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Neo Soul lovers, this one’s MADly for you!

MAD Blog Nu Soul MusicIn popular culture, Neo Soul is considered a relatively new genre that arose in the 1990s and quickly gained popularity among lovers of pop, jazz and R&B.

Neo Ninj is an up-and-coming dynamic French Neo Soul duo paving their way in the French music scene, hoping to break barriers and go global! Get to know more about how Neo Ninj started and what they hope to achieve in the future.

How would you define yourselves and what do you do?

We are a french neo soul band based in Paris. Alex plays bass and I, Nelly, sing and produce the tracks. We sing in both english and french and try to develop a world full of science fiction, glitch art and old school hip hop.

What pushed you to start Neo Ninj?

I’ve had different bands throughout the years but this time around I was looking for new musicians and new people to start a whole new, different project with. I met Alex at a fusion jazz music festival in Miami and we just started hanging out regularly. When we were both back in Paris, he listened to some of my first songs and liked them right away; after that I happened to hear him play bass at a private event and I liked his style and sound… And that’s how it all started!

Where did the name originate from?

A friend of mine used to call me “Ninj”, short for “lil ninja”, because I’ve always been full of energy and fond of action movies. I thought “Ninj” alone would be short for a band name and I wanted to add something extra to it; “Neo” came up while I was watching The Matrix one and I thought it would fit perfectly!

How has your experience as Neo Ninj been so far and what’s your take on the French music scene?

We’ve been blessed to be living in a city that is so diverse and that is home to so much incredible local talent. We’ve been having lots and lots of fun so far and it doesn’t stop there; we’re trying to collaborate with artists from different fields, mainly designers and other musicians to produce impactful and beautiful pieces.The french music scene is really vast and interesting, but we also listen to a lot of ‘western/american’ music mainly due to the weight of their impact in neo soul/RnB music!

What are your future plans?

We are currently working on our first EP and we’re releasing a new music video very soon. We’re also aiming  to shoot new music videos, building a trustful team to work with and maybe starting a label here in Paris (or somewhere else!)

Life Is A Play! Discover More About Theatre With The MAD Joseph Zaitouny

MAD Blog Talent Acting

It’s always a source of inspiration hearing about artists pursuing their goals, passions and dreams; this is what makes Joseph Zaitouny a source of inspiration!

How do you define yourself?
I am an actor. I care about finding connections with others and exploring the human condition through art.

How did you get into acting? Has it always been a passion?
When I was younger, I was in the boy scouts and we used to create plays for the people in our town; it was the most fun I’ve ever had. It was especially rewarding to see how much people were enjoying our shows. This made me very happy and I’ve loved performing ever since.


What was the most exciting role you’ve ever played?
In 2015, I was part of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov where I played the young student Peter Trofimov. It was the most challenging and exciting role I’ve ever played, not only because of my love of Chekhov’s work, but also because Trofimov is someone who is trying to find his way in a world that he’s also in conflict with.


Who are your biggest influences/muses?
As an actor, Daniel Day Lewis has been one of my biggest influences, and I find so much joy in watching him work. Anton Chekhov and Maria Irene Fornes have also had a deep effect on my own process as a writer and on my perception of the world.

Favorite play and movie?
Tango Palace” by Maria Irene Fornes is an exceptional play that I had the opportunity to produce, direct, and perform it back in 2013. “Successful Life of Three” (also by Fornes) and “Escape From Happiness” by George Walker are some of the funniest plays I’ve ever read. I love all of Anton Chekhov’s short stories. “Illusions” by Ivan Vyrypaev is a brilliant take on life, love, and theatre. Last but not least, “Zoo Story” by Edward Albee is a great piece of work and I’m currently re-discovering more plays by this wonderful playwright. As for movies, the list is very long but the ones I never get tired of watching are “Shine” by Scott Hicks, “My Left Foot” by Jim Sheridan, “There Will Be Blood” by Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Shinning” by Stanley Kubrick, “Doubt” by John Patrick Shanely, “Flawless” by Joel Schumacher, and “Gangs of New York” by Martin ScorseseAs a comedy fan, one of my favorite comedic actors is Steve Carell and I enjoy watching him in everything!

