Written by Hayder Al-Shakarchi
Artist alert, Jordan! We have a rapper in our midst, and one that is about to make it big! AceQuared is a Jordanian-Palestinian singer that isn’t only talented, but down-to-earth, humble, and ready to take over the world! Endowed with the goofiest laugh, he isn’t afraid to embrace it. Flustered with emotions, he isn’t embarrassed to translate it. But most importantly, filled with limitless potential, home is still where his heart is.
“Jordan is home. Jordan is my heart. Honestly, everywhere I go in the world is special to me, but if the world was a human body: Jordan would be its heart, pulsing through all our veins. That’s what Jordan means to me. It’s my country. They’re my people. We’re all one and we all have the same heart. I know that my country will always have my back just like I’ll always have its back. I want to be one of the people that’s putting Jordan on the map. I want our footballs teams to be huge. I want our basketball teams to be huge. I want our tourism to keep improving. But most importantly, I want to be a representative of the world, especially the Middle East, including my country of heritage, Palestine, because at the end of the day: I am an Arab and will always be proud to call myself an Arab.”
What messages are you trying to deliver through your music?
“There isn’t one certain message that I want to deliver. I love making music… That’s my goal, my purpose. And so if my music can inspire anyone to do anything that they love, then I’m happy. If they can relate to my tracks, if it can help them get through their day, if it can help get them get excited or energetic, then I’ve done my job. That’s what makes me happy. That’s all that I want to deliver.”
What was the first song you ever wrote?
“The first time I remember writing a song was when I was 11 years old. I probably have it somewhere in Jordan stored away at home, but I do remember two lines and it was really bad. (Laughs) ‘I got money in my ice cream, bought it from hell, stuck it in his ear and I went to hell.’ It was really, really bad.”
As I was checking out Ace’s songs on iTunes, I realized something different than most artists: His music is everchanging, like a chameleon. One song would be a club banger while the next would be a heart breaker, so I couldn’t pick a favorite! But does he have a favorite?
“A song of my own? I don’t really have one, honestly. However, I could say that my most recent song will always be my favorite song. For example, every time my producer and I make a new song, it automatically becomes my favorite song as soon as I record it… Even when I don’t release it.”
No favorite song? How about favorite performance, then?
“Oh, I definitely have that. My all-time favorite performance was actually my smallest performance. It was at prom at my old high school. It was simply amazing, I loved it. And it wasn’t about how many people were there, but the energy! I just loved the energy and support from my hometown, from the school that I went to, and it wasn’t even my prom!”
As I continued to play “Gorilla” on repeat, I thought of all the artists that I felt in his music and the impact that other artists may have had on him. Who have been his influences?
“Most of my influences don’t come from who I’m listening to but from what I’m listening to. There aren’t any certain artists, it’s much more about their music. So if I’m listening to something right now and I’m feeling it, then that song is influencing me and inspiring me to make more music. As long as it hits me, it influences me.”
Do you feel that gaining momentum comes hand-in-hand with criticism?
“It’s funny because I feel that the more that you accomplish, the more that rumors spread. I’ve actually heard that I steal my music. (Chuckles) There was a certain point in my career, right around the time that I started making music, when I wasn’t big enough to find any good producers because I was just starting out. So, I used to find beats on YouTube and I would lease the beats. But eventually, I moved to Toronto and I met with this amazing producer, Osama Hussain, who’s still my producer until this day, and he’s just great. I’d just tell him, ‘Okay, today I feel like going in a hip-hop direction” and he would produce the beat, just like that. And if we’re not on the same page, we just take it in a different direction. Collaboration is key. Hearsay is not.”
(Source: acequared - Instagram)
And that’s when I realized that I wasn’t talking to a ‘young rapper.’ This guy was genuine and smart. Who did he look up to as he was growing up?
“My father. I really look up to my dad, in many aspects. Not just as a father (because everybody says that) but as a businessman and a husband and a brother, and so much more. Him being the oldest brother really taught me a lot, though, especially since I’m the oldest brother. I always observed his actions and the way he treated his family and it just really made me think about how I should treat my family and my siblings.”
