- Do I Wanna Know JEM 3:27
Quietly weaving and echoing their way through the streets of West London, rising mystic Jem paints the city with his delicate Eastern melodies that can be heard dancing on the veils of the wind. A subtle, enchanting call reaches out to fellow souls who find themselves wandering and wondering, as Jem guides the way with debut EP ‘Don’t Let Me Disappear’.
Emerging with his debut single in late 2021, the rare and spellbinding ‘Secrets’, Jem followed this enticing entrance with the captivating sophomore single ‘Lost’, in which Jem ventured deep into his self professed world, the Negative Realm. Inspired by The Pianist a momentous visual was directed by Jems older brother Necip Karakas, to bring a dystopian world of a man who lost it all, to life.
Ready to present the debut four track visionary EP, ‘Don’t Let Me Disappear’ features the Middle eastern percussion and haunting backing vocals of ‘Secrets’ alongside the rich, Radiohead influenced ‘Lost’ which oozes dynamicity and 90s alt rock. Now, in order to complete the odyssey are the two unreleased pieces, the single ‘Do I Wanna Know’ and the deeply personal and innocently-honest ‘Paranoia’.
Speaking of the single, Jem shares, “I felt so anxious. The world that I had known was collapsing. And, the person that I used to know was fading. I didn’t know who I was, and I was scared to know. But more importantly, I was willing to give it a try.”
Do I Wanna Know’ is poetic, philosophical and profound, triggering questions without yearning to find answers. Accompanied with a relaxed, more intimate style visual, ‘DIWK’ is filled with subtle electric guitars and minimalism. Emulating the perfect balance between melody, lyrics and tempered by the overall quest to learn, ‘DIWK’ offers grounding, alignment and purity. Drawing the listener’s attention to Jems delicate nature as an artist it shares a soft resemblance with Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’.
Revealing that the writing process of ‘Lost’ made him empathise with his conjured character, Jem too had to face up to his own version of this hopelessness which pushed him to write ‘Paranoia’, a memoir-like track.
With influences of classical music detailed throughout, ‘Paranoia’ is dark and deep but Jem’s voice is a beam of light, ready to meet you within the shadows. Representing a tender cry for help, ‘Paranoia’ is almost an introspection of ‘Lost’ with the artist describing a hopelessness and vulnerability but also an acceptance, “Instead of waiting for the Sun to shine again, he embraces the moonlight; instead of telling himself everything will be alright, he asks for help to stop him from disappearing.”
“Recording my EP was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had. Since I was really young, music made me feel closer to a force beyond the human ego could ever reach. I am forever grateful for the serenity, joy, and sweet melancholy that music has brought into my life.
‘Don’t Let Me Disappear’ is the completion of songs I’ve written before and during the pandemic. It’s a combination of feelings and some musical notes which transformed me into the musician I am today! In a world where emotions are often mistaken as a weakness, I’ve never wished to stand back to talk about how I feel, and with time music became an outlet to express my emotions and grow free from my pain -from melancholy to euphoria.”
Embellished with tones that replicate the sound of Oud (native Middle Eastern instrument) Jem utilises his melismatic vocal blend, traversing between registers with ease, grace and utter fluency. Pushing the boundaries as a light lyric tenor via both his head and chest voice, they seamlessly come together in a perfect and satisfying harmonic synthesis. Angelic, soft and breathtakingly delicate, Jems opulent timbre is haunting yet elegant, entrancing all those who stop to listen.
Describing his music as ‘for the lost souls desperately searching for meaning in life.’ Jem is not here simply to create music. With every offering he dives into the depths within, each time bringing a new world to the surface. Unafraid to visit places and play with intonations that may be unfamiliar, unusual or even uncomfortable, Jem is unapologetic and unafraid in his authenticity, representing the embodiment of what it truly means to be an artist, in all its entirety.
Incredibly compassionate, Jem is acutely aware and receptive to both the light and dark, effortlessly able to slip into and in between the fabric of both realms. With this gift and ability to navigate both spaces of the human consciousness and life itself, Jem channels his songwriting and above all his artistry.
A transcendent journey awaits, where you find yourself gazing into the Middle Eastern skies, ‘Don’t Let Me Disappear’ is an eclectic medium of transportation whilst showcasing Jems innate understanding to display sensitivity within his expression, this project serves as a delicate bridge between worlds just waiting to be explored.
Forever intrigued by the unseen, unspoken and the hidden, Jem discovered songwriting as an outlet to render his otherworldly feelings. Offering a rare and unique trait of one so young, Jem embodies intensity and talent far beyond his years and experience. Now ready to reveal his debut EP ‘Don’t Let me Disappear’, the Turkish musician merges his Alternative Rock inspirations from the ’90s with his Middle Eastern melodies carefully collected from his childhood.
Before crossing over to study Contemporary Music in London, Jem studied Opera at the age of 16. His musical influences vary from Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, The Doors, Nick Drake, Sarah Vaughan and music across the Middle East (Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, and other Arab world countries). Jem expertly combines the contemporary Western sounds he collected whilst living in London, delicately pieced together with his culture, antiquity and the wisdom that lies within his Middle Eastern roots.
Continuing to develop his unique heady blend of desert-dry Middle Eastern percussions and melismatic singing embellished with gritty, rock-infused guitar. He lavishly paints his art with dark, emotive and mysterious lyricism, whilst his vocal conjures intrigue and vivid imagery as he details a cryptic narrative.
Jem’s expressive sound and introspective nature take you on a spiritual adventure that fills your heart and speaks directly to your soul.
SOURCE: Official Release
Featured image by Zeynep Ozkanca.