What are some of your future plans?
I currently have a Feature Film in pre-production, and will be working on two more plays this year. One of my passion projects is Stand-up, but until now, I’ve never found the time to sit down and create a solo piece. This year promises to be a busy one, but more importantly, I hope that people can connect with the work.

Mohamad El Dreini, MAD about sketching, drawing and concept building

 

MAD Blog New Talent ArtThe satisfaction one gets from pursuing their passion is indescribable. This is the case with Mohamad El Dreini, our latest MAD talent who is an artist and designer pursuing his dreams after having studied a different field all together. Mohamad tells us about his passion, his motives and his future plans.

When did you first realize you’re interested in design/art?
I first realized my passion in school, mainly during my senior year when i started drawing on the walls of the school and on my friends hands and jeans at that time.

What did you study and how did you choose to study it?
Entering university, I chose to study interior design, but in all honesty, I originally wanted to study fine arts. Due to the lack of orientation opportunities given to freshly graduated high school students, I didn’t go into fine arts. I believed at the time that choosing something like interior design would give me a strong base to build a good career and that I would go into fine arts afterwards.

Tell us about the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
Any and all art projects excite me. But one of the most exciting projects I have worked on was my first ever workshop (intro to sketching and concept building) in which I gave all those who are interested in sketching and creating concepts tips and steps to follow in order to improve. That experience gave me a satisfaction I could never have imagined and it helped that the reviews were all positive!

What do you wish to convey through your art/design?
Going into this major, I had one goal in mind: to learn everything that I can and to give back as much as I can through educating, helping others and offering fun experiences.

What are some of your future plans?
I really hope to be able to open up my own art space, The Mental Art House, giving people a setting to paint, to attend classes and to exhibit and see exhibitions. Something else I hope to achieve is to develop workshops mainly centered around sketching, building concepts, contrast drawing, texture drawing, modeling, coloring and other interactive concepts.

Women in (M)usic, (A)rts, (D)esign

Women's Day Blog MAD It’s the twenty-first century and we’re all still fighting for the things we believe in, in art, in music, in design and in life. We’re still fighting for basic needs, we’re still fighting to have our voices be heard, we’re fighting for equality but more importantly, we’re fighting for human rights. There’s always an underdog and it’s not unnatural that these people constantly fight for their rights. This month, it’s women who are fighting; in the end, human liberty should be always be regarded, regardless of sex.

Speak up, speak up.
During MAD’s Artist Meet Up in Beirut, Lise Yacoub discussed the importance of women’s vast inclusion in the art world. Today more than ever, women all over the world are standing up and speaking up about the rights that they deserve, their inclusion in political, social and other fields as well as their equality among many other issues. Today more than ever, it’s important for every woman to do so.

Back to roots.
Before Women’s History Month was celebrated, the more popular International Women’s Day was designated on March 8 of every year to celebrate all the powerful and influential women who have, and continue to, fight for women’s rights. This dates back to the 1900s, when the day was originally proposed in the US and continued to spread among other countries throughout the years. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975 and is celebrated every year worldwide through demonstrations and events.

So what is Women’s History Month?
Historically, Women’s History Month first started off as Women’s Week in the 1980’s. By 1995, March was officially declared as Women’s History Month in the United States. The month aims to raise awareness and knowledge about women’s contributions throughout history. The end goal is to recognize the different efforts put in by women, all of which have contributed in making social, political, environmental and other kinds of advancements and changes.

How does it link to women in arts?
Although it is said that women tend to be more creative than men, the representation of women in art fields remains to be minimal; even if that weren’t the case, the number of women artists striving to “make it” while their male counterparts have already “made it” is pretty high. Statistically, more male painters have their artworks portrayed in galleries than women. In the music industry, less than 30% of women ever make it to the top charts and in design, studies have proven that women are still the minority. Unfortunately, this reflects global insights.

Now what?
It’s our duty to always encourage all women: sisters, friends, girlfriends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. to continue the fight to be heard, to be given equal opportunities and to be free. This happens by recognizing women’s history month and that women deserve to be as “out there” as men, in the workforce, in their freedom to express and in their basic needs.

Happy Women’s History month to all our artistic sisters!

