Singer Ajan Farah enjoys sharing her vocal talent with others. She loves how she can communicate with others through her voice, noting that music can place a person into the life of another. She tells us more about herself and her life as a singer.
Who is Ajan Farah?
I am the daughter of Anita Eleonora Rustveld, a beautiful, very wise, loving mother. I’m a mix of a Surinamese mother and Somalian father. I’m a singer, a songwriter (on the down low) and I’m amazing at organizing stuff, like administration or closets. I’m a Libra. In my case, that means I take forever to make decisions.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a very positive and spiritual person. I’m a “love conquers all” kind of girl. I’m trying to change the world by being the change in the sense that I try to do what my heart tells me to, doing things out of love and not out of fear.
Where were you born and how did you end up on this beautiful island?
I was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I came here once, when I tried to travel the world in six months. My second destination was St. Maarten and my plan of travelling the world changed to hanging out in St Maarten for five months. She grabbed me and didn’t let me go. I surrendered with ease and have been living here now for over 12 years.
How did you end up becoming a musician?
I’ve been singing since I was a little girl. It started in primary school, doing school plays. Then in high school, we had song festivals. My sister Elais, who is two years older, was already singing in a band and composing and writing music. I then started the group Ayel with her. We mostly performed in clubs, at big festivals like Racism beat it or as supporting acts for KC & JoJo, Mc Lyte, Silk and Ex-Girlfriend, for example.
What do you like about being a musician?
I love how I can communicate with people, children, strangers on a different, dare I say, higher level. Either the words have been true for me or true for someone in the audience. Even if we have not been there, music can surely place you in the life of another simply by singing a song with all of your heart or listening to it with all of your heart. The connection I have with people when I sing is what I do it for.
What differentiates you from other musicians in St. Maarten?
Everything. All of me. I think we are the same yet all different from each other, not only musically, but also physically, mentally and spiritually. There is no way any of us is alike. That’s the beauty of music, but also the beauty of human kind.
Are you part of a band or do you perform alone?
I sing by myself. But I also sing with an amazing pianist, Norwin Mergler, at Rendez-Vous in Porto Cupecoy on Fridays. At this moment, I’m also working on a soul band. Stay tuned!
What can people expect from you during your Thursday performances at Karakter?
A jazzy and soulful adventure that can take you from the 1940s to today and back.
Why should anyone come to see you perform?
I find it hard to boast or even promote myself. If I would answer as if I was talking about someone else, I would say: “You should see her. That girl can sing and she does it with all of her heart.”
All I really want is to be able to keep doing what I am doing. I would like to travel a bit more. See the world. Maybe sing abroad and combine it.
What do you do outside of music?
At the moment, it’s only music – best job ever.
Dream holiday venue?
I always see myself reading a book at a pool, on the beach, in a hotel room on a super comfy bed. I can do that anywhere. It just has to be in a warm place. I guess I can easily vacation on my own island.
What would a perfect romantic evening be for you?
Any evening spent with the one you love, who loves you back.
If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you take?
Garlic, salt and pepper. You get my drift. I love food.
What message do you have for youngsters who want to follow in your footsteps?
I’d tell them to figure out who they are. Once you know who you are, what you do in music will be unique. Music lies close to the heart. You can’t cheat. You can’t pretend. Not because you can’t fool others, but because you cannot fool yourself.
I love reading, hanging out with my doggie on the beach or get-togethers with good friends.
Interrupting someone who’s talking. I say this jokingly because anyone who knows me, knows that I am particularly good at that one myself.
It’s not a quote, but it’s something I try to live by. It’s called “the four agreements” – (1) Be impeccable with your word, (2) Don’t take anything personally, (3) Don’t make assumptions and (4) Always do your best.
What’s your favourite type of music? What artistes do you listen to?
Old soul, hands down. I listen to everything. Mostly because it’s my work. But some Sam Cooke or Otis Redding on a quiet evening in does me the most good.
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
I definitely focus on the living so it would be a couple of my besties. They’re all over the world and sometimes they’re just so far away. I know it sounds simple, but that’s what I would do. I’d simply invite my good friends (on- and off-island) but I’d have them cook for me.