By: Nada Mawsouf
Mike Massy’s Kermali, a single he released at the end of last year, shows the psychological journey a woman goes through after being physically and verbally abused.
A month after the release, a close friend of Massy’s took her own life after suffering from what the Lebanese singer described as “verbal and physical violence.”
This tragic incident has called our attention to a topic that many are aware of but often dismiss. What I personally found to be intriguing is how real and unfiltered the song is; the lyrics are based on quotes and true stories told by Lebanese and Syrian women survivors of violence.
We talked to Massy, and gotten to know more about the process that went into that special single.
We’ve heard about your friend, and we’re very sorry. Has the thought of someone you know ending their own life ever crossed your mind?
The thought that someone would suffer to the extent to think about ending their life aches me a lot, and makes me want to do something about it. Losing a dear friend this way was devastating, especially that I was tackling the same subject in my latest song. It made me feel a bit helpless in front of the suffering.
Life is so precious and my friends and family are very dear to me, I pray to her soul each day and wish no one would ever have to experience the depth of such suffering.
What was the hardest phase you went through while making this song?
Kermali is the result of three months of work in collaboration with Abaad NGO, conducting Voice Matters Workshops; the initiative I founded a year and a half ago with the purpose of collaborating with NGOs to give a voice to those who do not have one. We conducted two sets of 2-day workshops every single week in a different region.
I heard many stories, these women survivors are real life warriors. Taking the initiative of calling for help through an NGO is a wonderful act of heroism.
I was deeply moved by each and every lady I encountered during these workshops, and the hardest part was putting their words into music and creating a song; as I was keen on staying loyal and delivering their words, voices, and what they wanted to say just like they expressed them during these workshops.
The video is quite powerful, how long did it take to finish it?
This video was done super fast! I usually take my time to sit with the director and brainstorm on the idea, go through the details to include my input, and prepare myself for the shooting.
For this song, we did not have the privilege of time, so I gave full trust to Tanya Nasr with the production, and Farah Alameh for directing the music video.
Music is a very powerful tool when it comes to spreading awareness. What other topics do you believe musicians should shed more light on?
History is full of examples of artists who wanted to change the world by making it a better place, and there are a lot of revolutions led by art. There is a lot of suffering and injustice in our daily life, and to shed the light on humanitarian causes like abuse. To revolt, talk about, lead the change and bring people together are fundamental tasks in an artist’s life.
What are your upcoming projects?
Well, I am taking adventures; when we are safe we succeed, but when we are adventurous we shine!
For the time being I am conducting my Voice Matters Workshop sessions, working on a new project that I will reveal when the time is right. I am working on the last stages of my album to be released soon, as well as following a dream I had since I was a child which is to sing in French.