Iranian musician and composer Mehdi Rajabian, despite the limitations and dangers he faces in a country where art is heavily censored, is ready to release his second album Coup of Gods recorded in his basement hiding on 17 September.
The 31-year old singer had served more than two years in jail for making music in 2015. Despite going through solitary confinement and a hunger strike he proclaimed in an interview that no power could stop “the power of music”.
For more than nine months, musician and composer Mehdi Rajabian kept himself hidden away in an underground room in Sari, northern Iran, working to create his latest album undercover.
The album includes tracks featuring an orchestra from Brazil, and singers and musicians from everywhere from the US to Italy to Russia. It has been mastered by record producer and songwriter Harvey Mason Jr, who has worked on tracks by stars including Beyonce, Britney Spears, John Legend and Justin Timberlake, and became chief executive of the Recording Academy (which runs the Grammy Awards) earlier in 2021.
Rajabian in the interview said, “For me it all came down to what came out of the speakers,” adding that, “The music was beautiful, compelling and so well done. In my mind, it is true art.”
Rajabian corresponding with a journalist over email expressed that he was proud of the album and believed it had “come out really strong”, despite “all the complications” he had had to overcome.
“There is only one question for me: how can we as artists express our pain to the world with the language of art, when these kind of painful images are sent to the world from Iran and Afghanistan? As artists, our work has become difficult, because feelings, sadness, surprise and pain are no longer effective.”, he said.
The singer added, “The world is no longer amazed by any sound or image; humanity has seen everything that exists. That is why humanity is moving towards fun and entertainment with art. Philosophical, protest and poetic art no longer has a place. Humanity shuns philosophical and painful art because humanity wants to get away from these pains. And that makes it difficult for us.”
The singer is ready to face any circumstances after the release of the album. Coup Of Gods will be released on streaming platforms by Mason’s label Hundredup on 17 September