 

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Florian

MAD Gang Business Blog Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been passionate about music and theater.
With a passion for organization and creating new projects, I’ve worked on organizing many parties and events.
My goal is to succeed in democratizing many types of art because in the end, as André Malraux said, art is the shortest path from human to human.

If I were a song, I would be
Kuku by Hilight Tribe or You Make me Feel by Sylvester

If I were an artist, I would be
Serge Gainsbourg or Pierre Desproges.

If I were a book, I would be
Les Dieux voyagent toujours incognito by Laurent Gounelle

If I were a dish, I would be
A Raclette, even on the sunniest day

If I were a dessert, I would be
A Paris-Brest.

If I were a spice, I would be
A red hot chilli pepper.

If I were a sport, I would be
Trekking

If I were a period in history, I would be
70’s.

If I were a movie, I would be
La Grande Bellazza by Paolo Sorrentino or The Green Mile by Frank Darabont or Trainspotting by Danny Boyle.

If I were a series, I would be
Bates Motel, the adaptation of Psycho By Alfred Hitchcock

If I were a verb, I would be
Enjoy

If I were an adjective, I would be
Curiosity

If I were one of the five senses, I would be
All of them

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be
Olive Tree

If I were one of the five elements, I would be  
Air

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Rima & Lise

MAD CEO COO Sisters WomenYin & Yang, Farha wou Marha, the MAD sisters are inseparable.

Who is who? You never know! A complementary duo who thrives on exciting projects, mixing fun and business and traveling the world with a huge appetite!

If I were a song, I would be
Rima: Arc-en-Ciel – Polo & Pan
Lise: Stand by me – Ben E King

If I were an artist, I would be
Rima: Sia
Lise: Nina Simone

If I were a book, I would be
Rima: Harry Potter, just because we could use a bit of magic in this world!
Lise: La Valse aux Adieux – Milan Kunder

If I were a dish, I would be
Rima: Steak Frites
Lise:  EVERYTHING -“Joey doesn’t share food”

If I were a dessert, I would be
Rima: Île Flottante
Lise: Chocolat Liégeois in France i.e Chocolat Mou in Lebanon

If I were a spice, I would be
Rima: Herbes de Provence
Lise: Paprika

If I were a sport, I would be
Rima: Yoga or Tennis (depending on the mood!)
Lise: Dance (which I hope will turn into boxing soon)

If I were a period in history, I would be
Rima: Very happy to be born in this era so, I’m just gonna say the 90s
Lise: the 80’s, the most liberating and diversified era in Music, Arts & Design

If I were a movie, I would be
Rima: The Greatest Showman
Lise: Underground by Emir Kusturica

If I were a series, I would be
Rima: Friends
Lise: Friends (they don’t call us Farha wou Marha for nothing!)

If I were a verb, I would be
Rima: Love
Lise: Love

If I were an adjective, I would be
Rima: Joyful
Lise: Passionate

If I were one of the five senses, I would be
Rima: Touch
Lise: Touch

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be
Rima: White Rose
Lise: Gardenia

If I were one of the five elements, I would be
Rima: Air
Lise: Fire

Get MAD with day none!

DJ Electronic Engineer MAD BlogWorking in his domain as an engineer, Sam Ghobril combines his passion for what he does with his passion to produce music to become day none. If you’re a believer in the Lebanese music scene and a music lover, you will want to read on and get to know more about our latest MAD talent Sam and day none!

So, tell us a little about yourself: what do you do and how did you start playing music?
I’m currently an engineer working at Anghami and I’ve always been pretty involved with technology. When I was in high school, I discovered that I could combine my passion for tech with my passion for making music (having been a classically trained pianist). I first began messing with Logic Pro, a digital audio workstation, until eventually turning to Ableton Live, another kind of audio workstation and sequencer, and really diving into the possibilities of that piece of software.

Your life is very tech-oriented, so why stick to the same pattern and choose electronic music?
I feel that it began because of my familiarity with technology. It allowed me to quickly begin seeing my ideas turn into songs. Also, electronic music allowed me to make songs using nothing but my laptop if needed, which is hugely liberating. However, a lot of what I do relies on organic sounds and “classic” instruments. I record a lot of guitar, piano, and ukulele sounds that I play into my laptop, as well as a lot of random organic sounds such as environmental sounds, doors, tools, and more, manipulating them into something that’s sonically pleasing.

