We had the good fortune of connecting with Zanib and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zanib, what principle do you value most?
Freedom matters most to me. I believe there are too many limitations in society and even in the creative world where there are expectations of how things should be or certain boxes we should fit into. I think freedom is the ability to express and move with no boundary, no expectation or limitation. I believe freedom is limitless. If we are able to be free within our individual selves and within the things we create we will be able to liberate others. When people are free they are their authentic selves. In such a material, glamorized and filtered world, it is hard to find true authenticity except in moments of freedom. Freedom is a channel to love, self love, love for others, love for life, when that love is reached we are able to radiate peace and more individualism for others to liberate themselves.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is completely driven by freedom, identity, artivism and positive change. From the content in my lyrics, to the mission behind my brand Freedom Waves, all of it is designed to empower, uplift and inspire to enlighten others. I educate through my identity being a first generation American with Nubian parents. I think the best way we can understand the world is through understanding ourselves. We are all so unique in our identities and as long as we can embrace and express who we are we are able to understand others. I remain authentic to my identity in all aspects of my art through bilingual lyrics in Arabic and English, incorporating Arabian violin sounds into all my songs, through the traditional fashion that I constantly highlight in my image and through gaining inspiration from the culture itself to then incorporate into my art to introduce others who may have never been exposed to such a vibrant East African culture. I have been working professionally for over 7 years in the higher education world where I was getting my masters degree. Last December, I was working as a Co-Director of the Colorado Village Collaborative where we were serving the Denver homeless population. I quit at the end of the year to allow space for mental health specialists to come in do the work that was needed and the nonprofit had limited funds. I bought a one way ticket to Sudan on a self-discovery journey. I have always felt so disconnected from my culture growing up in such a white American society, my culture was diluted from a young age that now that I am grown I realize how deeply I wanted to tap in with the roots. During my time in Sudan and Egypt, I was able to open up for Bas for over 4,000 people from the motherland, I played countless shows, learned to produce, recorded and produced my upcoming EP Desert Season, collaborated with artists and discovered myself through my art. After that, I was quarantined in Saudi Arabia for 4 months and started developing my brand Freedom Waves. That was a very difficult period of time when this global pandemic hit and I was halfway across the world with no family just friends from the culture. Not knowing when or if I could get back home, what this coronavirus really was, and having zero control over any of it allowed me to let go. I used that time to reflect and tap into who I am as a person and an artist. That was where most of my EP was birthed, during a very difficult time I found inspiration within myself and my music. It truly saved me mentally and emotionally. I was dependent on other people and artists to make my beats, cover art, graphic design, logos, and other things that I realized I was perfectly capable of learning and doing on my own, and I did. When I got back I gained the knowledge and resources to do my own brand development by producing my music, designing my logo, website and brand and launching it with a one of a kind fashion collection. These one of one custom pieces I made in collaboration with Uniqujean are inspired by the Black Panther Party to empower our communities to take actionable steps to build our communities especially with the recent revolution. It was definitely not easy. Taking the leap out of a secure job in the matrix to the artistic world full of freedom and the unknown was one of the riskiest things I have done. When I bought the one way I wanted to have the freedom to move in any direction at any point in time and fully embrace any and all opportunities without the limitation of time or other obligations. All of our experiences in life define where we are at today, the choices we make in the past put us on a path to be where we are at. Every job I quit, plane ticket I bought, risk I took whether it was a show or opportunity or spontaneous adventure, led me to where I am at. I want the world to know you define your freedom. Live life fearlessly. The only regrets I have is when I hesitated on taking a chance on myself due to fear. Find the one thing that you are so passionate about that when you are engaged in it you feel the most liberated. If you do that everyday you are actively liberating yourself and that will ripple and inspire and encourage others to free themselves.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since it’s corona season I am going to go ahead and skip this question haha.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are too many people that have been a part of this journey and have facilitated and contributed to my growth. Of course first and foremost, God, without faith I never would have made it this far. God gifted me and paved a path to where my gifts can heal and liberate others. My parents and brother have been integral to my musical journey. My brother is the reason I play violin and introduced me to the world of music and the reason I fell in love with concerts, live instruments and the experience of it all. He always encouraged me to stick with the violin and incorporate it into everything that I do musically. My mother has consistently supported me regardless of the cultural barriers that I have broken down and has embraced the woman I am becoming. She is my biggest fan and listens to all my music, attends all my shows, and constantly seeks to understand such an unfamiliar world. My father opened up his mind to this non-traditional creative world and managed to support and love me throughout it. Once he saw the depth of my content and how I used it as a tool to educate, inspire and liberate, he saw the value in my mission and hopped on board on Freedom Waves. I am also going to have to shout out my best friend Monica aka MTG because she understands me as an artist, a first generation woman, and warrior of light. She inspires me as an artist to really embrace and unapologetically tap into and express who I am, where I came from, my culture and identity and the uniqueness of being multi-lingual queens in this American society. We have traveled the world together by doing what we love through our craft and I am so blessed to have such a strong rider. Her family is from Mexico and mine is from Sudan and as different as our cultures are we found more similarities within our values, upbringing, traditions and the way we navigate life. We have come so far to evolving into the multicultural women and artists we are and we are just getting started!
Connor Ray @thecolorblnd Gabby Poux @gabbypoux