Ahead of Waltham Forest Mela, we spoke to local artist Hani King about his upcoming performance at the event, what inspires him and how important Melas are for local communities.
What can people expect from your performance at Waltham Forest Mela?
I'm very excited and massively looking forward to be at the Waltham Forest Mela. I'll be performing my tracks such as 'Nazron Sey' and 'Saat Samandar (seven seas), refix'. Don't forget to bring your dancing shoes! Plus I'll be performing my unreleased track 'Habibi', which I've produced, written and composed. These will be a taste of the sound that is true to me. It means a lot to me as I believe that you should never forget your roots and be proud of where you come from. I live in Waltham Forest and this is home to me and it's always great to perform in front of the local crowd. Plus, I love the attention!
How has Waltham Forest/your local area influenced your life and songwriting?
I believe some of my best work is created when I’m in an environment I feel good in. Waltham Forest, my local area, has changed quite a bit over my time here and it’s always improving and making it a special place to live in. When my surroundings are nice, it motivates and inspires me to be creative and think big. That’s why I look for different genres as I’m a big fan of diversity. What better borough to live in than THE London Borough of Culture.
What inspires you to create music? What drives your artistic creativity?
Anything can inspire me: deep conversations with people, good music, nature and experiences such as travelling. I love to explore different cultures and see how diverse yet beautiful this world is. And (I almost forgot!) great food! Music is so inspiring. It helps me to reflect on what matters to me, who I am and what I'm working towards in life. It motivates me to inspire others. It's the best way to express my feelings and is a great form of escapism. A song is just like a painting; it's abstract- you compose, write and record a song. Yet, the song is experienced differently by all. No two people will feel the same despite the chords, melody and lyrics all being the same.
How important are Melas to a local community and why?
I am a strong believer for festivals and events that are organised for the local community as I grew up with my Dad organising various events, festivals, concerts, back in the Middle East for the local community. Plus, there came a time when I was co-producing these events and throughout these experiences, I learned that events such as Melas are really important to the community as it is another chance for everyone to get together to celebrate diversity, great music, different cultures and food. Also, let’s not forget the benefits for local businesses as not only people locally but also people from other boroughs come to Melas. All that is required is to get the Mela to be showcased with quality, create a buzz and to be talked about by people who attend the event throughout London. Waltham Forest never fails to excite!
What else do you have coming up this year?
It's been a very exciting and a bit of a hectic year in the studio as I've been mastering the craft of music production. Previously, you would've heard my compositions and songs written by me and in some of the songs I was co-producing them. In my upcoming tracks you'll be introduced to my music with me taking the full plunge as a producer. I've produced, written and composed my latest songs. It’s been hectic but I’ve loved every minute. I've been working on a few new tracks where I've managed to explore different genres. I want to represent my roots and I’ve been inspired from the Arab world in my upcoming track 'Habibi'. This is a fusion of Arab and Asian melodies with a Western music production.