Maher Zain: My identity crisis is over
By Olivia Lee
Swedish-Lebanese R&B singer Maher Zain has admitted that being raised a Muslim in Europe had him somewhat confused by the lifestyle and his faith in a foreign land. Born in Tripoli in 1981, his time in Lebanon was short-lived before his family moved to Sweden when he was eight.
But as an adult, the 31-year-old now has a better grasp of his identity.
“Before I was very confused. I didn’t know what I was. Am I Lebanese or Swedish (or something) in between? But now I see myself, I’m more grown up and I understand who I am and I’m proud of that. I am a Muslim citizen of the world,” he laughed. “I feel like I’m a Swedish Muslim.”
Maher is famous for delivering songs filled with religious nuances and moral messages in a contemporary R&B fashion.
His Facebook fan page boasts 4.3 million likes and his debut album, Thank You Allah, sold over 250,000 copies in Malaysia. He’s back again to promote his second album, Forgive Me, and will be giving a concert in KL on Saturday (16 June) night.
"Music has always been a passion for me. (But when) I started practising Islam as a lifestyle I felt that I had learned so many things that I wanted to share with young people, especially. I know young Muslims can sometimes have an identity crisis because that’s what happened to me,” Maher said.
“Islam is about peace, and for me that’s a way of life and I'm trying to promote that. My songs, they are not all religious. Music is an international language, so it speaks to everyone. If you make good music, people will listen. They accept the lyrics and are inspired by it. I’ve heard a lot of response from non-Muslims of different backgrounds and cultures which have been very good,” he said.
That said Maher knows that the lifespan of a music artiste can sometimes be short.
“I don’t think I would love to do this all my life. Maybe a couple more years, and then I would love to work with children because I believe they are the fruit of life, and it’s very important for them to have a strong foundation at an early age,” said the father of a one-year-old daughter, Aya Zain.
God forbid that he should hang up his microphone before you get to see him perform live. Maher’s three-hour concert tomorrow at Stadium Merdeka starts at 8pm. For tickets and VIP seats, call TicketCharge at 03-9222 8811 or the Marctensia hotline at 03-2092 1199.
The concert is organised by Marctensia Concerts and Awakening Entertainment, sponsored by Etiqa Takaful and One Drop Perfumes, presented by Canon and supported by Tourism Malaysia.
Published June 15, 2012