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 Amazon.com. 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?

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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?

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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..

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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”?

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The album is available on the following platforms:

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

 

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