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Oakland, California, United States | INDIE

Oakland, California, United States | INDIE
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"Jhameel - "Are You Free""

Jhameel’s latest release follows in the footsteps of his widely popular Waves series, which was released late last year. Like Waves, the new series (titled Are You Free) is a set of 5 tracks released over 5 weeks, each playing a role in the overall story and theme.

The debut track and namesake from the series “Are You Free” is a blundered frenzy of pop and fuzz, built around Jhameel’s emotional vocals that strike with enough vigor to wake up Snorlax. - IndieShuffle.com

"Jhameel - "Shadow of a Man""

Last week, Jhameel premiered the eponymous track off of his new music installation series. Following the successful approach of his Waves series, every Tuesday over the span of five weeks Jhameel will be releasing a new track off of Are you Free. The second song, titled "Shadow of a Man" was released earlier today, which following suit of the first installment displays Jhameel tackling emotionality charged topics head-on, infusing each piece with his unique pop flair.

While "Are You Free" challenges listeners to reflect inwardly on the prospect of living life towards your dreams vs. renouncing them as unattainable, "Shadows of a Man" takes a brazenly frank stance on talking about the often times taboo issue of domestic abuse. In a recent interview with PigeonsandPlanes, Jhameel stated "I’ve been in a dark place the past few months. So this next series is going to be really dark," in reference to the Are You Free series. Jhameel's emotionally charged voice adds a chilling sense of realism to the lyrics:

"Take it by your bruises he's been workin' hard on ya/ Feedin' you this bullshit why he needs to take it out on ya/ I've seen this all before/ Slaps you then calls you whore/ You need to leave him darlin' don't let this go on."

The deeper affairs Jhameel is embracing in his new content adds a welcomed contrast to a genre that is deluged with mindless trivialities. His spirited pop cadence pairs well with the darker messages, allowing the song to delve into certain issues without becoming too dispiriting for the listener. Enjoy Jhameel's powerful new song, and check back next Tuesday for his latest installment to the Are You Free series. - Earmilk.com

"Jhameel - "White Lie""

Straight up pop music can be hard to digest for you indie-loving music snobs that only listen to shit that 9 out of 10 people in a grocery store “wouldn’t understand.” Jhameel most definitely makes pop music, but he does it with a subtle touch that always drives his music into a creative new space that separates it from your typical pop. Sometimes he gets funky, sometimes he screams, but even when it’s a straightforward, catchy-as-hell pop song like “White Lie,” he does it right, without taking it into that over-the-top radio pop zone. - Pigeons and Planes

"New Band of the Day"

The background: Jhameel (it means "beautiful" in Arabic) is a breathy-voiced Prince/George Michael of a pop polymath. Still only 20, the son of a master violinist (who apparently appeared in the original Fame movie), he spent his childhood surrounded by instruments. As a consequence, on his recent album The Human Condition, available as a free download from his website, he played every note of the self-penned and self-produced songs himself, using, variously, guitar, piano, bass, drums, violin, cello, trumpet and synths.

The Human Condition is his second album – his first, which you can hear on Spotify, was a quieter, more Sufjan Stevens-ish affair. This one wears its flamboyance on its sleeve - literally, since he's shown on the cover bearing an asymmetrical fringe and black eye-paint and streaks, making him resemble a collision between Adam Ant and Phil Oakey. Not that the music is in any way gaudy. It's a bold, sometimes brassy (like we say, he plays, among other things, the trumpet), but always classy collection of grown-up pop music that reminds us of Prince, those gorgeous Georges (Boy and Michael), even Peter Gabriel circa Sledgehammer and So.

Jhameel, who has produced his own YouTube-able cover versions of songs by the Knife, T-Pain, Fleet Foxes and Broken Social Scene, might recall adult pop artists from another chart era, but he's attuned to the exigencies of the day: his most recent scheme, during November and early December, was to release a new song, each accompanied by original photography, every week over five weeks for a series called Waves. It was perhaps inevitable that Jhameel – who majored in Arabic at Berkeley, and speaks Spanish, Korean and Russian – would do things differently, given his history: he was training to be an officer in the US army when he decided to quit owing to his doubts about America's presence in the Middle East. Overnight, he swapped the military for music.

