Samer Fanek
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Samer Fanek

Daly City, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Daly City, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Solo Electronic Instrumental


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Jordanian composer produces award-winning album from his ‘bedroom studio’"

AMMAN — The cinematic orchestra compositions of award-winning album “Wishful Thinking” are actually the product of Jordanian pianist and composer Samer Fanek’s “bedroom studio”, consisting mainly of a keyboard and music software.

“Instrumental music in movies and video games always inspired me, especially when it made me feel emotional to the point where I’d ignore the movie or game storyline and just focus on the music,” Fanek, who spent his teenage years trying to figure out his favourite songs on a keyboard by ear, said in an e-mail interview with The Jordan Times.

Stumbling upon a music software, he started experimenting with sounds and instruments that he has never heard before such as the Japanese koto and the Armenian duduk.

Fanek’s album, which he released in July this year, climbed to no.2 on the international Zone Music Reporter Radio Airplay chart and no.1 on the Best Sellers in New Age/New Releases.

It also won a silver medal in the Global Music Awards for best album and creativity/originality as well as a nomination for the 2016 Hollywood in Music and Media Awards in the Contemporary Classical/Instrumental category.

With a variety of inspirations, starting with composers like Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer, Yanni and Nobuo Uematsu, the acclaimed composer of the “Final Fantasy” video game series, to rock influences from the likes of Muse, Queen and Dream Theatre, Fanek’s instrumental compositions reflect a combination of genres, “sometimes even crossing multiple genres in a single song”, he said.

“Sometimes I’d like to build up the intensity even further beyond using an orchestra, and using powerful guitars and drums is a good way to achieve that.”

Although Fanek had been interested in music since an early age, he chose to pursue a higher education degree in computer science at Princess Sumaya University for Technology, followed by a programme in the same field in the US, after which he juggled a full-time job as a software developer and his nocturnal commitment to creating music.

“Part of me had an irrational fear that my creative freedom might be limited if I chose to do a music programme and learned about all the music rules they teach,” he said.

It was not until last December that he finally decided “it was time to leave my software developer job and try to make it as an independent full-time pianist and composer”.

New technologies in the music industry have made it a lot easier and cheaper for musicians like Fanek to produce professional-quality record music without the need to learn how to read sheet music or play all the instruments in the orchestra, the composer said, noting that his album, which recently made the 59th Grammy Awards’ first-round ballot in the Best New Age Album category, took 50 different virtual instruments to complete.

“In the old days, if I wanted to compose music with orchestrations like on my album, I would need to write all the music on a sheet of paper, hire a full orchestra, and pay them thousands of dollars to rehearse and perform the music in a large recording studio.”

And yet, Fanek’s dream remains to play his compositions with an orchestra for large audiences, both in his current residence in California, and in Jordan, where he follows the progress of the local music scene and says he is “happy to particularly see the music and tech scene thriving this much”.

“When I compose a piece of music, I usually create it with the intention that it will create a lot of emotional impact when heard on the CD as well as when performed live… my compositions are piano-driven with a backing orchestra that becomes more powerful as the song progresses, and I imagine that this will translate to a lot of energy on a real live stage.” - Jordan Times

"Wishful Thinking by Samer Fanek"

The act of “wishful thinking” is something we’ve all done at one time or another. For some, it remains purely in the realm of thought, while others may act on those desires to bring them into manifestation. Keyboardist/composer Samer Fanek is one of the later. (Pronunciation note: Samer rhymes with hammer, and Fanek rhymes with panic) In the pursuit of making his dream a reality, Samer took a huge leap of faith and not long ago, quit a high paying software developer job in Silicon Valley, which he had for 5 years in order to devote himself to music full time.

This was not an easy decision for Samer, especially in light of the fact that all the people he was close to advised him against it. There were also cultural values he was up against. In one of the more interesting blends of nationalities I’ve heard in a while, Samer is Polish-Jordanian, born in Amman, Jordan, although currently residing in the San Francisco Bay area. According to Samer: “The culturally acceptable professions in Jordan steer towards the traditional ones such as engineering or medicine. However, making this album became so important to me that I was willing to risk going against these cultural norms and opinions. While I was working in the software industry, I grew increasingly frustrated with the thought that not all my time and energy were being directed towards my dream. By December 2015, I quit my software developer job, which started at Microsoft and ended at a startup called Okta, to work on my music full-time. This decision was entirely influenced by pure gut feeling that this music has the potential to inspire and emotionally impact a lot of people.”

Samer’s fascination with music goes back to his earlier years, as he described in our interview: “I think back when I was 12 or 13 we had a small keyboard lying around the house in Jordan. I taught myself how to play simple songs by ear through trial and error. Eventually I discovered digital audio workstation (DAW) software called Cakewalk Home Studio, which had a set of 127 instrument sounds that I started experimenting with. That made me discover that there are different instruments out there beyond my rudimentary knowledge, and I remember having fun combining them together. Over time I kept on trying to learn as many of my favorite songs as I could until I became comfortable doing it quite quickly. I also started making complete rearrangements of songs on the DAW where I would record all the instrument parts and have them act as a backing track while I play along the main melody on the piano.” At this point in his career, many of Samer’s compositions are quite complex, yet interestingly he never learned to read music, but plays by ear.

