"Sometimes our most destructive moments and greatest tragedies end up becoming our triumphs," says Seattle, Washington-based pop-rocker Yusif!, leader of the outfit bearing his name as their moniker.
Yusif is discussing his debut, self-titled full-length, which will be nationally released October 9, 2012, a ten-track collection of songs that gravitate to lyrics about love, lost love, internal conflicts and struggles, and emotionally-charged anti-war anthems.
"I've seen war, I've seen hurt, I've seen death. I'm here to tell the truth, own up to my own selfishness and self-destruction, help people find the love I have found, and try to spread a positive, uplifting message before I die. All I want to do is create joy and inspire people; so many people have done that for me. I am committed that some day, in my lifetime, we can end war, too. People can live peacefully together," details Yusif, discussing the purpose and meaning of his album.
War is something Yusif has seen first hand, as are heartache and love, all leading to an album that is real and from-the-heart, an album Yusif had to live in and live with to create. The journey was long and the tales were often painful. But, the end result is a collection of songs that catapult from melodically-rich indie-folk storytelling to hook-laden pop-rock energy, all with a distinctive, yet memorable base (think Cat Stevens fronting Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, mixed in with a Seattle flare).
Born in Seattle and raised between Seattle and Kuwait, the Kuwaiti-American singer-songwriter lived in Kuwait during The Gulf War. At the age of four, he and his mother soon found themselves separated from his father.
"I was a little kid living in Kuwait during the Gulf War and had to be evacuated with my mom. Then twelve years later I was living in America during the War on Terror. It has been pretty intense to be part of both cultures, especially at a time when 9/11 and the Iraq War were happening and there was such a divide between the cultures," states Yusif.
"I think there still is a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication between the cultures, and I'm in a unique position to bring a Western perspective to the East and an Eastern perspective to the West, " he furthers. "I believe we can achieve the end of war in our lifetimes. It will just take a higher consciousness for us to achieve that."