Q&A with Farzam Salami
by Darrah Le Montre
Where were you born?
FS: I was born in Tehran, the capital of Iran.
When did you start writing music?
FS: I started playing music at age two. My parents tell me that I started playing an Iranian drum called the Tombak.
How dangerous was it in Tehran for a musician wanting to express themselves?
FS: Around 10 to 15 years ago it was much more difficult to do music in Iran, now it’s better. But if an artist gets to be known worldwide and works with western artists, especially Americans, then the Iranian government will be restrictive about it. I had interviews with Iranian-American satellite TV channels which caused me so many troubles with the Iranian government.
Are you a practicing Muslim?
FS: No, I’m not a practicing Muslim.
Do you have any Christian friends?
FS: I have many Christian friends and my first concert in America was with well-known Gospel singer “ Kadesh” AKA Desiree Coleman Jackson.
Are you a US citizen?
FS: I have a Green Card, so I am a legal U.S. resident. In two years I will be a U.S. citizen!
Do you feel unsafe in the United States?
FS: I don’t feel unsafe in U.S. but I have faced difficult situations that could be construed as racism. For example, some industry people didn’t want to work with me because I am from Iran, and many others didn’t want to give me an opportunity as they considered me a stranger/foreigner.
What inspires your music?
FS: Mostly my life story inspires me to write! When I was younger, I started writing music to reflect different personal experiences. Also, world events inspire me; whether they are other people’s life stories or victims of terror attacks or natural disasters.
Do you have friends or family in your country of origin that are trying to come to the United States?
FS: Yes, my mom, as well as my married sister in Iran. They have both faced difficulties because of my collaborations with different western artists here. For example, there was fallout for them after I wrote and dedicated a song to President Obama called Utopia of Peace.
How do you feel about Donald Trump?
FS: About Donald Trump, I believe in America, democracy and that laws are much stronger than a person like Donald Trump to change or remove them. Donald Trump will make everything worse in Middle East and it’s already a messed up situation.
How do you feel about the burkini ban in France?
FS: Burkinis are bad in France, in my honest opinion. I don’t like burkinis, but I think forcing people to remove them is against human freedom, as long as they are not a threat to public safety.
What do you love about the United States?
FS: What I love about America is the freedom and opportunities that are available for everyone. Even though it was extremely difficult at the beginning not having ANY relatives here and moving here not knowing English. But I still believe America is land of opportunities.
You’ve mentioned that you have been inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. Explain this?
FS: Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the first inspirations in my life, after I read the translation of “I Have a Dream Speech.” It changed many things in me as a 15-year-old boy, which made me want to move to America.
Where can fans listen to your music?
LISTEN to Farzam’s song Utopia of Peace below!