Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
Growing up in Dallas/Fort Worth Texas; and being the member of a youth choir since I was 5 years old in Oklahoma City where I was born; I always possessed a strong notion that not only could I “sing” but also I had the voice to move countless individuals emotionally. Such a notion became a reality when I was eleven years old and I entered the school talent show, and I won. Shortly there afterward a schoolteacher pulled me to the side and confirmed my then speculations, which lead to private singing lessons and classical training. When I was nine years old before I’d actually won the contest or anything, I’d already pictured myself in my early twenties fronting a Rock band. It’s been smooth sailing since then.
Exposed Vocals: How did you come up with that name? What was your inspiration behind it?
“HAIQEEM”; the ‘band name’ and my ‘performance name’ in fact is partially my real name Al Hakeem Muhammad II; I’ve mostly gone by ‘Hakeem’ most of my life. Nonetheless since the name in itself has gotten popularity for other’s; I was given advice from overhead back in the day to estrange myself from the other Hakeem’s in the world to change the spelling of my name. Thus here, I- or should I say we are “HAIQEEM”.
Exposed Vocals: What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
There was a joke that the great Mindy Kaling shared with the world that was apart of her comic routine back in the day about such a thing. She said if she touches on a car, and it downloads another and she drives away in that freshly downloaded car and the other is still left unharmed; then is it really a bad thing? Something along the likes of that. Online music sharing in my opinion is not the worst thing in the world; however as a recording artist that has bills and obligations too; while living a capitalist society I have to point people in the direction of ‘free’ to Spotify or Tidal’s free trial. At least with Spotify in exchange for some short commercial breaks, us artists can be compensated for our efforts instead of giving it away for free.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
New Artists; my tips to you is the same tip I get from multiple grammy winners. There is power in persistence. It took my last single “Don’t Give A Damn” 14 months to crack a national chart (counting the preorder date, eleven months counting the ‘actual release date); having a few remixes and advertisements also are not a bad direction to go in. Also newbie’s if you don’t believe in yourself and your product, no one else will.
Exposed Vocals: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
Songwriting for me can occur at any place with anyone. Any experience, positive, negative, neutral usually kindles the fire for my songwriting. Recently, I’ve been pressing my band mates to share their ideas to get me a little bit more comfortable with ‘other people’s work’. The usual songwriting process is usually me musicalizing a diary/journal entry of a poignant experience. Simple as so.
Exposed Vocals: Do you have a band website? What online platforms do you use to share your music?
www.HAIQEEM.COM and any other social media site.
Exposed Vocals: If you were given half a million dollars and a year off, what would you do? How would you spend it?
A much needed vacation of course, but I’d limit that to three weeks and take a lot of self improvement courses to come back bigger and better than ever- Oh wait, I already do these things. Well even more so if taking a ‘year off’ was an essential requirement.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
I usually try to take 2-3 interview’s per week, radio or magazine are usually the most nifty.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
The next single from the upcoming record is a post-grunge track called “So Deep(ly)” which is about the disintegration of plutonic relationship. I’m waiting for the next pre-release date that I’m able to get this to you guys (digitally). I had to post pone because of other obligations and moving around this dreaded photo shoot.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Loosing my marbles, as I find this the most valid way to release my feelings to the world. As a ‘creative spirit’, aura reader, meditator; I’ll always simply end up writing a song about whatever is going on.
Exposed Vocals: How do you juggle the rest of your responsibilities while trying to stay ahead in your music life?
By having tough skin and keeping company that keeps me extremely business savvy.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in 2016?
Other than the release of the next single “So Deep”; the rerelease (physical) of “Don’t Give A Damn”, release of the third single “So Deep”; release of EP “Without My Permission (EP); release of full length Without My Permission (LP) Pre-Order, and five city North American tour, not much else unless I’m crudely surprised as the next two records are looming over the horizon with a violent fury of their own.