Music

A product of three cultures, it took him a while to find his voice

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Listen to the full interview.

Nima Samimi was born in the US to an Iranian father and a French Canadian mother. Growing up he was exposed to both of their cultures — and of course, the land in which he lived.

“While on the one hand I’m very much 100 percent American, I’m also 100 percent an Iranian,” he says.

Muhammad Seven 1.jpg

Man in field with electric guitar

Nima Samimi, a.k.a Muhammad Seven.

Credit:

Daniel Schissler

Samimi didn't live with his father full-time, but he recalls the cassette Sony Walkman from which the music poured.

“My father listened to a lot of Persian music" — particularly the kind of pop Persian music you'd hear in Los Angeles. His father would also sing him Persian lullabies and recite Persian poetry.

The Persian as well as the Western music Samimi was exposed to led him to experiment with music himself. Now in his 30s, he started playing the guitar and writing music at 14 years old.

"The question I asked myself was, 'What kind of music does an Iranian American make?' There were no other Iranian Americans I knew of making music."

It took a while for him to know himself well enough and to find his own voice.

But in 2011, after his plans to travel to Iran failed, Samimi went on tour. He and a friend came up with the stage name "Muhammad Seven."

"[It's] an opportunity to write for a character," he says.

Samimi's latest album is called "Bedouin Cowboy" and it was produced entirely on an iPhone.

"After the tour I came out with this catalogue of music but then soon after I got married, right after that we had my son," he says. "It seemed clear that between the busyness of parenting, work and being a student that it was not going to happen for me to make an album."

So he decided to record the music on his iPhone. He listened back and liked what he heard. So he made the whole album that way.

You can find Samimi's music here.

In Arts, Culture & MediaMusicGlobal Nation.