When I asked him about how he got interested in the new age music genre, Samer shared: “As a teenager, when I was in my mother’s car, she would play Yanni cassette tapes. That kind of music appealed to me, eventually resulting in me covering his music at home. I would play his songs and songs of similar artists on my college campus later on, and would sometimes notice what impact they were having on students who were sitting in the lounge studying, or perhaps taking a break from the stress of classes. Then I read Yanni’s biography and discovered that we have similar outlooks and goals in life. I got more convinced that following such a path might not be a far-fetched idea, and I would like to take crack at it.” Samer definitely has a liking for dramatic music and in addition to Yanni, some of his other influences include rock bands like Queen, Dream Theatre, and Muse, as well as film composers Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman, and video game composer Nobuo Uematsu.

Wishful Thinking is Samer’s debut album and features 13 original compositions on which he played all the sounds including piano and sampled instruments such as violins, guitars, horns, flutes, ethnic sounds, and percussion, from over 50 different virtual instrument libraries and synthesizers. I must say that my initial response after pressing play on the opening track was, wow! I was taken by surprise at the musical maturity of the piece coming from someone so young and completely self-taught as Samer is. I was greatly impressed by his melodic sophistication, exquisitely layered orchestration, and sense of dynamics in knowing when to dramatically build the composition and when to bring it back down to let it breathe. The title track, with its obvious Yanni influence certainly makes for an auspicious introduction to the album.

The next song, “Universe,” taps into Samer’s love of progressive rock music and can best be described with the word “epic,” featuring a full rock drum track, lush orchestration, and a soaring guitar solo played on keyboard. As someone who plays both guitar and synthesizer, I can say that emulating and executing a realistic lead guitar sound on a keyboard is not that easy, but Samer did a great job on this, pushing the song to a powerful crescendo. The next song, “Universe,” also brings the rock, but with a bit more of a neo-classical influence, and perhaps a slight trace of the Eastern European side of his familial roots.

With 13 highly detailed tracks on the album, I won’t go into a description of each one but will point out some highlights and give a sense of the range of the recording. Another facet of Samer’s musical spectrum is heard on “Lost Waltz,” which evokes images of finely dressed people in flowing gowns and formal wear moving elegantly on the ballroom floor in 3/4 time. A more wistful atmosphere is evoked on track 7, which Samer describes in this way: “’Left Behind’ was a song I struggled most with naming. It reminds me of the Polish word “żal”, which means grief, sorrow, remorse, regret and a dozen other words encapsulated within this one word. When I was composing it, I was constantly thinking of that Polish word and imagining some Eastern-European harsh conditions, such as a setting of post-war or poverty.” Somewhat of a similar musical sentiment is also heard in a track called “Desperation.” While most of Samer’s compositions are big and bold, a couple such as “Remember Me,” and the appropriately titled final track, “Finding Closure,” express a softer, more nostalgic ambiance.

I must say that Samer’s playing and compositional skills totally exceeded my expectations. He also has a great ear for arranging the highly detailed orchestration that he uses to embellish his piano work and animate the stories within his songs. Samer certainly has a flair for the dramatic and there is a cinematic quality to his music that could easily lend itself to film soundtracks. In his words: “I’d like to be viewed as a composer that creates emotional songs that are also intense and dramatic with big climaxes.” I’m sure that anyone listening to this album will come away with that impression of him. I was greatly impressed with how Samer, with his relative lack of experience and humble home studio production was able to assimilate the complex and emotionally evocative musical influences of an artist like Yanni and create his own highly original and imaginative compositions that compare surprisingly favorably. I can only imagine what he will be able to create given time and more advanced studio facilities. When Samer left his lucrative professional career to focus on his music, most people around him accused him of “wishful thinking.” But after a stellar debut album like this, it shows that wishes certainly can come true. - Music and Media Focus

"Self-taught pianist Samer Fanek on his debut album “Wishful Thinking” and the power of YouTube for musicians"

Having already amassed a large following for his piano covers on Youtube, all of which are arranged by ear alone, Samer Fanek has now released his debut album “Wishful Thinking”. The album features 13 original instrumental tracks- all of which Samer composed, performed and produced in his bedroom studio. It debuted at #12 on the US New Age Billboard charts, #6 on the iTunes New Age Music Charts and reached #1 on the Best Sellers in New Age, Hot New Releases in New Age and Movers and Shakers charts.

We chatted to the US-based artist about the process of creating “Wishful Thinking”, and on being a self-taught artist, the power of YouTube and musical inspirations.

Congratulations on the release of your first album “Wishful Thinking”. What was the process of creating the album like?
Thank you! I think it started all the way back in 2009 when I was still a graduate student studying computer science. I loved performing and creating music since my teenage years, but I’d say that 2009 was the year that set off my journey to create a full instrumental album. Back then, I started creating bits and pieces of the melody of the album’s first song, “Wishful Thinking”, and the idea of someday creating a full album was materializing. I was also coming up with various disjointed musical ideas that slowly developed into complete compositions, and those accumulated to over 40 compositions today.

