You’ll get a chance to say you’re as cool as Lana Del Rey and Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood if you check out Tamino in Brooklyn this week.
The 22-year-old Belgium-based singer of Egyptian and Lebanese heritage, who has already experienced the star-making rite of passage that is playing NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, will kick off his first North American tour at National Sawdust Wednesday night.
The grandson of Muharram Faroud, famous in his Egyptian homeland as an actor and singer known as “The Sound of the Nile,” always a had a love for performance. Tamino’s first love was theater acting, but when he began writing songs at 14, it “gave sense to my life,” he tells The Post from Belgium.
“It’s always been a part of searching for a deeper meaning,” Tamino says. “There wasn’t really a moment, I think it was something I always did. … I guess the moment was when I started writing songs, and that’s when I fell in love with a girl and I wrote a song, which was of course the worst song ever,” he says, laughing.
Growing up in Antwerp, he listened to “a little bit of everything, jazz, Arabic music, pop, like The Beatles.”
“My mom had a great record collection,” he says, noting that he didn’t pay much attention to mainstream music at the time. As he got older he began discovering artists like Nirvana and Soundgarden.
His grandfather, whom he described as a Frank Sinatra-like figure in Egyptian popular culture, died when he was a youngster. He only met him a few times.
“We all joke about it,” he says of following in his grandfather’s footsteps, but he notes his father, who is now an event organizer, was also a singer. “So it’s definitely in the family. They weren’t surprised [when he became a musician].”
His debut album, “Amir,” released last year, features Nagham Zikrayat, a group of Brussels-based, Arabic musicians, mostly Middle Eastern refugees from Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia and Syria. The record was released on Canadian label Arts & Crafts, and a deluxe edition, featuring two new songs, live material and more extras, will be out Oct. 18.
Tamino — who sings in English — has some famous fans in his corner: Del Rey invited him to open for her in Dublin, and Greenwood performed on “Amir” and at the Tiny Desk Concert.
“Yeah, she texted me on Instagram,” he says of Del Rey. “And she was so kind. It’s amazing. So she texts me, she heard a song which she liked, and I covered a song of hers after that. And a few months later she asked if I wanted to support her show in Dublin.”
Greenwood, the Radiohead bassist, and Tamino have mutual friends in Antwerp, “and they all came to a concert of mine” there, he says.
He also brushed shoulders with supermodel Gisele Bündchen when both worked on a summer campaign for Italian fashion house Missoni. For him, he says, “fashion is about identity.”
“There’s a quote from Bob Dylan that life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself, which I think is a really cool quote,” Tamino says. “You’re born with a certain face and body and whatnot, but you can of course have the power over what you’re wearing, you have choices.”
The musician, who says he doesn’t want to rush a follow-up album, describes his live shows as “intense, probably.”
“I would say warm as well, it’s a warm vibe. I know my music sounds pretty dark sometimes, but it’s not like you’re going to a vampire party,” he says, laughing. “You’re sharing a moment with each other. I hope it transcends as well; those are the best concerts, where you’re really lifted and don’t really think about anything else anymore and you’re just being guided by the music.”
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