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December 2020


Singer-songwriter and producer Abdul Rahman Hajaj went from living in Jeddah to Villars-sur-Ollon, Orange County, Los Angeles, Oregon, Colorado, Barcelona, and London in the span of eight years between 2008 and 2016. In London, he was introduced to producer and multi-instrumentalist Aidan Glover who executive produced Hajaj’s Last Call For Coco, a project 3 years in development that’s now ready to be released.

Paying homage to the late 60’s early 70’s Soul Era of recording, recorded on tape in the fully analogue Talbot Studios in south east London, Last Call For Coco features some of London’s finest jazz musicians, produced by Aidan Glover, featuring co-writing by Rhys Lewis, mixed by Richard Wilkinson (Amy Winehouse, Lianne La Havas, Paolo Nutini), and mastered by Gwyn Mathias (Gerry Rafferty- Baker Street). The EP is structured and sequenced in 20 minutes to tell the story of an undiagnosed bipolar relationship cycle.

Hajaj was interested in Arabic poetry and started writing lyrics from a young age. During the 90’s in Saudi Arabia, musical and artistic expression was suppressed and highly regulated due to social and religious extremism. The “Religious Police” were only recently relieved of their duties and were shut down two years ago as a result of the new regime. Fortunately, Abdul grew up in a household that celebrated arts and culture. Playing around the house was an extensive blend of music ranging from Arabic influences like Feiruz and Talal Maddah, to artists like Paco De Lucia and Pharrell. Realizing that music as a communicative vehicle was far superior to simple talking, feeling like he comes from two worlds but belongs to none, Hajaj found refuge in making music.

There’s not much that’s known about Saudi let alone being Saudi. Even though Hajaj’s past has had constant discontinuity of narrative, he finds a great deal of stability in self-evaluation and asking questions in his writing. The most common word used in all of the songs he has written is “why”. In Hajaj’s music there is a felt sense of longing for a home, for nostalgia and the futility of a romantic utopia.

The set plan for Abdul however was always to finish his studies and return home to work with his family. While at boarding school he started producing music. It made sense to him at a time when not much did, even if it was inconceivable to imagine a future in music. Classic painter or lawyer dilemma. Somehow though, Hajaj never stopped writing and producing music throughout his studies, graduating with honors in Family Business Management and learning Spanish while studying in Barcelona.

Raised by middle-eastern parents, he felt a sense of guilt and duty towards his family’s ambitions for him. More recently, Hajaj realized the compulsive nature of his writing, how he can’t not do it, and to him there is a sense of peace knowing that whatever he does he always writes regardless.

Hajaj is now based between Jeddah and London writing and developing his next album Meso.

-Courtesy of Brij Entertainment and Dar Hajaj