Eventually, I picked 13 of these to drive to completion and include in this album.
Creating the album was neither a linear nor structured process. I would record a violin or cello part on one song, then jump to another song and add another idea with a percussion instrument, then come back to another song and compose an ending. I couldn’t decide when a composition is finished until I concluded that being “finished” is when any further addition or change to the song does more harm than good.
As the years passed, I would also be adding more and more equipment to my bedroom studio. In addition to that, I was acquiring more instrument libraries that allowed me to create tracks with all sorts of diverse instruments by playing and recording them on the keyboard.

I eventually developed such a vast collection of instruments to choose from and experiment with while composing. These ranged from all your traditional orchestral instruments, to rock music instruments such as powerful drums, electric and bass guitars, to world instruments such as the Japanese koto and Armenian duduk. Given that I cannot afford hiring orchestra or band to play my music yet, I would record every instrument part you hear on the album in my home studio. I would also add some instrument artifacts and articulations to make them sound more realistic, such as fret noises on a guitar, the clicking sound of changing an oboe note, or making a violin more expressive by varying its pitch to simulate vibrato. The end result of all of these experiences is the album you’re hearing today.

You are a self-taught pianist, how did you first approach playing and improving your skills?
It started back when I was 12 or 13 when we had a keyboard lying around the house which I’ll try to figure out my favorite songs by trial and error. I also happened to discover music production software that I could connect a keyboard to and figure out what it is like to arrange songs with more than just the piano.

This opened a lot of possibilities because the software had built-in instruments that I could try out, and many of the sounds that these instruments made were unknown to me. As time passed by, I noticed an improvement in my playing and listening ability as I recreated and performed more and more instrumental versions of my favorite songs.
My mom tried signing me up for piano lessons as a teenager, but these didn’t last long as I chose to base my learnings entirely on listening to songs that I enjoy and figuring out how to play them by ear. I think I was afraid that going the traditional route of learning the theory behind music and all the musical rules might somehow limit my creative freedom. This is likely one of the reasons that kept me from trying to enroll in a music undergraduate program and opting for a computer science one instead.

Improving my skills, both performance and composition-wise, came as a byproduct of all the experiences learned by performing and arranging many songs over the years. These songs ranged from all sorts of genres such as movie music, video game music, new-age, pop, rock and heavy metal. Eventually I took in all those experiences and started composing my own instrumental music.

Do you have any particular inspirations for your music? I know you’ve listed Yanni and Nobou Uematsu (yes!) in your bio- what is it about their music that inspires you?
There is something about their music that makes me feel emotional and gives me chills, especially that they’re not using lyrics to tell me what the song is about. This kind of effect is very inspiring to me and I would love to replicate it with my own compositions.

In Nobou Uematsu’s case, I would sometimes be playing Final Fantasy (the video game which he scored the music for) on my computer, and I would entirely stop playing the game and just sit there and listen to the music. I’ve noticed a similar effect repeatedly occurring when I was watching movies with beautiful scores, where I’d entirely tune out the motion picture and just focus on the song being played.

When I performed Yanni and Uematsu’s works on a public piano, I’d also notice the effect these songs were having on other people. That really motivated me to come up with compositions that have that kind of effect and someday perform them live to large audiences. As a result, while composing a part of a song, if I feel an emotional response that is growing on me, I know it’s a keeper and I work on refining it until that idea is communicated as strongly as possible.

Your covers are all arranged by ear, would that be the same case for your compositions? Do you just remember the piece as you work on it?
Yes, because I have no other choice! I think this is taken to an extreme with my compositions as I iterated over them so many times while I was composing and arranging the various parts. That repetition made me remember the tiniest details that I’ve put into my songs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of times I heard my compositions is in the thousands at this point.

When I get an idea while composing a song, it’s also a similar concept where I proceed to translate the idea on the keyboard by ear as I am hearing it in my head.

I’d imagine that many years from now, if I am asked to perform some of my earliest compositions, I would probably go back to the recording and figure it out by listening to it, as I have no other way of relearning how to play it.

What do you think the main differences are in playing by ear vs. reading sheet music? Do you think it results in a different feeling to the music?
I think that playing by ear requires you to entirely use your memory to replicate what you heard in the song on your own instrument, also providing the immediate freedom to add your own variations to it. You’ll eventually also acquire the memory of what pitch each piano key sounds like, which makes it easier to translate what you heard into the right keys.Things become even more interesting when you have multiple instruments playing in a song and you’d like to create a version that somehow sums them all up on a single instrument like the piano. It forces you to deeply listen to the original recording and discover various nuances that you’d like to recreate on the instrument of your choice. I found that once I listen to a song multiple times, I also start discovering some fun minute details that the original song creators have put in that weren’t as evident before, which is pretty exciting!

I also think that playing only by ear also results in a different feeling to the music. Given that you don’t have a sheet of music guiding you, you are free to translate the music that you hear in any shape or form that you like. That may result into a different feeling than the original songwriter intended, but at the end of the day it’s more personal. When you don’t have a sheet of paper telling you how to play a song, I’d like to think that you’ll have a more natural tendency to experiment with the song and be more open to changing it to something that appeals more to your tastes and style. Your current performance of a song might be entirely different from the previous time you played it.

