Very relaxing and soothing, Lo-fi music has been taking the internet by storm, dominating most musical narratives online without ever falling out of fashion. Weaving elements of jazz, hip-hop and sometimes even electro and house together, the strength of Lo-Fi music probably resides within its very simple yet layered nature, giving birth to the perfect blend of calmness, serenity, and wholesomeness.
Appropriating the cannon as his very own, Saudi-Arabia’s gifted Mishaal Tamer has developed a signature style through this category of music, gathering a community of hundreds of thousands of fans whilst racking a vertiginous average of over 2 million monthly listeners across his streaming profiles.
Born and raised in Saudi Arabia to a Saudi-Ecuadorian household, Mishaal’s artistic endeavours are constant. Almost never-ending. An ongoing process in which art, especially music, starts at one end without ever reaching the other as influences and creative flow constantly keep the upper hand over the young virtuoso’s daily life.
“Music for me always starts with an idea. Either a lyric or a glimpse of a melody – it can even be a ringtone I hear, a siren of a car nearby for example,” Mishaal explains. “And then, whatever I’m doing, whether I’m eating, showering or else, I just quickly jump out and run to the nearest guitar and get my phone out to record. From there I head straight to the studio, even if I have homework to do, drop everything to make a beat, art, and whatever I feel then is what I do and come up with”
Mishaal isn’t really your typical Arab artist. One of the very few that have mastered the use of electronic pads to almost perfection. His multicultural background coupled with his artistic sensitivity have provided him with a melting-pot of inspirations to pick and choose from—be in the musical or fashion sense of things.
Teaming up with Italian retailer Yoox to celebrate their newest shopping destination dubbed Hi Guy_Z!, we dove a little deeper into the Saudi singer’s style. It turns out, the line, which was created to celebrate creativity and originality is exactly in line with Mishaal’s personal style.
Launched in June, the YNAP-owned retailer launched Hi Guy_Z!, a shopping hub dedicated to the youthful generation, spotlighting up-and-coming designers and talents, and ultimately aligning with everything Gen Z stands for. Put simply, it’s any 20-somethings’ virtual shopping dreams come true.
Rather than scrolling through the thousands of brands, only a few hundred were plucked to be part of Hi Guy_Z!. Be it Jacquemus or Heron Preston for their aesthetic, or a niche sustainable label like the Swedish Dedicated, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for on Yoox.
For Mishaal, colour is how he sorts through his personal style. “It sounds a little strange, but it really does help me pick my outfits,” he explains. “When I look at a painting for example and its combination of colours and shapes, I try to transpose them onto myself. I don’t really show it on my social media, although I probably should, but on a daily basis I really do care about how I look and what I wear.”
Whilst he might not outwardly seem like a fashion enthusiast, Mishaal is certainly one. “I love fashion, it’s the same as music – it’s colourful and made of life,” he says. “I say life not to sound cheesy or anything but it’s an expression of who you are and what you’re feeling. It’s not maths. It’s not cut and dry. It’s intangible, it comes from within, and everyone has that little something different, a slightly different spice and I’m just looking for my own seasoning,” he continues.
Speaking of seasoning and style, with almost 2,000,000 monthly listeners, Mishaal’s music definitely beams beyond the borders of the region proving how the region’s music and fashion tastes can also appeal on a global scale.
Recognizable and unique, we asked him what defines the Mishaal touch. “I’m not quite sure how it all happened. The music that is out now, most of it is independent stuff that I did on my laptop with a cheap microphone and my cousin’s help. Maybe because it was honest,” he says.
“I also think that timing has a lot to do with it. The Arab world has for the longest time been in a bubble within itself and hasn’t really been exposed to the rest of the world. With the internet now, it’s easier than ever for us to shine across borders. I feel like people have a lot to see and that we also have a lot to show.
If we had to define what the Mishaal touch is: we’d say it’s freedom of expression.
And if you’re wondering what the singer’s favourite Hi Guy_Z! pieces are, look no further: