Read: ‘My Life as an Artist: A Country Disguised as a Person’ by K’NAAN

I admire K’naan‘s shrewd ability to universally share and draw interest in his personal anecdotes.

I’ve been meaning to share the following article for WEEKS now; back in June, the talented rapper/singer hailing from Mogadishu, Somalia wrote a piece for the Huffington Post which makes enjoyable reading for reading’s sake – let alone the insight it gives into his mindset and experiences back home and how they inspired and affected his career in music.


My Life as an Artist: A Country Disguised as a Person

It was not my dream to be an artist. How could it have been? I thought artist, much like a leader, was something you either were or weren’t. Never something you set out to be. And as a boy in Mogadishu, Somalia, although art plainly encapsulated the world as I knew it, what I really wanted to be was an optometrist. But there weren’t any doctors in my family.

My father, they explained, was a civil servant of sorts, who then moved to New York for reasons all the poets in my life would fail to articulate. My mother, was by nature a poet but above all the distraction of talent, she was a mother. Her father was loved by all, a poet who’s nickname was Ahyaa Wadani, meaning something like “The Passion of the Country” or, “the Soul of the Country” or, “The jewel…”

The Somali language into English is like an oversized person into a fitted shirt, always needing some stretching to make sense. One day when I was about seven years of age, my mother took me along for my grandmother’s appointment with an eye doctor. Her eyesight, much like the prospect of the country, had been slowly dimming.

I remember clearly, the glory of his entrance in to the waiting room where we sat. A white overcoat, a pen hugged by the cartilage of his ear, poking through what use to be a proud army of hair, now retreating in defeat. Everything about him suggested some incorruptible dignity. I must have wondered if he looked as impressive to my mother as he did to me. I wanted to be him… — K’NAAN

>> Read K’Naan’s full article @