War makes a cameo on The Human Condition, as do politics, prejudice, loneliness, and drugs. Not that you'd know – even if he is hectoring, you're generally too busy paying attention to the busy melodies and bustling arrangements to notice. The opening track on the album – the only four-minute number on a record otherwise comprised of three-minute tunes – Until the Forest Knows features a descending All You Need Is Love-style melody and a baroque chamber pop arrangement. The title track is for fans of pop with funky inflections. On Cafe Du Monde you get the impression of an intense, imaginative young man with plenty of ideas. Old Words, New Times is almost MOR. It's not startlingly original, but it doesn't sound like anyone in particular. Bernal Heights, a recent No 1 on Hype Machine, would make a superb single. And Jhameel would make a superb pop star, even though we realise that, like Sliimy and a few others we've written about over the years in this column, sometimes these colourful would-be pop characters don't quite have what it takes to achieve pop success beyond a theoretical level.
- The Guardian (UK)

"DOWNLOAD: Jhameel - White Lie"

San Francisco artist Jhameel has released several efforts over the past few years, but he recently broke-out with a five-song series entitled WAVES. Released as a song per week via his website, the multi-instrumental, self-produced musician shines on “White Lie" – a lush indie-pop number with sultry vocals sliding across dulcet electro-rock beats. - RCRDLBL.com

"MTV Iggy"

San Francisco-based pop prodigy Jhameel writes painfully beautiful songs that will probably raise your IQ. They have a strong classical influence and they handle complex subjects like homophobia and prostitution with lyrical subtlety.
jhameel t-pain

Jhameel, y'all. Photo: jhameel.com

Yeah, he’s probs going to be famous. Originally from Minnesota, he’s the kind of person who could probably be successful at anything he set out to do. He speaks several languages and attended UC Berkeley, majoring in Arabic. (His stage name came from his time in a house for international students, bestowed on him by a Lebanese housemate.) We’re very lucky that he decided to make music instead of choosing a more lucrative profession.

Of mixed Japanese, Korean, and Mongolian background, Jhameel has got the voice (and face) of an androgynous angel. The ambiguity is deliberate. But it’s not an act. He’s said in interviews that he just likes looking kind of girlie. But you’re in luck, ladies. He also likes girls.

His music is pretty and challenging at the same time. With his memorable vocal style and sophisticated mastery of melody you could compare him to Antony Hegarty but, ultimately, more immediately accessible and with greater breadth of style. Think Antony by way of Postal Service and The Blow. But, actually, more timeless than that.

The song “The Human Condition,” off his album of the same name, will make you want to dance. It might also break your heart. It’s heavy like that.

Still, he’s not above covering T-Pain’s “Buy You a Drink.” But somehow he makes the club banger sound like paean to spiritual love. Oh, and he’s got a song about weed. He’s got everything. Or maybe he is everything. - MTV

"The Burning Ear"

Hopefully you all remember Jhameel from his solid debut I covered last year. An intriguing character with some unique musical stylings, he’s dropped another free album, The Human Condition, on us and I’m quite pleasantly impressed. His musicianship is tighter, his hooks catchier, and lyrics even sharper. “Bernal Heights” is an instant ear turner, with that swinging rhythm weaving between the creeping, stomping beat, while Jhameel’s perfectly punctuated vocals ground it all. Even though the song has an ominous vibe I still get the sense that Jhameel is having a lot a fun with his music. This feeling is never more prevalent than on the next track, the twangy, bouncy ode to herb, “THC.” Even makes a non smoker like me want to toke up, especially if it was with this guy.

? Jhameel – How Many Lovers

Jhameel’s good spirits continue even into unlikely territory. Singing as the hyper-paranoid new boyfriend in “How Many Lovers” he still sounds like he is having a blast and somehow knows that he is not only over-thinking things but that it will all probably work out.

