart when artists give up on their passion. The world needs more creation, amidst all the destruction. I can sympathize that the matrix is complicated and full of obstacles and can overwhelm many of us to the point that we break. It may not be an easy journey for everyone.
Personally, I do it for the fun of it all. It makes me feel good and can make my friends feel good as well. I like to see smiles. Music has allowed me to meet and work with so many different people – and I have made some deep bonds that I deeply cherish.
I am stuck in the matrix, yes, because it is what I am told will keep me stable – but the light inside me will never burn out. Music will always be close to my heart. If ever the opportunity arises where I can take my art full throttle and leave the so-called safety of the matrix – I would surely be thrilled at the prospect!
You can follow Tarek Kabbani on his Instagram account @turkhimself to keep up to date with his recordings and upcoming events and collaborations.