- Title: The 'Palestinian Frank Sinatra' looks ahead to a busy 2017
- Date: 26th December 2016
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN SINGER, OMAR KAMAL, SAYING: "I was born and raised in Nablus and I started playing the piano at the age of nine. I took music lessons at home for two years and slowly started to explore Eastern music and learned to play the Violin. At the age of 15 I started to develop my singing ability and that was after I was introduced to Frank Sinatra music, which made me want to learn performance art, which is singing while playing musical instruments."
- Embargoed: 10th January 2017 14:23
- Keywords: Omar Kamal Palestinian Frank Sinatra West Bank Ramallah singing music
- Location: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- City: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Music
- Reuters ID: LVA0025EIQ9G5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Dubbed as the 'Palestinian Frank Sinatra', rising star Omar Kamal is looking forward to a busy 2017, starting with the release of his debut album in January.
After signing a multi-year recording contract with Sony Music Middle East in 2014, Kamal has recently released a video for his new single, a cover of the Michael Jackson hit 'Love Never Felt So Good'.
Hailing from the West Bank city of Nablus, the 24-year-old began his musical journey at the age of nine when he started playing the piano, eventually discovering inspiration in the music of Sinatra.
"I took music lessons at home for two years and slowly started to explore Eastern music and learned to play the Violin. At the age of 15 I started to develop my singing ability and that was after I was introduced to Frank Sinatra music, which made me want to learn performance art, which is singing while playing musical instruments," Kamal told Reuters in Ramallah.
The singer added that while he is happy to be compared to the legendary American singer, he hoped to be able to forge his own path in the industry.
"The title 'Palestinian Frank Sinatra' is an honour to me and it is nice to be given this title at the beginning of my journey. At the same time, I look towards having my own unique identity in this field. As I said, I am happy to be given this title, however, I am looking forward to having my own style and my own music," said Kamal.
At age 18 Kamal moved to the UK where he studied Engineering at the University of Cardiff, but he kept his musical talents flowing, touring parts of the country as lead vocalist of the university's band.
But it was a visit back home to Nablus that offered Kamal his big break.
"In one of the years I went back to my hometown, while I was still doing my studies (abroad), I decided to form a band here and we did a couple of concerts in Palestine and we also participated in Christmas festivals in Bethlehem and Nazareth. Eventually Sony Music called me and told me they would like to work on an album with me, and to record it in the United States," recounted Kamal.
Since signing with Sony Music Middle East Kamal has focused on creating his debut album 'Serenade', which is due for release on January 12, 2017.
He expects a busy year ahead as he promotes the release both close to home and across the globe.
"Currently we are preparing for a couple of concerts on the occasion of the album's release. We will do the concerts in many cities in Palestine and from there we will do concerts in other countries around the world. The next step for me would be to record songs that are written for me, they might be in Arabic or another language, and maybe a different style from the previous album," said Kamal.
In Sinatra's own words, 'Start Spreading the News', Omar Kamal has his sights set on stardom.
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