YouTube personalities, and specifically music artists, are becoming increasingly prevalent these days. What are your thoughts on this?
YouTube has become a fantastic medium for carving out a music career without the support of major labels and large promotional campaigns. Many of these personalities have proven that over the last couple of years. Given that hundreds of millions of people watch videos on YouTube and get more and more personalized videos based off their search and viewing history, chances are you will be discovered by the group of people who enjoy the type of music that you make. I think when I first created my YouTube channel and started getting positive feedback on my music videos, it further convinced me to pursue music full-time. It’s nice to have technology give you a chance to get validation of your work from people tuning in from all around the world.

I think YouTube is currently one of the most popular mediums for listening to music so a lot of artists started releasing their complete albums on there. People just put on a YouTube playlist, minimize the browser tab, and go on with their day sometimes without even watching the video. Every now and then they would discover a new artist they like out the blue, and I hope to someday be one of their discoveries.

In your biography you mention that it’s your “long time dream to create powerful and dramatic instrumental music that tells a story and has an enduring emotional impact”. I 100% agree with this- to me the most important part of music exists in stories and emotion. But how do you, as a composer, go about attempting to create that in your music?

It’s an interesting challenge to try to come up with an answer on how emotion gets created, as my thought process during composing is not deliberate. I noticed that I have a tendency to gravitate towards creating instrumental compositions that are intense and dramatic with big climaxes, probably because this is the type of music that I like the most. Therefore, my composing tends to be a little biased in creating emotion in that direction.

I think a lot of variables contribute to creating something that triggers any kind of emotional response, whether it’s an inspired, happy feeling or perhaps a sad, melancholic one. Sometimes it comes by as an unexpected discovery when I’m sitting on the piano, as a result of an improvisation based on how I was feeling that particular moment. While at other times, it happens to be a random 5-second idea that I inexplicably had so I rush to record and iterate over it. It’s a nonlinear creation process that also involves a bit of random, unexplainable chance.

Eventually, once I create a part that makes me feel emotional in a certain way, it’s my job to capitalize on that discovery and maximize the emotional impact by further exploring the idea and perhaps trying out or adding different instruments. If I listen to a part many times and it strongly triggers the same emotional response, I know that I’ve got something here that I can further enhance and communicate to others.

The knowledge and choice of instruments also plays a big part in making the listener feel different things. Sometimes I immediately know what kind of instrument I’d like to use, while at other times I tend to experiment with various different instrument sounds until I discover the one that better delivers what I’m trying to communicate.

And finally, if you could work on a piece with any artist who would it be?
I’d like to compose and perform something alongside Yanni. It would be an interesting experience, because up to this point, I’ve been a solo composer and never actually collaborated with other musicians to create a piece of music, let alone collaborate with one of my primary musical inspirations.

I would definitely be curious to see how he goes on about creating a song and how does his thought process compare to mine. We’ll just have to wait and see if that ever gets realized!

Samer’s album “Wishful Thinking” is available to purchase on iTunes and Amazon and you can also listen on Spotify. - The AU Review

"Under The Spotlight: Samer Fanek"

Samer Fanek is a Polish-Jordanian pianist, keyboardist, composer and producer of both genres contemporary instrumental music and New Age. He went to college to pursue computer science, then spent five years working as a software developer during the day and making music at night and on weekends. He left his software developer job in late 2015 to dedicate himself entirely to music.

He currently lives in California, following his dream which is to create dramatic and powerful instrumental music that has an enduring emotional impact on millions of people and leaves a positive mark on their lives. His dreams also include forming a band/orchestra of talented musicians and perform his compositions worldwide, and to increase the spotlight on the contemporary instrumental music genre.

Samer recently released his album, Wishful Thinking, which topped the Best Sellers chart in the New Age category, the Hot New Releases chart in the new­age category, and Movers and Shakers chart across all genres, making an over 4000% jump on the first day of pre­orders all on The album also debuted at #6 on the US iTunes New­ Age chart on its release date.

Fortunately, Samer took the time to answer a list of questions. Here they are:

1) How did you come up with the name “Wishful Thinking” for the album?
I think it was back in 2009 when I was in graduate school studying computer science in the US. By then, I was already developing a strong feeling that all I want in life is to become a composer of instrumental music and work on making people’s day better through my compositions. At the same time, I also happened to be working on a new composition where the name “Wishful Thinking” fit very well. I ended up liking the track so much that I named my whole album after it, and I think that was the first step to realizing my dream.

I was excited about Wishful Thinking and kept envisioning that this song will someday be the start of a whole album. Whenever I played it, I daydreamed and visualized how this song will someday make a positive influence on people’s lives, alongside future songs on the album. Last December, I finally decided to quit my software developer job in the Silicon Valley area to give this whole idea a shot and finish the album. This decision was entirely influenced by a gut feeling that it’s the right thing to do. Whatever might become of this, it’s been a fun ride so far!

2) How and when did you start composing music?
I had a keyboard lying around the house in Jordan that I taught myself how to play simple songs on. In addition to that, I discovered music production software which I connected that keyboard to. I think I was 12 or 13 at the time.

The music software came with all sorts of different instrument sounds that I started playing around with, and as a result, I discovered a lot of new instruments beyond my basic knowledge. Soon after, I began to figure out how to play my favorite songs by ear, and I would try to recreate all the background instruments of the song through trial and error until I became comfortable doing it quickly.

