Karter Zaher is a 21 year old Lebanese-Canadian musician who lives in Ottawa, Ontario. He recently reached out to us to share his latest project, a music video called “Hijabi Queen.”
We were intrigued after seeing it and wanted to find out more about why he made this video, and the story behind how he got involved in music.
When did you get started in music? Do you write your own songs or play any instruments?
I started writing at the age of 13 but officially started recording my own original songs at the age of 16 and things began to get serious when i turned 19 years old.
What inspired you to write this song Hijabi Queen?
My biggest inspiration behind writing Hijabi Queen was seeing the injustice hijabi women were facing when the ban in France occurred. I feel like many of these Muslim women are judged in society and a lot of people in the world are ignorant to what a hijab symbolizes so I wanted to make a song to display their innocence and true beauty and inshallah raise more awareness.
Are the actresses hijabis in the video?
It’s interesting because the main model doesn’t actually wear the Hijab but she was so interested in playing the role in the music video because she knew it would have such a powerful meaning. With or without the Hijab on, she is still a beautiful, smart and talented young lady and she did an amazing job at portraying her emotions.
What do you hope to achieve with your music?
I want to be known in my community, I want all arabs and muslims to know who Karter Zaher is and i want to continue making music with good causes, about love and peace. And inshallah one day I hope to hit the radio as I also make pop music and more mainstream music like my hit “Fame and a girl”.
How has the Muslim community responded to your music?
There’s always the open minded Muslims who see the intention, the value and hard work behind a concept like Hijabi Queen. These Muslims are sharing the love and not being picky about what is being portrayed in the video, they simply see a Muslim guy trying to do good for community which i really value.
Then there are the closed minded Muslims, the one’s who like to pin point and criticize every single detail that seems to be haram (forbidden) to them. For example: “Why is she wearing nail polish and touching the Quran”, or “A hijabi girl should not wear jeans because its tight on her body”, or even “It’s haram that Karter is wearing earrings in the video”…etc.
There’s always positive and negative feedback but Alhumduililah (thanks be to God) the positive is outweighing the negative. I’m going to be myself, as an artist. this is my image and if people want to judge my appearance then they can hear my audio on Itunes.
Some people might say, you’re singing in support of hijabis, but then you have a song called Convert for Me… so it seems a little like a slap in the face to those Muslim women who wear hijab and feel ignored by Muslim men who go out and get non Muslim girlfriends. What are your thoughts on that?
My music is a reflection of my thoughts, feelings and experiences so when I wrote Convert for me, it was due an experience that I had with a Christian woman who I loved but couldn’t be with because of religion. I am Muslim, and I have pride in my religion and I think Christians and any other religions should have pride in theirs, so making that sacrifice to convert for someone is extremely difficult which is why i made a song about it. Many couples nowadays struggle because of this injustice so why couldn’t I make a that could inspire these people to be together no matter what stands in their way, because after all, nothing can overcome true love.
How does your family feel about your music?
My family never supported what I do because like typical Arab parents, they wanted me to finish my degree and become a doctor or some sort of engineer. Hamdulillah now that my parents see things are going well for me and that I’m really focused on my music, they do Duaa (pray) for me and want nothing but the best but even then, I still get those lectures from Baba who tries to convince me how important a degree is… Don’t worry, I’m going to get it DAD!
Where can we see you perform?
I love performing, its actually my favorite part of my career. I’ve done shows locally so In Toronto, Ottawa and in Montreal but I still have not done an official tour outside of Canada but I am really hoping to launch one in the summer of 2014. I really want to go to the UK because the amount of love I get from there is unbelievable!
Are you working on any new projects or songs?
As of now, there are no new projects being released but I’ll be in collaboration with some really popular YouTube gurus in the near future Inshallah (God willing)… Some of them are Hijabi Queens!
Who are some of the Muslim/non-Muslim artists that you look up to?
I don’t look up to anyone except Allah, but I am really inspired by Muslim artist Sami Yusuf, his music is absolutely phenomenal and for a non Muslim artist, I’m a big fan of Drake.
What do you do when you’re not singing or making music?
Either travelling, doing shows, or spending time with my family and friends.
You can find more about Karter on various social networks or by checking out his Facebook page.