Kareem Salama, literally translated Generous Peace, was named by his mother. He was born and raised in a small town at the edge of Green Country in Oklahoma. When talking about his birthplace Kareem says:
Oklahoma, like me, is a place where cultures meet and dance. Oklahoma is a hybrid of Southern, Western and Native American culture and thanks to my mother’s insatiable desire to learn and experience all of it she made sure that I was immersed in all of it.
As a child, I went to Indian tribal powwows, heard country music artists at the county fair and watched my favorite cowboys at the rodeo every year. My mother would take us to nearby western Arkansas just to watch an outdoor play in an amphitheater. My parents would take us to Branson, Missouri in the summertime where we’d watch live shows, listen to bluegrass music and make wax candles like it was done in the old times. They even took us to Opryland and the famous Grand Old Opry in Tennessee.
Kareem grew up to be the Renaissance man his mother and father wanted him to be. He holds a degree in chemical engineering and a graduate degree in law. He has memorized classical western poetry and classical Arabic poetry. He enjoys boxing and riding horses. But perhaps most interestingly this son of Egyptian immigrants is a singer/songwriter with a country and pop flare. When asked about his interest in things that seem opposite Kareem says,
In the traditional world, philosophers knew that to understand one thing you needed to understand everything; in other words things are connected. At times things only seem incompatible because our information is incomplete or our perception is flawed. For example one might think that boxing has no relation to horse back riding. But just as a horse’s power must be tamed a fighter must learn to tame his ego and his anger.
Kareem never planned on making a music album but in the Salama household the rule was “if the opportunity is available and your heart inclines towards something then don’t be afraid to give it a try.” It was that philosophy that led Kareem to take a song writing hobby that he originally began as a way to memorize classical western poems like John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” and self release a full length album.
With his parent’s encouragement and financial assistance Kareem began recording his first album while in law school with producer, Aristotle Mihalopoulos. Kareem and Aristotle found that they had much in common including parents with Mediterranean roots, a love for beauty, philosophical conversations, music and boxing. Kareem and Aristotle would not only work closely on music but they also developed a great friendship. When asked about his friendship with Aristotle Kareem says,
Initially, Aristotle and I met for the sole purpose of making music but his friendship has become more valuable to me than any material success I may find in the music world. The bond I made with Aristotle and his family confirmed that good comes from listening to the good inspiration in my heart; even it is not the good you may have set out to reach.
In part as a result of “good fortune, supportive friends and family, and following an unexpected and unplanned path,” Kareem has had the privilege of performing in front of audiences as far as way as Rome, Italy and London, England. Kareem has been featured in major press outlets like the New York Times and Readers Digest. Kareem was recently invited to dinner at the White House where he met President Obama who said to Salama “You can sing!”
After the success of the first two self-released albums, Kareem is now working on his first mainstream worldwide release tentatively due out in the spring of 2010 (to be released by newly formed Light Rain Records). Kareem continues to work with his good friend and producer Aristotle as well producers Rich Whiting and Dan Workman (whose credits include artists such as Beyonce and Clay Walker).