Issam Alnajjar Charts an Emotional Blueprint for Arabic Pop with ‘WARAY’

"Our language is one of the oldest in the world, and my vision is for the world to see that and truly appreciate the contributions we’ve made to cultures throughout history.”

Issam Alnajjar Charts an Emotional Blueprint for Arabic Pop with ‘WARAY’
Menna Shanab

In the world of music, reinvention is the name of the game, and no one seems to understand this better than Jordanian sensation, Issam Alnajjar.

Shattering expectations with “Hadal Ahbek,” Alnajjar’s star has been in rapid ascent as it became the first Arabic song to become a worldwide viral hit. But far from resting on his laurels, the 19-year-old singer-songwriter committed himself to delve deeper into his craft, embarking on a creative journey that gave birth to his latest EP, ‘WARAY.’

Alnajjar’s explanation for the title ‘WARAY,’ meaning ‘Behind me’, is soaked in poignant sincerity. “The song portrays a difficult relationship that left me deeply hurt. It symbolizes my willingness to put that challenging period behind me and move forward,” he confides. The bitter honesty he injects into his lyrics and melodies gives ‘WARAY’ its beating heart, transforming the EP into an open diary of emotional catharsis.

Issam Alnajjar

An intimate mirror to his personal triumphs and trials, “the EP reflects the phase of self-hate and denial I experienced after the breakup, as well as my inner battle to move on,” he admits. But in the very marrow of these hardships, Alnajjar found an extraordinary strength, transforming his emotional turmoil into music that would resonate with millions of people across the world, transcending linguistic and cultural barriers.

The EP was born in an emotional crucible – a hard-fought victory against a backdrop of personal struggle and a world tour delayed. “I was ready to just leave my past in the past and move on with my life and my career,” he admits. The voyage to create “WARAY” was fraught with hurdles. “The recording process was particularly challenging,” he candidly acknowledges. However, sharing a home with Massari, a maestro of the music world, proved to be his saving grace. Their shared love for music kindled a bond of mentorship and friendship, helping shape the sonic direction of the EP.

The EP pulses with infectious energy, thanks in part to electrifying collaborations with artists like R3HAB and Manal. Alnajjar unwraps the tale behind this alliance, “This collaboration began when R3HAB sent us the song with its melodies. We loved it instantly and immediately started working on the lyrics.” With the addition of Manal, the trio has created a musical synergy that gave birth to a new genre of Arabic music – one that is more mainstream, global, and uniquely representative of their mutual creative vision and experiences.

Issam Alnajjar

The ‘WARAY’  music video is an artful narrative, every bit as contemplative as the EP itself. Awash with the architectural splendor of Morocco, the video threads together stunning vignettes, offering a visual palette that resonates with Alnajjar’s personal voyage. “The blue colour symbolizes the dark place I am in now, while the gold colour represents the happiness I am aiming to reach,” he says, colour-coding his emotions with the artistry of a true craftsman.

From his collaborations with renowned artists to the visual grandeur of his music videos, Alnajjar’s work is characterized by a symphonic blend of disparate elements – a unity in diversity.

An integral part of the EP is the track “Ansaki”. Its music video has already garnered 6.6 million views on YouTube, showcasing Alnajjar’s knack for visual storytelling. His previous album, “Baree?”, showcased breakout tracks that garnered significant global attention, racking up a staggering 1.5 billion streams.

The global spotlight on Arabic music is growing brighter and Issam aspires to push this evolution even further. “Our language is one of the oldest in the world, and my vision is for the world to see that and truly appreciate our perseverance and the contributions we’ve made to cultures throughout history,” he asserts.

Issam Alnajjar

Alnajjar’s music has resonated on the global stage, but he remains deeply connected to his roots. He manifests this in subtle elements and thematic threads that underscore his artistry. “After “Hadal Ahbek” I received numerous offers to make music in different dialects but it didn’t feel authentic to me. I stayed true to my Jordanian accent and I take pride in that. It’s a part of who I am and it’s my comfort zone.” His admiration for Jordanian artists like Aziz Maraka, Akher Zapheer, and Jadal affirms his firm bond with his homeland.

As Alnajjar casts his gaze towards the horizon, his dream is to leave a global imprint with his music. “I simply want people to feel what I sing about. I come from a small town in Amman and now I have the opportunity to live my wildest dreams,” he shares. His ambition is to produce music that reverberates in stadiums, stirring thousands to join in a collective chorus.

For Issam Alnajjar, the journey from Amman’s humble side streets to the global limelight is not merely about fame and success. It’s about touching hearts with his music, drawing smiles, and showing the world that dreams can manifest into reality.

For more beats, voices, and stories like that of Issam Alnajjar, explore our comprehensive music coverage here.