So humble! Is this man ready for fame?
“I’ll only know when I get there… I’m just really glad that it’s moving gradually. With the help of my friends, we can make it. We started this together and I’m hoping that we can end this together.”
But is failure an option for Ace?
“No, sir. I will keep trying and trying and trying because I was put on this earth to make music, I truly believe that. I’m here to instill emotion into the world. The only way I know how to live is through music… All my emotions, everything that’s going on… I just let it all go on the track, and I’m going to keep on that track until there are no more rails.”
Seems like this rapper is on a mission! So what’s the next stop?
“I’m really focused on my latest track right now, ‘Be Someone.’ The thing about this one is that it can have many different meanings to many different people, which takes us back to me not really having a specific message to deliver. It’s all about being subjective and so it’ll mean one thing to me and mean an entirely separate thing to you. That’s art, and I love it.”
Do you feel that fame gets to people’s heads, and if so, do you think it’ll get to yours?
“I think it happens all the time, more than the world would like, more than me and you would like, and I really, really hope that it doesn’t get to mines.”
How about the ladies? I’m sure you’ve got groupies chasing you all around town, so what kind of guy are you in a relationship?
“I’m actually a hopeless romantic, but very rarely. When I like a girl, I’m extremely… I fall in love. I become a man of romance. (Giggles) It’s all about the small romantic gestures, like for example, nothing expensive, only sentimental. Once I was dating this girl and she had told me about something that her dad had done for her mom towards the beginning of our relationship, and I never forgot that. So I kept in mind and did something for her that was very similar to what her dad did for her mom. It’s all about the simple things in life.”
Ever since moving to Toronto, do you feel that Jordan and Canada differ?
“Strangely enough, they’re just as similar as they are different. For instance, I’ve seen the same drive that people in Jordan have that people in Toronto have, and they’re both equivalent. They’re just two different cultures, so I think it all comes down to the way that a person’s raised.”
When did you realize that music was your passion?
“I knew it my entire life. I used to freestyle and sing when I still couldn’t shower on my own! I just always wanted to make music. I always wanted to write songs. Always. Even before I knew I wanted to make music, I wanted to make music. I even have home videos of me performing as a kid. It’s always been my passion.”
(Source: acequared - Instagram)
You’ve mentioned Jordan many times in your music and you’ve talked so highly about it during this interview. Are you planning on releasing any songs specifically about Jordan?
“Yes, I am. I have more than a few songs that are going to be about Jordan, actually, including my latest song. However, rather than going dark, I want to keep it fun and rap about how much I enjoy my time in Jordan; the things my friends and I do, the shenanigans we all get in to, all the local hangouts. It’s going to be fun and I just can’t wait to release it and hear what people think.”
What keeps you motivated, Ace?
“Remaining loyal to the people that have remained loyal to me. Also, I keep my faith in God. I’m a firm believer in God. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I believe in because to each their own, but I do have a strong connection. Throughout my life, I’ve always felt that He has helped me through obstacles, both emotionally and physically; with my passions, with my friends, with my family… I just have this certain faith that I just can’t explain.”
Describe the feeling you get when you’re on stage, pouring your heart out to random strangers?
“It’s honestly indescribable. All I can say is that I get this connection that I know I can’t get anywhere else doing anything else… It’s as if I’m literally connected with every single soul in front of me, next to me, with the DJ, with the audience... I just pour my entire heart out, no judgment and without filter, and it gives me this strength in which I feel like I can do whatever I want to do and say whatever I want to say, no censor.”
What do you want to say to the youth of Jordan?
“Don’t think that just because you’re in Jordan, you can’t make it. People seem to have this crippling effect in which they truly believe that they can’t make it just because they live in a certain area. That’s a stigma. We live in THE day and age of the internet, which is everywhere, so you don’t need anyone. All you need is the support of your family and friends, and you can do it. You can do it in Zarqa, you can do it in Amman, or Toronto, or L.A… If you believe you can do it, then do it.”
You heard the man, folks! If you can do it, just do it like Nike!
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