Today, Chaand Soorij released his debut album – Wahid.
Wahid is a collection of dynamic collaborations; each song featuring a different artist, and each song having it’s own unique story and sound. Chaand Soorij works with a variety of artists, which gives this album a vast range – both musically and emotionally. While some songs would fall into the rap category, there are others that have influences drawn from RnB and pop as well.
Talha Mirza, the artist behind the moniker Chaand Soorij, curates the instrumental tracks and relies heavily on the music to portray his emotions – this is most relevant in the instrumental tracks that he produces. What makes Chaand Soorij stand out is that he stays true to his music, and he works with the vocalist to find common ground in producing the song.
The product? Music with substance and lyrics with meaning. It is truly refreshing!
Talha and I had a little chat about his newest project, his creative process, and the challenges he faced when producing Wahid.
Your name really stood out to me – what does it mean?
Chaand Soorij basically means “moon sun” – Chaand means “moon” and Soorij means “sun”. I am Muslim/Pakistani so I wanted to keep my culture close and the language alive.
When I decided to put music out, I knew that the name would have to be representative of myself – I wanted to stay true to myself and keep my family number one. Growing up, my nickname was “Chaand” and my brother’s was “Soorij” – So we were like the Sun and the Moon. I’m very close to my family and my brother really is like my other half.
That’s a really cool message to put across just in your name. It looks like on your new album Wahid, you have a lot of collaborations. Who are these other artists and how did their work sort of influence your own?
So a lot of the collaborators are friends from college and even a few I know from high school. I am part of the music technology program at George Mason University, so I’m surrounded by artists all the time – I actually know some of the people from Cinema Hearts and Weston Smith who were also featured on Radio Trails.
The third track, “The Bond”, was probably my biggest collab. It was with this guy Jac Debaires and I met him over Instagram. I was a fan of his and I wanted to try to make something with him, even though it would be long distance.
The people that I collaborated with on Wahid have all been making music for a while, and this was my first time mixing others’ vocals with my own music.
Oh! So you do all of the instrumentals?
Yes and it gets a little stressful, you know? I have my own vision for the music but then whoever I work with has their separate vision so you have to find that even ground – it can be a little bit of a challenge sometimes.
So how do you overcome trying to find that even ground?
Well I put my emotions into the music, and then it’s turning the music into a song. I like having freedom, and I always want to stay true to myself. I would tell the artist how I feel and what the song is about, and then we would find similarities in our stories and find a way to connect them.
Do you have a favorite song on this album?
That’s a tough one – I love them all. But if I had to choose I would say one of them would be “She’s Not” which was done with Bates. That song has more of an RnB laid-back sound to it. That track took a really long time to make – He would send me something like 30 vocal tracks and I would have to sort through them and match it with the music. The process was definitely a challenge but in the end I only grew musically. I also really like the track that I did with Lu Alex – “Remote Control.”
Is there any story behind either of those tracks?
Yeah, so for “Remote Control,” Lu Alex and I actually made that track back in January and I had lots going on at the time. I wanted to write about my own personal life and I think the music I wrote kind of reflects how I was feeling at the time. Lu Alex spent a few months working on the vocal part, and we really started putting it together in May. He ended up writing about some stuff between him and his girlfriend – I’m not really going to say anything more about that. But, what he wrote fit perfectly with the music and also with what I was feeling at the time. It’s a different perspective that I was missing from my life and what he wrote was exactly what I pictured in my mind.
Do you have any artists that you look up to or that you pull inspiration from?
I would say my top three musical inspirations would be Chance The Rapper, Nico Segal, and Vic Mensa. Nico Segal was part of a group called Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment. And I love that Chance and Vic Mensa are all about the music, and not the fame – they both have a unique and cool sound. And Vic Mensa actually just dropped an album a couple of weeks ago – It’s called The Autobiography.
I’ll have to check that out! What does the name Wahid mean?
Wahid, in Arabic, means one. So it’s another tie to my roots and it’s my first album! All of my albums are going to be the Arabic word for the next number.
Listen to Wahid below:
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THIS INTERVIEW WAS EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR CLARITY