WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Faith is what brought the two artists together and faith is what continues to inspire and motivate the duo on their musical journey.
Fajjr Khan and Ali Andre Ali believe some things are "just meant to be." Their paths first crossed during the holy month of Ramadan while they were freshmen at New York University a few years back. And as you will come to learn, Ramadan is a special month for the two artists, not only when it comes to their spiritualism, but also in the story of fajjr + ali.
It was their freshmen year at NYU, Ali was searching for somewhere to break his fast and Khan turned out being his liaison to the Islamic Center. Religion was their common denominator at first, but little did they know that they would build a future together based off of more than just their beliefs.
"We clicked from the beginning," Ali remembered.
"The majority of people I met at the Islamic Center wanted to go into law, medicine etc. There were very few Muslims in the same program as me," Khan explained.
Their love and passion for the arts is what sealed the deal. The two freshmen both happened to be in school pursuing their love for theater and music in college.
However, at the end of freshmen year life's twists and turns came into play.
"Ali and I both had life-changing experiences," Khan recollected.
Ali's mother passed away and Khan's father fell sick. And that is when their paths split for a little bit. Khan returned to her home state of Pennsylvania to attend a different school and Ali continued his journey in the Big Apple.
Both Khan and Ali persisted on with their love for music and theater throughout their college years.
Their separate paths continued after college until one day the two artists decided to shake things up and record a demo.
"One thing led to another," Khan explained.
One EP, several singles and a few shows later -- Khan and Ali remain on their journey of making a name for themselves in the music world.
Breaking into the music business is challenging for anybody, but breaking into the business with a hijabi singer in the US is still far from the norm, but something the duo hopes to change for others pursuing their dreams.
"There aren't many 'covering' women in the business... it helps us stick out. We are trying to tap into a market that hasn't been tapped into yet," Khan elaborated.
Khan, who has Pakistani roots and is a hijabi wants to represent a group of people who aren't represented yet.
"I only had white women to look up to when I was growing up," she stated. "We aren't going to compromise our principles...our faith," Khan pointed out.
As for Ali, he too is trying to represent the same demographic -- but has a slightly different experience on being Arab-Muslim.
"I grew up in a mixed household. My dad's roots are from Palestine and my mother was American with Irish ties," he clarified.
"I don't have what people see as the 'typical' Middle-Eastern features. So I'm in a unique position because my identity isn't right in people's faces," Ali added.
Ali's "unique position" is inspiring because he believes he can show people a different side.
"People have this perception of what Muslims or Arabs are, and I can show people a different face," he said.
A different face isn't the only thing they are trying to display. fajjr + ali are focused on storytelling.
"We want to tell our stories, other people's stories.. We sing about social justice, loss, love, addiction ... a little bit of everything," they said.
If they had to define their music, they would call it indie-pop but in reality they are just trying to bend their boundaries. The duo dabbles in everything from jazz, hip-hop, pop, to electronic, which makes perfect sense considering their diverse backgrounds.
At the end of the day "we want to write good music, good messages.. Music right now can be vulgar at times.. We want to appeal to the mind. We want to make something people haven't heard before."
Although they are the "new kids on the block" it is safe to say that slowly but surely they are shaking things up on more than just a musical scale.
"People sometimes question if Muslims are allowed to do music, art etc... but in the Muslim world there is a lot of art, song, calligraphy and people don't even know about it," Ali and Khan communicated.
Granted at times they question whether or not they are on the right path but new, and exciting opportunities tend to pop up for them, especially during their annual month of fasting.
So this Ramandan, they will forge ahead with their concerts and shows and continue to believe "that some things are just meant to be."
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