At least no intention that I would be aware of. I had grown up in Tehran, a massive mega-city, but I was only around people just like me. That did not provide me with a lot of interesting things to write about. Songwriting, getting a little bit of fame in my home country and getting into new circles of people introduced me to people and mind sets from all over the world with world views that challenged and tested my own convictions. I learned there are other angles to see the world, more than just the way I look at it. I know it sounds very stupid that I didn’t know such a simple thing before that, but again, it simply was because I had no intention of getting out of my comfort zone but when I got into writing and tasting a little bit of success and joy of being a professional writer, I learned that to be successful as a songwriter, my songs could not be self-serving. I have a duty or a mission of serving the listener and touch them with universal emotions and ideas that were far bigger than the bubble I had grown up in. I had to change. I had to grow. I had to move out of my zone and learn how to see everything from a different view – which now I can see how my friends are telling me all the time that they are interested on how I view the life events. They probably think I was born like this but to be frank learning how to see the world from a more general and universal point of view is result of more than 10 years of constant working, reading, watching and listening to all different kind of views and believes.
Songwriting helped me to learn who I wanted to be. Through being challenged and stretched – to way more than my limit – I changed for the better. Just like the famous quote from Bob Marley saying, “People don’t know how strong they are, until being strong is their only option!”. When I started writing, everything was going great but after a while I could see people expect more from me. They expected to hear the songs I write about things that maybe I hadn’t experienced in my life. They were expecting me to write about things that I was not into. At that time, I had no religious believes but people were asking me to write about God, whom back then I didn’t know how to talk to him or in general I had no idea about the whole believe system about God! I learned not to fear people who were different or thought differently than I did and started learning about them and what they believe in, instead of hiding in my mental cave. I learned to seek out opportunities to be purposely uncomfortable because I saw that those were the times in which I've grown. Not being arrogant, but I think today I am a better person than I used to be because of the many varied people that I’ve written songs with. For each song I wrote, I had to do researches. Sometimes just researching inside myself and sometimes literally on the books and internet, finding or building character, then putting myself in their shoes and write about their feelings and experiences. And from each of these researches and role playing processes I learned something that is helping me in my life today.
Songwriting taught me that I have a voice and that my voice is valuable. I grew up in a difficult family situation that often seemed hopeless and out of control, or at least that was how I used to look at it at the time because I still had no idea how to deal with people, even my own family members. As I child, I knew that I was powerless to change the things happening in my family and over time, I gave up my voice because speaking up caused extra drama and trouble for me. I grew up in a situation that my parents, more specifically my father had the last word, and if it was one person he would listen to, it was my mother - not me nor my siblings. And vice versa, my mother was also only listening to my father. I have two sisters; one 12 years and the other one 10 years older than me. Them, being two girls in almost the same age, being each others' best friend and supporting each other in each given situation, and then there was me, the only boy, with a huge age gap, was making me to have literally no voice in my family. So, during most of my childhood I was just a quite kid at home, just minding my own business rather than getting involved in family matters and everyone – including myself – were more comfortable that way. Over time, when I was making a name for myself in the society as a songwriter and a producer – and I still had no voice at home during the very same period – I learned that giving up that voice was not a good thing. Songwriting helped me regain my confidence in myself and the worth of my thoughts and feelings, and this confidence helped me to even have a much better relationship with my family today.
Songwriting has taken me all over the world. As a child, when we went on family vacations, I was always wondering how it feels to live in a different society or a different country, with a completely different culture, but I could never imagine one day I will leave my beloved hometown for good. I love Iran as the second place in my life, right after music. But because of writing songs that were too political and not in the same alignment with Iranian government’s views, I into very serious troubles a few times and once I was very close to lose my life, literally, but as a conclusion of that I had to choose either to stop writing songs or leave Iran for good. Well, living in the amazing Singapore and running Flipside now is explaining what exactly my choice was! The reason of bringing that here is to say that songwriting has shown me places, made me travel to many countries for music projects and gave me the chance meet the most interesting people that I would never have seen and met without it.