? Jhameel – The Human Condition

Don’t let me fool you into thinking that The Human Condition is all fun and games, Jhameel tackles some heavy personal topics and handles them all with insight and openness. Other standout tracks are album opener “Until The Forrest Knows” and the title track, although the whole album is fantastic and it was not easy picking which ones I wanted to post here. Luckily Jhameel is offering The Human Condition as a free download so you can just dive right in. Rightfully so, he is also accepting donations so if you are loving this album as much as me then throw some change his way. Great art should be rewarded. - The Burning Ear

"MTV album review"

Jhameel’s second LP, The Human Condition, is an album of classically-influenced pop that struggles gracefully with the big issues of our time. It’s so graceful that it could put him in the running to be the voice of his generation — if enough people download it.
jhameel the human condition

Jhameel's sophomore album The Human Condition Photo: amazon.com

The Human Condition mixes electronic and acoustic elements into gorgeous music akin to Jonsí. “Until the Forest Knows,” opens the album with churchy strings plucked and bowed, but it’s about looking within for spiritual strength, rather than heavenward.

It’s followed by the title track, a slightly sweaty piece of MGMT style funk. Somehow the transition is easy to make. Maybe it’s because Jhameel’s colorful, androgynous voice presides over both of them.

The song “The Human Condition” is aching humanist gospel that puzzles over all our terrible contradictions. Jhameel is barely into his twenties, but he’s already turned aside from the officer’s track in the military and graduated with honors from UC Berkeley. Hopefully, older listeners will forgive his presumption in having something to say.

He also isn’t offering too many prescriptions, but he isn’t peddling despair either. “Cafe du Monde” continues with more of his hungrily searching lyrics and uplifting melodies.

“Old Words, New Times,” is like a nature worshipping guitar mass.”Come together and love one another,” he sings. It should sound hokey, but it doesn’t. And then”THC” is ’80s style freedom rock re-imagined. And, it’s totally about weed.

His tensely reflective folk song pondering why we go to war is, wisely, written as a dialogue with a soldier’s daughter. It’s anything but ponderous. That’s the strange thing about the songs, they’re buoyed by such restless hope — and they’re so perfectly executed — that they never even touch the ground. Their lightness allows him to blithely cross all kinds of pop music boundaries. He does it all so deftly that you might not notice.

Physical copies of his album will be available soon but he’s currently offering The Human Condition as a download on his website. It’s free, but he’s taking donations. It’s worth the donation. - MTV


http://audiomuffin.com/jhameel/ - The Audio Muffin

"Berkeley Alum Jhameel Pursues Music"

http://www.dailycal.org/article/109080/berkeley_alum_jhameel_pursues_music - The Daily Californian

"The Titans We Loved: An Exploration of Jhameel's Music"

http://www.wesleslie.com/?p=42 - Wes Leslie

"March 2010 Monthly Mix (Podcast #207)"

http://www.thebaybridged.com/tag/jhameel/ - The Bay Bridged


http://www.lieger.org/index.php?action=BlogDetail&blogId=55 - The Lieger Syndrome Blog

"Free Music Friday: Indie Music Downloads From Russell Young, Jhameel, Kaile Goh, Murnau, and Peter Comes From Neverland"

http://indiemusicuniverse.com/general/free-music-friday-indie-music-downloads-russell-young/ - Indie Music Universe

"Becoming Jhameel"

Becoming Jhameel
Jhameel came to UC Berkeley on a military scholarship. Now he's an androgynous indie singer.
By Kirsty Evans

Show Info
Jhameel performs at Bottom of the Hill (1233 17th St., San Francisco) on Wednesday, June 16. 9pm, $12-$14. Bottomofthehill.com

Jhameel is a perfect example of what a university education is supposed to do for people — shake them up, change the way they see themselves and the world, and expose them to radical life-changing new people and ideas.

This young purveyor of gorgeous, dreamy classical-tinged pop songs grew up in Minnesota, a child of Korean, Japanese and Mongolian ancestry in an overwhelmingly white town. Like many kids from poor families, he found a way out in the form of a military recruiter. With good grades and a natural knack for languages (he speaks Arabic, Korean, Spanish and a little Chinese and Russian, in addition to reading Latin), he entered the US Army's Reserve Officer Training Corps program while in high school. The program pays for recruits to go to college, with the stipulation that after graduating, they'll commit at least four years to the military.

Jhameel gamely tried to put aside his lifelong interest in music and make it work. He endured the early morning physical training, and the field training courses. But then he got to UC Berkeley and moved into Casa Zimbabwe, a "very exchange-student oriented co-op where I met a lot of people from all over the world"

It was an eye-opening experience for a kid from a conservative Christian family. So was studying Arabic. Jhameel notes that Islam is so embedded in the language that it's impossible to learn the language without being exposed to the religion. "There are so many different dialects, your knowledge is incomplete if you don't learn about the culture as well," he said.