What does the name “day none” refer to/how did you come up with it?
It came from my frustration with delaying things until the first day of the week, month, year, etc. I realized that that never really justifies anything and all I have at every moment is now.

Who inspires you when making music and what’s your creative process?
Some of my favorite artists that I always refer to are Nicolas Jaar, Jamie xx, Four Tet and DJ Koze. I feel the emotions they’re able to convey through sound to be truly inspiring. I also love drawing inspiration from different forms of art, mainly modern art. As for my creative process, it involves a lot of experimentation. I could start with a sample from vinyl or a synth sound that I create, or maybe even a drum pattern, and then the track grows organically from there.

What’s your biggest fear and your biggest accomplishment so far?
My biggest fear is that my improvement stagnates. So far, listening back to older tracks of mine, I always notice an improvement and that really keeps me going. I don’t want to reach a point where that’s not the case. As for my biggest accomplishment, I’m not really sure, but the simple fact that I’m still making music and still performing is something that I don’t take for granted, and I just wish that nothing forces me to stop pursuing that passion.

What do you have to comment on the music scene in Lebanon and being a part of it?
I feel we have a lot of really great artists, and a lot of innovative music being made. However, I feel artists need more platforms to be able to reach wider audiences. I’m sure there’s a lot of music that we don’t get to hear simply because there’s no spotlight on these creations, or because some musicians have given up in frustration.

Where do you see day none and yourself in the near future?
Ideally, I hope to be able to reach a point where I can sustain myself through my music, be that through DJ gigs or a reasonable record label deal. In the very near future, I hope to be throwing a release party for my upcoming EP, and that I’m able to make the EP what I envision it to be.

How MAD Are You About Customizing Your Belongings?

Customize MAD Artist Painting

“Every painting I make teaches me something. Every face I paint proves to me how unique each one of us is. I have adapted techniques all by myself, and I still am.”

Samir Mitri, an aspiring doctor and current painter, tells us more about himself in the below one-on-one we had with him. If you’re MAD about customizing your personal belongings, read on to get to know him!

How did you start drawing on personal items and what was the first thing you drew on?
I’ve always loved drawing and painting, but the idea of painting on items other than canvas or paper never crossed my mind. I remember one time my mother was tidying up her closet and wanted to throw away a white jacket she had. I insisted that she didn’t and asked her to keep it for i wanted to try something new. This was my first time painting on a personal item. She loved the outcome as did I and everyone everyone around me;  and that’s how it started.

Who are your art inspirations?
I’m very inspired by Bill Ward, an american cartoonist. I think his work is amazing and I love what he does! I can get easily inspired by any other form of art like music, a movie, a music video, etc.


Tell us more about painting: is it a hobby or would you like to pursue a career in it?
To me, painting has always been a hobby and more like a relief… I’ve turned to art in all of its forms to make my visions come to life. I never considered painting as my career or job. However, having the eye of an artist will come in handy in what I’m willing to pursue: plastic surgery.

What are your future plans and where do you see yourself and your brand in the near future?
Everything I know, I taught myself. I aspire to grow and keep on painting, drawing and sharing my vision with the world. I really hope to see expansion and that with MAD I’ll be able to expose my art to a larger audience. I’ll never stop painting, since it has become a habit.

 

A MAD Real-Estate Show Is Landing in Lebanon!

Real estate MAD Entertainment Bedkon Beit

Real-estate real-talk with Bedkon Beit!

It’s such a hassle to house-hunt in Lebanon, isn’t it? If you’re not going through it personally, then maybe you know a friend, a friend of a friend, a second cousin or someone who is!

You have no idea what’s going on in the market, you see a house you like and suddenly you’re asked to pay five times your budget for it and there are so many properties that you don’t know where to begin looking! Newspaper listing? Online? Real-estate TV shows

Well, it’s finally happening.

WHAT is finally happening?

