Driving up to Ooredoo’s Red Dome, I could hear people chanting along to the sounds of a DJ playing upbeat hits. The adrenaline could be felt from a mile away! It wasn’t long before I was whisked by The Wanted’s agent past throngs of screaming fans into a guarded black tent. I stepped inside and was immediately greeted with warm hugs by Max, Jay, Tom, Nathan, and Siva, the members of the UK dance-pop group The Wanted. While the other members hung out on the couch, Siva Kaneswaran led me to a quieter table where we sat down and talked. Needless to say, he was incredibly friendly and kind.
Here’s what he had to say about his life as a musician and soon to be solo artist.
How are you finding Kuwait so far?
Obviously it’s really hot; it’s unbearable. and Jay’s been indoors all day. I usually go out to try and get a tan, but here, I can’t go longer than six minutes. But I love it! We drove around and went to malls. It’s been a great experience and everyone’s really nice!
Congratulations on your engagement! How does that feel?
Thank you! It feels weird, like I’m some part of a new club that only the engaged and married people know. It’s a really nice experience and a new step in my life. I don’t know when the wedding’s going to be. We’ll have to wait and see!
I heard The Wanted are taking a break and that you’re working on a new album as well. Does your experience with The Wanted influence your solo project at all, or are you taking a new direction with your music?
Well, as you work as a musician and singer, you get experience along the road. But in terms of writing songs, it feels quite similar. When I write with The Wanted, it had to be put in a bracket of sound, which was The Wanted sound. Now, I don’t have that bracket anymore, and I can put a new sound to it. I want to create something totally fresh, upbeat, and me.
What do your bandmates think of your venture into a solo career?
We all came to the conclusion that we all want to do our own personal things. So everyone else is doing their own thing, but we all support each other. It came about really naturally; we all mutually agreed that it was time to take a break. It’s great, because it’s not as dramatic as other break-ups.
So this isn’t a break-up. You guys are just taking a break.
Yes; a hiatus. As natural as it was for us to go on a break, we will come back together. We’re not trying to pressure it, so when it feels right, we’ll be back.
How was your world tour?
It was amazing. We went down to America, around the UK, and a little bit of Asia. It was nice to see all the fans again and just remind yourself why you do what you do.
As a solo artist, are you looking to go on world tours as well?
I would love to! The world tour we just did was incredible. I just kept thinking, “This is amazing”. I couldn’t imagine what a compliment it would be to have all these people come and see me. I could die happy.
What kind of sounds influence the music we might be hearing from your new album?
I want to make new and fresh sounds. I can say I love Coldplay and old-school Motown and Lionel Richie and the likes. That’s what I am. I can’t tell you what it’s going to sound like exactly – you’re going to have to hear it yourself!
What has inspired you to write songs for your album?
I know it sounds kind of cliche, but it was definitely my fans. I wrote all my music on the back of fan letters. When I read the letters, I feel like “I get what he/she’s saying.” and then I write a song based on that feeling. Some fans have really horrible and tough upbringings, and it’s the greatest feeling knowing you’ve changed a fan’s life with your music. It’s so rewarding.
Are we expected to hear something from you in the fall?
Well, we just wrapped up a world tour, so I’m not trying to pressure myself in terms of time. When it’s ready, you’ll know!
I know you started off as a model and that you worked in the fashion industry. Are you looking to go back to that?
I’d love to go back to the fashion side of things; maybe curating or representing large brands like Tom Ford or Prada or Gucci (high-end brands). I’d love to design, too. But right now, I want to focus on music. When I feel like I’m comfortable enough and able to branch into that, I’ll do it.
– Farah Bishara