After recreating instrumental versions of many songs over the years (some of which ended up on my YouTube channel), I eventually realized that I want to use what I learned to compose my own music.

3) What inspires you to keep on making music day in day out?
The idea that my music has a shot at making people’s day better and have them experience a varied range of emotions. When I compose a song, my hope is that the person listening to it will also have a similar emotional experience to me while I was creating it.

The thought of taking compositions to the live stage inspires me a lot as well. I think it all started when on this one particular night in graduate school, I was playing on an upright piano in my college lounge and I noticed that people got relaxed and exhibited a more positive body language. It is a small snapshot in time, but at that moment I decided I wanted nothing more than scaling this experience to a bigger number of people with my own original music.

4) Do you think it’s better for an artist to release music now compared to a decade ago? With music platforms available worldwide such as SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, etc..
It certainly made it easier for us to release music, as we don’t have to go through a filtering process anymore. Instead of relying on record labels who decide what goes on the CD shelves, we can release our music independently. I composed and produced this album in my bedroom studio, released it on all those mediums while sitting on my laptop in the living room, and watched it reach people I have never met before. I don’t think artists from 10-­15 years ago could do that unless they get signed by record labels. A decade ago, CDs were already on the decline and digital downloads were becoming the norm, but now there’s another shift from downloads to music streaming via services such as Spotify or Apple Music. Nowadays, most people don’t own CD players, and prefer not to clutter their hard drive and sort the songs that they downloaded. Instead, the music is being streamed directly to them and these apps would recommend similar music based on their profile.

Also, the current technologies made it possible for artists to carve a career for themselves, based on music that is not necessarily in the mainstream category. For example, my goal is to create melodic, powerful and dramatic instrumental compositions that blend the piano and orchestra with synthesizers and occasional progressive rock elements. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but hopefully the current technologies will make it possible for people who are into that kind of music to discover it more easily. For artists, it now means that we have to rely on these tools as well as social media to get our music discovered, instead of mainly using traditional methods.

5) Where can we listen to your album “Wishful Thinking”?
The album is available on the following platforms:
iTunes and Apple Music­thinking/id1124612129
CD Baby
Google Play
For now, Jordanians are able to get the CD from either Amazon or CD Baby. Alternatively they can listen to my songs on Facebook or YouTube.

6) Describe yourself in 3 words!
Passionate, ambitious, focused - Views of the Middle East

"Wishful Thinking by Samer Fanek"

This is one of the most impressive debut artists I have heard for quite some time and when I tell you that this young man, of Polish and Jordanian persuasion was only born in 1986 and is self-taught, this will make the journey your about to take musically, even more amazing.

Let’s look at this incredibly remarkable album called Wishful Thinking and start with a smooth and symphonic opener that is indeed the title track. The opening refrain is gentle and the floating melody and crescendos just add an almost cinematic quality to the piece.

There are so many similarities I can draw here and when we listen to the following piece called Universe we can really feel that grand soundscape come that much closer and see those inspirations dance majestically before us. The bass here is superb and works brilliantly with the percussion. This is a really driven composition, which has a real vastness about it and illustrates perfectly the unlimited space of the universe, with an almost rock styled arrangement.

Freefall at just less than five minutes is our longest track off the album and almost suits following on from the previous track, there is a level of ambience here in the beginning that is indeed appealing, the performance then picks up as if the freefall to earth accelerates.

There was a certain delicacy about the piece Fairytale that reminded me of the good old days of new age piano, with artists like Stuart Jones and to a certain point, Mike Rowland, but the essence of this composition has all the elements of something grander and more striking and as the arrangement continues, this song becomes imperious in its posture.

Lost Waltz is just that, an ode to a lost dance perhaps? Fanek has a way of creating a sincere, but grandiose mood with his compositions and like this piece, can almost draw you back in times to the Baroque era perhaps, with this swaying dancing song that is not only filled with a charming narrative, but musical colour as well.

Well dear reader and listener, are you Ready to Go? This is one lively track and it has a wonderful fast paced symphonic structure to its composition. The melody is interesting here and if you can imagine Pachelbel’s cannon, mixed with a touch of Yanni, then you would be perhaps close.

The more moody side of Samer Fanek is now upon us with a really delightful piece called Left Behind. The narrative strongly pulls you to the tearful eyes of a loved one, now lost and lonely, but the style of performance is once again extremely cinematic, with perhaps a little flourish of David Lanz in there too?

Fantasy was on the button, creating from the off a narrative of wonderment and imagination right on our own doorstep. The climatic build and progression here is amazing, the piano performance almost classic in its finer touches and manifested with its empowering arrangement, one deeply moving piece of music.

The opening of Desperation had a really chilling empty street on a rainy night in November feel to it; one could imagine this being played as you walked in a sullen mood down an alley way, lit only by the yellow neon lights that cloak the rain soaked pavements. So lots of imagery there for you, but make up your own mind, when you take a listen.

The powerful Escape works well with the preceding track, perhaps our
reluctant hero has found a rabbit hole to escape into? The energy here is enticing; the performance here is also like the glory days of Elton John and for the second time in a week, for two separate artists I can hear Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding in this piece. It has the pace, intention, power and stamina, and in a similar style too.