The decidedly liberal environment at UC Berkeley and his gradual exposure to Arab culture clashed with Jhameel's conservative background and his ongoing military training. That led to serious cognitive dissonance and a decision to drop out of ROTC and focus instead on music.

"I had a point in my life where I was just thinking through what I really wanted ... my major was Arabic and I was learning so much about the culture and getting so many friends who were telling me so many conflicting things, it was just this mass of information going into my head and I was so confused. I started getting panic attacks because I knew that I didn't want to do it, but I was also in denial about not wanting to do it, because there were so many forces pushing me toward it."

Things came to a head one summer during his leadership training. He renamed himself Jhameel — he declines to reveal his birth name, and says the new name was given to him by a Lebanese friend "to remind me that everything can be beautiful" — and began embracing his long-time interest in androgyny. "I always liked looking girly. I like women, but I also want to look like a woman."

A casual glance at some of the pictures on Jhameel's site might leave the viewer wondering if he is looking at a man or a woman. This ambiguity isn't accidental. "I think I'm more masculine, but I'm feminine in comparison to the overcompensation," Jhameel said. "I'm more masculine than I'd like to be, but I can't help that because it's just how I am. I don't feel a need to overcompensate — why be extreme when you can be comfortable?"

That whole process of questioning informed his music, as well. Jhameel's new self-titled album contains some pretty heavy lyrical themes — domestic violence, homophobia, prostitution — and yet the actual sound isn't depressing or negative at all. The album itself is remarkably pretty, with an open airy feel and some lovely pop hooks.

That seems to be Jhameel's ultimate goal: to draw people in and alter their way of seeing things in a subtle way. It's provocative stuff, and deliberately so, but not in a confrontational, punk sort of way.

The music he makes has a definite pop sensibility, but at the same time also an experimental edge. Incorporating both classical instruments like violin and trumpet along with random objects, it's instinctive rather than intellectual, the product of a very clearly left-brained individual. "A lot of experimental or indie artists will sacrifice pop value for being new and original, and a lot of pop artists will try to make something very accessible and easy to listen to. I think neither side has to be compromised."

In a move very indicative of the way things are going in the world of music, Jhameel is hoping to eke out a living on the money he makes playing shows and hawking merchandise. A few local record companies have shown an interest, but so far he's elected to go the DIY route.

He has a desire to provoke people to think by coaxing them rather than by battering them over the head with his message — what he refers to as being "challengingly moderate." He's an unusual sort of artist — provocative but gentle, political but nonpartisan, ambitious without being arrogant, challenging American ideas about masculinity simply by being true to himself.
- East Bay Express


http://www.muzikreviews.com/reviews.php?ID=1067 - Muzik Reviews

"JHAMEEL offers his musical HELLO for no CASH"

http://www.theburningear.com/2010/05/jhameel-offers-his-musical-hello-for-no-cash/#comments - The Burning Ear

"3:AM in the Mix"

Update: Four Questions to Jhameel

3:AM: What is your favourite word in your favourite song?
Jhameel: “Ambrosia” in the song Aphrodite encompasses some of my favorite themes. There’s an element of absolute sensation in the word, it’s the epitome of taste and smell that’s so blissful that it only belongs to the gods. It also doesn’t hurt that it just sounds pretty :)
3:AM: Does your familiarity with the Arabic language influence your lyrics?
Jhameel: I think so. Arabic has really given me an appreciation for archetypes and structures. I like to have color, variety, and chaos in my music, but they all stand on firm infrastructure both musically and ideally, much like the Arabic language
3:AM: Who’s your favourite underground artist right now, and who’s your favourite mainstream artist?
Jhameel: I’ve been listening to a lot of DM Stith lately. I’m a sucker for wild sounding percussion and strings. My favorite mainstream artist is Missy Elliott. I still listen to “Work It” sometimes.
3:AM:Do you plan to tour across the USA and/or abroad in the near future?
Jhameel: Yup. I’m making a short term move to New York in the fall and plan on hitting a few small places for shows on a drive across the country. Nothing major except maybe a few festivals that I’m waiting on. - 3:AM Magazine


I am amazed. What a fantastic musician!

