It’s not unusual for people to have a range of interest, passions and talents that ricochet across opposite ends of the spectrum, and Bahraini Hani Malik is one of those people. The 27-year-old recently released his first debut music album while training to become Family Physician. Yes ladies and gentleman, he’s a doctor. We met up with Hani to learn more about his new album and how his unique interests came about.
Tell us more about yourself, how old you are, where you’re from and what you do for a living?
I’m 27 years old from Jid Ali, and currently working as a doctor in Salmaniya Hospital (as part of a training scheme to become a Consultant Family Physician)
You’re a medical doctor and releasing your own music album?
Yeah, I know it’s two different and almost opposite spectrums of what one can do – but I am managing to juggle working as a doctor and my passion for music. I really can’t live without either one of them, so I’m not ready to sacrifice one for the other just yet.
What drew you to music and how long have you been interested in music?
I was always interested in music as far as I remember. When I was a child I had a small Casio piano that basically became a part of me – I’d always be carrying it with me everywhere and busting out tunes to annoy my parents and sisters! Later on this love for music progressed to guitar when I was around 13 years old, and then eventually I turned to multiple instruments like drums, bass guitar, and even had a cheeky crack at violin. One thing I regret though, is not actually learning them the proper way (i.e. I can’t read sheet music!), it was all done by ear and more or less self-taught. Some may think that it’s impressive, but I think it’s more of a disadvantage. However, what I lack in technique with the instruments – I make up with raw emotion and energy in my songwriting.
What style of music would you identify your own with, and why?
The genre I’m most comfortable writing songs in currently is alternative rock. I find I can express myself much more within the structures of this genre, and it’s basically the music I listened to growing up – and still do.
The reason I use the word “currently” is because I’m very open to trying new things/ways of using my instruments to further evolve my techniques in songwriting. I think the readiness to change your style and reinvent yourself is the key to keeping your music fresh and exciting to listen to.
Have you experimented with other styles?
Not so much at the moment. However you will notice that in some songs on “No Remorse”, there are a lot of progressive rock and metal aspects that I’m looking to implement much more extensively in future projects. Also, I’m very open to collaborating with other artists to try to fuse in some weird and wonderful things into my music.
Have you always wanted to release an album of your music, or has this been a recent development?
Its always been a dream of mine ever since I’ve picked up the guitar, to release a full length music album. The reason not so much being for fame or fortune, but just so I can boast to my grandkids in 40-50 years time about my earlier days as a singer-songwriter. If my current guitars are still working by that stage, I might bust out a tune or two for them as well, you never know!
Tell us more about your album, “No Remorse,” and how it started.
It all started with the first song I penned in early 2010 for the album titled “Lie To Me”, which conveniently is the first track on the album itself. Initially it started out as just a song with guitar and vocals. After uploading it to social media and getting good feedback from friends, that’s when I had a “lightbulb” moment and realized that continuing with this creative momentum, I can perhaps write a full length album all on my own. And that’s exactly what happened.
Any idea that pops in my head, I’d write or type it down immediately. Whether it was a lyric, or a melody, or even simply a song title – I’d hum the melody and record it on my phone, type up the lyric in the notepad, etc.
The tracks on “No Remorse” are a collective endeavor of my own thoughts, emotions, and events that occurred in my life over the past 2-3 years. Keep in mind though that I wrote, recorded, and produced all 10 tracks using instruments & laptop at my apartment in Ireland (where I was living and working at the time), so you can only imagine how exhausting it was. In the end however, it really did pay off and I’m very happy with what I regard as a milestone in my life.
Describe the music in your album in three words.
Hope, love, deception. (These are the themes of the album)
BUT if you will let me cheat and give you a sentence then this is what it’d sound like: “One man’s journey through the illusions of hope, the indecision of love, and the peril of deception.”
How has the feedback on the album been so far?
Listeners generally like what they hear. My 1st two singles “Magenta Sky” and “One More Pleasure (With You)” have been played numerous times on Radio-Bahrain, and have also reached Dubai radio stations surprisingly, and I’ve thankfully received some really good feedback about the songwriting and vocals. The DJ’s seem to really like the radio-friendly nature of my tracks as well. Sales have been modest to be perfectly honest, but I think that’s all due to lack of proper advertising and PR. (I’m basically doing my own PR and very minimal advertising on social media accounts).
What are your future projects?
I think I have at least 2 more albums in me for release. I already have a collection of tracks and lyrics for about 30 or so potential songs that I’m writing or have written in the not-so-distant past. I’d also love to collaborate with other artists in Bahrain. So you haven’t heard the last of me, yet!
Do you hope for more when it comes to your music, or are you content in being the guitar-wielding doctor?
More recognition and publicity in the region would be nice, and of course worldwide wouldn’t hurt either. However that’s not my main aim behind doing this. Music is a medium I use to express myself as well as mend myself through and after difficult times. Also, if my songs put a smile on a listeners’ face, give them goosebumps, or even a chorus gets stuck in their head for days – mission accomplished.
To preview tracks from “No Remorse,” visit www.soundcloud.com/hanimalikfm.
Images have been provided by Hani Malik
WORDS: BADRIYA AL-MAHMEED