We find ourselves at the deeper end of this album dear reader and we come across a track called, Remember Me. These two words can be a life line or a heart breaker. Fanek creates a really gentle and respectful piece here that serves its intention really well.

We find ourselves at the last but one doorway to the end of the release and come across a smart and clever piece called Exhibition. This flows with such confidence and has a really vibrant energy about it, there was also a very slight hint of a Jazz motif hidden carefully in the package, listen to this one over and again dear reader, this is one very artistic composition that is superbly performed.

So we’re here, the last track off the album and before we depart this realm of Samer Fanek, the artist would like to gift us a tune for us to go on our way with and it’s called Finding Closure. This is a truly symphonic way to end our journey and a more fluent piano performance you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Wishful Thinking by Samer Fanek is an outstanding release for a debut artist, I still cannot believe I am saying that, but if this is the beginning of his career as a recording artist, I can’t wait to hear what the next decade may bring for him.

He has an immense talent and a very profound level of performance skill, the compositions are all very emotive and powerful and the crescendos come thick and fast, this would certainly be an album I would recommend to anyone who loves piano with instrumentation, played with an abundance of flair and a great deal of style. - One World Music Radio

"Instrumental New Age/Classical: Samer Fanek-Wishful Thinking"

Samer Fanek’s first release Wishful Thinking was just released a few weeks ago. It is with great pleasure I introduce this talented young pianist to an audience eager to hear an emerging talent playing instrumental new age music with a definitive classical influence.

Just as his website indicates, Samer's compositions blend the piano and orchestral instruments with the more contemporary, including synthesizers, rock and ethnic instruments. He cites Yanni and others as an influence and you will most certainly hear that panoramic and cinematic sound as the curtain opens on this ambitious recording.

The title track engages you right away providing a marvelous introduction to Samer’s sound. “Freefall” is exciting track filled with keyboards and orchestrations. When you look at the cover of this CD it projects simplicity however this music is far from that. It is definitely a “Freefall” into a wall of sound and oh so beautiful.

If you are “Ready to Go” this track is a whirling dervish of textured keyboards and colorful nuances. It is tastefully done as he presents it with a forcefulness to push the music out but with a determination and grace that only an accomplished keyboard maestro can provide.

To make sure you see all the emotions and a different side of his musical interpretations he creates a touch of divine inspiration with tracks like “Fantasy.” Picture yourself floating up to the heavens as the other spiritual beings come down to greet you and carry you away. The song creates a nice floating sensation that made me feel connected and spiritual thus making it easy for my own interpretation of the track.

You have to be a true visionary to create instrumental music so full of life and emotion. Samer Fanek has recorded a superlative debut and I would expect that he will be recognized in short order. I think the folks in not only in the music industry but in films need to take notice of this young man’s talent. It is a nice relaxing experience to hear this music but I sure can hear it playing as a soundtrack in a movie as well. So the options are endless for music such as this.

The anticipation for more great music already begins once the CD is finished playing. For now you will have to hit play again until he returns with a second installment of instrumental bliss.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Freefall, Ready to Go, Fantasy

01. Wishful Thinking
02. Universe
03. Freefall
04. Fairytale
05. Lost Waltz
06. Ready to Go
07. Left Behind
08. Fantasy
09. Desperation
10. Escape
11. Remember Me
12. Exhibition
13. Finding Closure

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
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August 5, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews - New Age Music Reviews

"Album Review: Wishful Thinking"

Wishful Thinking is the debut album by Samer Fanek. Born in Jordan and now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, the self-taught pianist, keyboardist, composer, and producer has been creating some amazing music from his home recording studio. Of Polish-Jordanian descent, Fanek’s music crosses many cultural borders and expresses a wide variety of emotions. He cites Yanni as his biggest influence, an influence that is readily apparent, but Fanek is no copy-cat. The album contains thirteen original compositions that are performed on piano/keyboards with traditional orchestral sounds, as well as rock and ethnic instrumentation. Fanek used samples from more than fifty virtual instrument libraries and synth patches to create the album, playing all of the parts himself. These kinds of orchestrations can often sound thin and tinny, but Fanek has done a remarkable job of creating a rich, authentic sound similar to that of Yanni’s early recordings (before he actually went symphonic). Fanek hopes to soon assemble a large ensemble of talented musicians to tour the US and his home countries performing his music. His dream is to create powerful and dramatic instrumental music that tells a story and has an enduring emotional impact on those who hear it. I’d have to say that this debut album is so impressive that Samer Fanek is well on his way to making his dream come true. He will no doubt make the world a happier place as he fulfills his own dreams.

Wishful Thinking begins the album in a dreamy mood with piano/keyboard backed with lush strings and, later in the piece, full orchestration. The graceful nature of this composition would lend itself beautifully to a dance or figure skating performance. “Universe” contrasts a very commanding sound with passages that are a quieter piano. The addition of electric guitar heightens the drama even more, expressing how powerful the universe is and at the same time how fragile it is - a great piece! The stirring “Freefall” explodes with a big orchestral sound and an infectious enthusiasm. “Fairytale” has a similar feel to Yanni’s “Felitsa,” the wonderful piece he wrote for his mother. Light, flowing and almost buoyant, it’s a delight. “Lost Waltz” is a piano-based minor-key waltz with a charming yet haunting quality. There is an outpouring of emotion in “Left Behind” that is both haunting and very beautiful. “Fantasy” is sometimes big and dramatic and sometimes delicate with some impressive piano work and an abundance of heart-tugging strings. “Escape” is also big and bold, but has a very intense air of tragedy and heartbreak. “Remember Me” scales back the drama a bit, but is every bit as poignant, seemingly from a much more personal perspective - gorgeous! “Finding Closure” begins and ends with a delicate piano solo, but builds to a passionate climax that pulls out all the stops - a compelling closing that will leave listeners wanting more.

