Creating a music career out of his childhood passion
By Ashourina Slewo
Drawing inspiration from those around him, Faris Haisha II, 23, – who is better known to his fans as 11.11 – found his passion for rapping at the ripe age of 14. Haisha, however, has always had a love for music, recalling the first time he heard a rap song.
“The first time I listened to a rap song I was probably 7-years-old, and I vividly remember the experience – the song was Big Poppa by The Notorious B.I.G.,” said Haisha. “The cadences, the vocal flow, the rhythm all those things hit me. I also remember immediately bobbing my head to the song and thinking ‘how does he do that’.”
Having discovered his niche at the age of 14, Haisha wasted no time before taking to the studio. “I was 14-years-old and I was only experimenting,” explained Haisha. “However, after that first time it was no longer an experiment. I knew that making music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
While Haisha’s career is still in the early stages, he has been able to release four singles, including DreamzZz and Memories, on several major platforms like Spotify, iTunes and Tidal. Through the word of mouth and social media promotion, DreamzZz has reached more than 250,000 streams on Spotify alone. Currently Haisha is working on his debut extended play (EP) record which he hopes to release early 2018.
According to Haisha, the response to his music, in and out of the Chaldean community, has been positive. He has however noticed that the response has directly correlated with the time and effort that he put into his music.
“During the initial stages I wasn’t very focused, I wasn’t putting forth my best effort,” said Haisha. “With that said, my friends and family were taking me as seriously as I was taking making music. However, as I started to truly dedicate my time and talent to making music everyone also began to believe in me and support me.”
With his music, Haisha hopes to inspire others as he continues to be inspired by those around him. Some of his biggest inspirations are his mother and aunt. “I have seen my mother work hard her whole life, and her hard work and support motivates me every day,” said Haisha. “She is the driving force behind everything that I do. I view my mother as more than a mother, she is my best friend, mentor, inspiration, and motivation to never stop doing what I love.”
Early on in his career, Haisha decided that his work would not only allow him to creatively express himself, but also pay homage to those that supported him from the start. “The meaning behind my name is directly associated with the date my Aunt passed away. She passed on November 11, 2009,” explained Haisha. “After that date I realized that my stage name needed to be 11.11. I also began to see the number “one” four times in succession very frequently, and the name gives me the feeling that my aunt will be by my side forever. My aunt played a very important role in my life. She was like a mother figure to me during the times my mother was working two jobs and sacrificing her life for our household.”
In the same way that he draws inspiration from others, Haisha hopes to become a source of inspiration for those that listen to his music. “I truly love music. I want people to be inspired by the passion that I have for music,” said Haisha. “Music is my artistic outlet, although my message through making music is to show people that if they follow whatever their passions are, and have the self-belief that is needed to continue their journey; they will achieve their goals.”
Haisha also prides himself on being able to incorporate his Chaldean identity in his career as he emulates the work ethic and love for family that many Chaldeans pride themselves on. “Chaldeans are hardworking people. I incorporate that hardworking mentality into my music,” said Haisha. “Chaldeans are very family oriented, and my family means everything to me.”
Looking to the future, Haisha hopes to cultivate his career beyond the singles he has already released, with the 2018 being the year to do it.
“I am especially thankful for the support and love I have received from the Chaldean community,” said Haisha. “I have a passion and drive for making content that people will feel emotionally, but also think about mentally and that will be forever lasting in my music. I am proud to be Chaldean and I would love to spread more positivity to the Chaldean community musically.”