En Quête d’Appart, produced by OBBO prod, has been running for 3 years in France and is the first real estate entertainment weekly TV Show where you get what you see! In their fourth season, the show will be airing on a daily basis on another french channel as of this March as Carrément Bien(s)! With over 100 interviewed celebrities, over 3,000 properties sold and over 100 real estate developers and agents all over France, the show is landing in Lebanon in February 2019 in its Lebanese version, Bedkon Beit.

So what is Bedkon Beit?

Bedkon Beit is NOT your typical real-estate TV show. The explosive duo of local hosts will be doing EVERYTHING to test and find the best real estate deals! They’ll be going from fun property visits, to giving tips and conducting celebrity and street interviews.

Who will be on board?

Recognized real estate experts, consultants, developers and major market players will showcase their selection of properties for sale and/or rent as well as their vision of the real estate market and housing in Lebanon.

When?

As of February 2019, Bedkon Beit will be broadcasted daily on a leading Lebanese TV channel ! Episodes are already being filmed in collaboration with MAD!

So… How MAD is Bedkon Beit?

MAD talents will be featured on the show. Yes, you read that right. In addition to distribution and marketing of the TV show, you can expect to see MAD talents featured on the show as well as celebrities and all kinds of entertainment.

Bottom line is…

Lebanon, get ready for a truly MAD real estate entertainment TV show that’s going to glue you to your screens, make you burst out in laughter and introduce you to the best real estate properties and deals you can find in the country.

We’re MADly excited, aren’t you?

Today’s Weather Forecast: Creative, Don’t You Think?

Weather Creativity Article

Imagine this: it’s an early January morning but it’s pitch-black outside. There isn’t a single white cloud in the sky, only raindrops falling from a greyish background. You squirm around in bed, struggling to leave the warmth of your bed sheets. You strategically think of how many layers you can wear while still being able to function normally. Soon enough, you make it to your office after rushing to beat the nefarious traffic. There, you find yourself making your first cup of coffee and starting with your first task of the day, early on.

From afar, it seems like a romanticized morning in Paris or London or even in Beirut. Up close, it’s nothing but the mere reality of the cruel winter season; the season everyone loves to hate, and hates to love.

You don’t need to imagine the scenario. It happened this morning; in fact, it’s happened every morning since the start of the stormy weather in Lebanon. Despite the cold, gloomy climate, you feel a burst of creativity; a zap of motivation hits you and you sit at your desk to start your work process earlier than usual. Normally, you’d think it’s because you want to finish early so you can leave on time. But according to NYU professor who studies behavioral economics, decision making and marketing, Adam Alter, this sudden surge of creativity is due to the “bad” weather.

It’s pretty common for us to try to keep ourselves busy during dark, winter days. We find things around the house that need to be finalized, we resume hobbies that we haven’t tended to in a while or we simply watch the movie that has been on our “to-watch” list since last year and snuggle up with some hot cocoa. At the office, we brainstorm ideas for pitches and start work on huge projects that we have been delaying for days. For students, it becomes so simple to listen to some music while focusing on calculus or some other subject that they think they’re not good at.

Whichever is the case, we do these things to avoid feeling down in a season that’s known to bring down the toughest of the tough, the season associated with “seasonal mood disorder”.

In Alter’s perspective, “bad” weather opens us up to creativity while “good” weather distracts us. On sunny, summer days, we are too preoccupied by thinking of suntanning on white sand, sipping on our ice-cold beer and taking cold showers to think of the things that really matter. We are too busy daydreaming of where we will be spending our weekends and which ice-cream flavor to get after lunch to care for the deadlines and responsibilities that are now piling on. But in winter, we want to avoid seasonal depression so much that our creative juices get flowing and we produce some of our best work.

 

Humans are biologically predisposed to avoid sadness, and they respond to sad moods by seeking opportunities for mood repair and vigilantly protecting themselves against whatever might be making them sad. In contrast, happiness sends a signal that everything is fine, the environment doesn’t pose an imminent threat, and there’s no need to think deeply and carefully.”

 

Does Alter’s thesis on weather and creativity make sense? I ponder this deeply as I recline in my office chair, listening to this drizzles of rain interrupted by thunder and write this, after having struggled for months to write something decent, or merely just anything.

 

Tala

MAD Community Manager