I predict that Wishful Thinking is the beginning of a remarkable musical career for Samer Fanek. The album is already climbing the charts, so check it out! It is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
August 3, 2016 - Mainly Piano

"Album Review of "Wishful Thinking" by Samer Fanek"

“Wishful Thinking” is the debut album from pianist, composer and arranger Samer Fanek. Drawing upon musical styles ranging from classical to rock, Samer’s influences include composers such as Yanni and Nobuo Uematsu (who scored the “Final Fantasy” series), as well as hard rock bands like Dream Theater and Muse. Comprised of thirteen tracks spanning forty-seven minutes, “Wishful Thinking” conveys a central theme of having romantic hopes and dreams, which ultimately give way to mournful remembrances until eventually moving on.

The title piece opens with gentle piano and light synthesizer that are soon followed by a fuller orchestral arrangement. Romantic and emotionally tender, additional musical elements soon gather up into the fold. The next piece, “Universe”, bears subtle rock nuances with a hint of exoticism, as piano and strings are set to a steady drumbeat, lending powerfully bold expressions to the composition. Soft piano and chimes open up “Freefall”, a distinctively neoclassical piece that soon morphs into a dramatic and sweeping composition full of colorful strings and symphonic drums. “Lost Waltz” is an especially notable composition which conveys an element of intrigue, as fluttering piano and synthesized voices are set to a waltzing pace. One can easily imagine a lone couple dancing to this reminiscently romantic tune, along with the rising and falling nuances of its neoclassical orchestration. The melancholic “Left Behind” is another particular highlight full of multi-layered strings, as a lead piano melody seems to convey a pining for love that has been lost. The two-minute “Remember Me” is a wistfully lovely interlude-like piece, with its elegant strings and slower-paced stanza lending a moment of pause. Closing out the album is the aptly-named “Finding Closure”, another personal favorite that hints of finally letting go. Beautifully bittersweet, twirling piano and airy synths soon give way to cinematically swelling strings, before winding down with tip-toeing piano notes that signal the curtain has closed.

“Wishful Thinking” leaves no doubt that Samer is immensely talented at crafting highly engaging compositional arrangements. He frequently alternates dramatic exertions with intermediate pauses of gentleness, employing this formula throughout the album which quickly becomes its signature motif. His Yanni influences are perhaps most apparent, with much of this album bearing similarities to the aforementioned artist’s “Reflections of Passion” and “Tribute” albums. Likewise, Samer’s music could make for a grand live performance, being best-suited for active listening with its multi-melodic stanzas constantly moving and filling up every space with sound. While listening, it was easy to envision a ballroom dance at some sophisticated venue complete with crystal chandelier, bubbling champagne, tuxedos and sparkling gowns. A rising star with lots of potential, “Wishful Thinking” will greatly appeal to many fans of Yanni and Nobuo Uematsu, as well as to those who enjoy highly expressive neoclassical and piano instrumental music. ~Candice Michelle - Journeyscapes Radio

"Samer Fanek – Wishful Thinking Review"

Duke Ellington once said that «The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.» That might be true, but sometimes artists – and especially debut artists – have to take risks. You don’t know what you master until you have tried, right? Samer Fanek’s debut album “Wishful Thinking” is such a release. It’s not 100 % perfect, but it’s ambitious, complex and truly inspired. It makes “Wishful Thinking” into one of this year’s finest debut recordings.

Samer Fanek was born in Amman, Jordan, and is now living in the United States. He has a computer science degree, and has worked for five years as a software developer. As a pianist he is self-taught. In 2015 he quit his job to become a full time musician. I’m not going to imply that you can hear that Fanek has a background as a software developer, but there’s something about his attention to details. The songs are running with mathematical precision, executing like well coded programs. In this image, the listeners are the CPU – decoding and receiving Fanek’s musical message. There are no bugs here as far as I can tell, no blue screens. Only beautiful music.

The Amazing Piano
The album starts with the title track. “Wishful Thinking” is a great introduction to Fanek’s style. The gentle piano has center stage, backed by carefully crafted orchestral arrangement. His inspirations are easy to pinpoint; Yanni and Hans Zimmer. Of more recent debuts he can be compared to Marc Enfroy and Nitish Kulkarni. Fans of these artists should definitely add Samer Fanek to their playlist.

“Wishful Thinking” is a track that instantly connects with the listener. The build-up is simply amazing, with a hint romance and drama. Yanni would have been proud if he had made this song. With a full orchestra and Karl Jenkins conducting, the song could have been used as a theme in a Hollywood movie. That’s not wishful thinking, that’s a fact.

