Dubai-based musician Jamil Jabbour has a voice like warm butter sliding over a freshly-plucked piece of toast: It’s deep, silken, rich and comforting all at once, and the kind of flavour that seems deceptively simple at first but that you’ll never forget. The 24-year-old Lebanese musician was born and raised in Dubai - he considers it home - and this is where his career as one of the city’s most well-respected musicians (he's even opened for Coldplay during one of their UAE-based performances) began: It’s not uncommon for fans to approach him in public and ask if he is indeed “that musician,” and his fans are a loyal following, with his performances from long-term or resident gigs to more one-off shows inevitably selling out to an impressed crowd. His voice is indeed impressive - despite being a rather quiet and almost shy, deeply thoughtful individual, put a guitar in his hands and he’ll disappear even further into his own world. And when he begins to sing, you’ll understand why this is his calling.
Jamil says one of his main inspirations is a singer/songwriter by the name of Myles Richard Kennedy. “He managed to blow my mind at the first encounter of his music,” he said, explaining that he loves what he does since he’s “fortunate enough to do what I love and hence I don’t work a day.” When he’s not performing at one of his regular venues, such as Stereo Arcade, Beats on the Beach, Du Arena, or Wasla - Jamil began his career performing mainly at open mic nights, which opened doors to these bigger venues and stages as the crowds began to take notice of his talent - Jamil is busy completing his higher education. Read on for his answers to our questions in the hot seat.
What are your favorite hobbies when you're not working?
Mainly exercise, which is based on strength training and in some cases futile efforts at cardio.
How do you like to keep fit, and what is your philosophy when it comes to nutrition?
I've developed the ability to eat for results and not necessarily for the taste and that has rendered useful in achieving my fitness goals.
Who inspires you?
In life, my parents. In music, Myles Kennedy.
What’s the best lesson your parents ever taught you?
To treat the world around you well and to learn to give without expecting anything in return, because life would be a better place if it were based on random, indiscriminate acts of kindness.
What might surprise people about you?
I enjoy listening to Taylor Swift -__-
Do you have any hidden talents?
I have an unbelievable memory, which is a blessing and a curse, as well as an ability to memorize things quickly, mainly numbers in any given order.
If you could pick any superpower in the world, what would it be and why?
The ability to teleport at any instance. Simply because you could do anything.
If you could give one piece of advice to others, what would it be and why?
Life goes on no matter what you do or say, remember to take a breath and enjoy it.
What's your favorite dish to cook if you want to impress someone? And what could someone cook to impress you?
To be honest I'm not much of a cook, but I'll gladly have someone prepare a nice steak for me :)
What's your favourite city in the world and why?
I find it difficult to answer this because I haven't traveled much and so my answer is limited to Beirut. I love Beirut because it is rich in culture and history that can be felt and witnessed on a daily basis.
What's your go-to karaoke song?
Stay with you by John Legend.
When was the last time you were scared?
Truthfully, when my father passed away.
What's the best gift that anyone's ever bought you?
On my 21st birthday my mother had me stand on my balcony blindfolded, only to find that she bought me my favorite car, which I noticed in the distance by blinking hazards decorated with a ribbon and balloons .
What do you think is your best and worst quality?
My generosity because after a while, and this is very unfortunate, you end up feeling used and so it is a blessing and a curse.
What's the best way to make up after a fight?
If I genuinely care for the person I’m having an argument with I tend to pretend it never happened, regardless of whose fault it is, until that becomes reality .
What's your guilty pleasure?
Having unfathomable amounts of fast food for comfort.
What's the best compliment you've ever had?
"You have a voice that moves mountains" :)
What's your biggest regret?
Not being able to show the extent of my appreciation to someone who gave me everything.
If you could give one key piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
The quicker you learn to love yourself and not find excuses to wallow in your own sorrow, the quicker you'll find peace.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future - both long and short term?
For the next five years I aim to pursue music to its fullest then after that if I am financially, mentally and emotionally able to start a family it would be my next goal.
What's one thing you'd never give up for anyone else, even the love of your life?
The blessing and happiness of my mother and after that the blessing and wellbeing of the family I have made.
If your life were a movie or reality TV show, what would it be called?
The Illusion of a free mind.
Of all of your life accomplishments so far, what are you most proud of?
My struggle and perseverance in learning music paid off well.
Three key items on your bucket list?
Travel more, meet Myles, perform to a massive crowd singing your song back to you.
What are the first three things you notice in a person?
Other than what one is wearing, posture, the tone of voice and eye contact.
What are some of your biggest pet peeves?
Useless verbosity and inability to adhere to what was said. Basically, one who talks much and chooses not to walk the walk especially due to ignorance.
What are three of the most attractive qualities in another person?
Wisdom, wittiness through intellect, and a well-defined jawline.
What's the secret to finding happiness, in your opinion?
The ability to be satisfied with what you've got.
What's one of your best childhood memories?
I genuinely don't remember much of my childhood but I would assume my favorite memory would be involuntary shaking my booty to the song I'm Blue by Eiffel 65 at the age of 4 and realizing the power that music has over the body.
If you knew you had one year left to live, what would you change about the way you're living right now and why?
I wouldn't stay in the comfort of a standstill lifestyle and instead, travel to see the world.
How do you get through life's challenges when things get tough - any particular mindset or mantras that you rely on as a go-to?
I begin with taking a breath and understanding that I'm not the only one going through whatever it is I am going through, and that allows me to count my blessings all while repeatedly saying the sentence " life goes on" to myself.