A friend of mine showed me an article about him. I thought he must be famous. Well, he's not. It's a shame. And that's why I blog about him today, 'cause musicians like him have to get as many positive reviews as possible.

The best thing about his new album is: it's free. You can download it on his homepage.

Try it. Listen. Enjoy the state of trance. And dream.

PS: click on the linked article above and listen to "Hello Cash"! It's my favourite song of the album. - The Lieger Syndrome

"Former Minnesota artists Jhameel rocks the looping machine"

Jhameel is multi-instrumental artists from Minnesota (now based in the Bay Area) who performs lives with the aid of those beloved looping machines.

This. Is. Cool. - Perfect Porridge


Album is free at www.jhameel.com

series title: Are You Free
released May 2012
(5 tracks)

series title: Waves
released December 2011
(5 tracks)

EP title: The Dance EP
released January 2011
(5 tracks)

album title: The Human Condition
released January 2011
(10 tracks)

album title: Jhameel
released Feb. 10 2010
(12 tracks)



Jhameel is 23 year-old multi-instrumentalist who performs/writes/records/produces/mixes his music all on his own. His live show includes a full band.

- Jhameel's new video for "Shadow of a Man" will be released with a publicity team very soon.
- He is currently recording his 2nd full length album, which will be released in spring 2013.
- Jhameel was featured on Hoodie Allen's single "No Faith In Brooklyn." The album reached #1 on iTunes, debuted at #10 on the Top 200 Chart, and the song has over 2 million streams on Youtube.
- Jhameel is currently featured on indie-rapper E-Dubble's single "Code Words."
- Jhameel has reached the top 10 on Hype Machine with 8 different songs, and has reached #2 on We Are Hunted twice, most recently with "Shadow of a Man" from the Are You Free EP.
- His song "Collision" was used in a Verizon advertising campaign March 2012, "Shut Up" was Forever 21's Fall 2011 theme song, his song "Origami Monsters" is featured in a Crayola commercial running now.
- Online stats: 1.2 million streams on Youtube, 665,000 streams on Soundcloud, 220,000 plays on Last.fm
- Great international press has included: RCRDLBL – The Guardian – Pigeons and Planes - Elle.com fdsa
- Jhameel has played shows in LA and San Francisco opening for Hoodie Allen, Polica, Walk The Moon, Metronomy, and more.

Jhameel is an eternal optimist. The new millennium has seen the collapse of the old music-industry paradigm, leaving opportunity ripe for a young musician to set out on his own terms. To this end, Jhameel combines his pop-sensibility with a strong disregard for genre-barriers to create a sound that is “deep, anthemic, and instantly catchy. ”

Jhameel has made up his own mind about what makes good pop music. He explains, “music has always been about conveying emotion, and what is unique about pop music is that it presents this emotion in a way that’s both accessible and fun to listen to.” Jhameel’s newest release Are You Free brings this emotion across with powerful melodies and sharp, to-the-point lyrics.

While his soaring, fierce, “honey-drenched voice of an angel [MySpoonful]” leads the way, Jhameel fills out his sound with an array of instruments that he plays himself. Jhameel is also his own producer, custom tailoring the production of each song to serve its particular message. With a cavalier approach to songwriting, a keen ear for production, and a brave multi-instrumentalist talent, Jhameel stands apart from other pop artists.

By the release of Jhameel’s second album The Human Condition, his honest, organic pop began to win the hearts of music fans when tracks “Bernal Heights” and “The Human Condition” shot to the top of the Hype Machine Popular Chart. He followed up with the Dance EP, which featured the furiously energetic “Shut Up," a track that not only took over the Hype Machine charts once more, but became Forever 21’s flagship song for the fall of 2011.

In the winter of 2011, Jhameel presented his five song WAVES series, a unique format in which he released a new single every Tuesday for five weeks. The title track “Waves”, reached #2 on both Hype Machine and We Are Hunted, while “Collision” was used in a national advertisement for Verizon's Droid RAZR. Jhameel showed true versatility with “White Lie”, a hip-hop inspired pop song which reached #10 on Hype Machine.