Wonderful Melodies
“Universe” continues in the same style. The build-up is powerful, and there’s a surprisingly sharp electric guitar that turns up the intensity even more. It is impossible not to get touched – partly because it is loud, but mainly because of the strong melodic focus. The 3 minutes and 6 seconds are gone in an instant. If Fanek were a painter, he would have been using bright colors and broad pencils. It is as far from gray and boring as you can get.

“Freefall” has a lovely melody. It is yet another song where Yanni fans will feel right at home. The string section is wonderful and backs the piano at just the right places. In the middle there’s a nice sounding violin, and the crescendo in the end is both surprising and satisfying at the same time.

High-End Mixing & Mastering
The production qualities on “Wishful Thinking” are very impressive. The lay-out of the album is well balanced, and there’s nothing here to indicate that this is not a major label recording. Indeed, the mixing and mastering has a high-end feel.

That Fanek is a master storyteller can be heard on the tracks “Fairytale” and “Fantasy”. They have all the magic and mystery we can expect from such titles. I like the speed and wonderful acoustic atmosphere of “Fairytale”. It is like stepping into another world. But my favorite song is “Finding Closure”, which concludes the album in an elegant way. It is a brilliant neoclassical piece.

I’ll end where I started, with the Duke Ellington quote. Samer Fanek is a very wise artist indeed. Wishful Thinking is an extraordinary debut album. The only limitation is the lack of a live orchestra.

Hopefully these songs will be played live one day. With so great material, that somehow doesn’t feel like wishful thinking. It is bound to happen. It is written in the stars.

Scute: 91/100 – See how I rate music here

Check out for more information and sound clips. - New Age Music Guide


Your dreams & wishes will come alive as you listen to this high-talent young pianist, originally from Jordan, but now residing in the U.S. This July 2016 release proves his ability and unique playing style, especially on tunes like “Freefall“… the skillfully woven strings backing up his masterful keyboards bring a sense of hope, and as some elements of pop-rock emerge in the tune, your spirit will ascend right along with the music. The recording on the “Ready To Go” track is totally flawless, and again makes you feel as though you are a Phoenix rising! My advice for all thirteen songs is to listen with your headphones on at relatively high volume, This is far more than “wishful”, it is the realization of Samer’s own dream of creating music that has (in his own words) “an enduring emotional impact”. You will find yourself inspired to turn off that stupid TV, rise up and go forth to conquer when you listen to my personal favorite piece on the album, the dynamic and powerful “Escape“… a perfect demonstration of the influence well-played music can have on the negative forces in this ‘ol world! I give Samer a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98 for this splendid debut release. Get more information on Samer’s official website. (tell him you read about his album here, too, eh?) Rotcod Zzaj - Improvijazzation Nation


Still working on that hot first release.



Samer Fanek (Arabic: سامر الفانك) is an award-winning Polish-Jordanian pianist, keyboardist, composer and producer of contemporary instrumental music. 
Both of his album releases, “Guide Me” (2018) and “Wishful Thinking” (2016), received glowing press reviews and debuted at #1 on three charts in the genre, with the former album also charting nationally at #12 on the US New Age Billboard charts. 
Samer won several awards and nominations with his music, including winning the Great American Song Contest for best instrumental song, silver medals in the Global Music Awards, and a nomination in the Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA) . His debut album also made the 59th Grammy® Awards first-round ballot in the Best New Age Album category. 

Born on December 11, 1986 in Amman, Jordan and currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his passion for piano-driven instrumental music began early on during his teenage years, where he taught himself how to play his favorite songs by ear on the piano. It wasn't long before he discovered music production software which granted him the opportunity to experiment with many instrument sounds and record music with them. Samer was then able to arrange and perform songs without ever needing to learn sheet music. 
Later on, after creating countless instrumental and piano solo arrangements of his favorite songs by ear, he started posting some of them as video performances on YouTube, gathering over 3 million cumulative global views to date. Following his YouTube success, he went on to compose his own music and developed a signature style of powerful, melodic and dramatic compositions with a story-telling quality, influenced by an interesting combination of Yanni and Queen. Samer has a long time dream to some day take his compositions from his home studio to the world stage and perform it with talented musicians and orchestras throughout the globe. 

On July 22, 2016 Samer released his debut album, “Wishful Thinking”, featuring 13 instrumental music compositions which he composed, performed and produced in his home studio. The album won two silver medals in the Global Music Awards for Best Album and Creativity/Originality. It was also nominated for the2016 Hollywood Music in Media Awards in the Contemporary Classical/Instrumental category and recently made the 59th Grammy® Awards first-round ballot in the Best New Age Album category. 

Samer released his second album, “Guide Me”, on December 11, 2018. Also composed, performed and produced in his home studio, the album takes his listeners on a musical journey with an eclectic mix of piano-driven instrumental compositions, alongside a three emotional piano solos. Similar to his debut album, “Guide Me” also received glowing reviews and topped the Best Sellers in New AgeHot New Releases in New Age and Movers and Shakers charts. 

Samer Fanek's music can be regularly heard on numerous FM and internet radio stations in the United States and internationally, peaking at #2 on the internationalZone Music Reporter (ZMR) Top 100 Radio Airplay chart. Radio programmers also nominated Samer for the 13th Annual ZMR Music Awards for Best New Artist and Best Neo-Classical Album

Band Members