"Be prepared for something very musical and something very intense," is Khaled Dajani's advice to listeners who discover Luci, the new album in which he brings world music to a mainstream audience. It's a major undertaking, not only in uniting the diversity and rich musical history of their Palestinian, Brazilian, Colombian and Mexican backgrounds, but also in how deep Khaled dug within himself to make it happen.
"This is probably the most honest album I've ever written," he explained. "The writing process was, it's the first time I've ever written music this way. I really had to sit down and ask myself, what are you trying to say, and why are you trying to say it? How vulnerable are you willing to be? How much of you are you willing to let the world see? When I look at the song 'Falling' and I look at the song 'Luci,' those are two of the most honest songs I've ever written. I remember listening and not being able to believe this came out of me."
He also wanted to challenge himself musically. "I'm going to try to write a song I've never written before. Every song has to be unique and it has to take someone somewhere. It's all about the mood, it's all about the experience, it's about taking someone away as if they're reading a story," Khaled continued.
"And the other thing with this is I've been doing music for a really long time, and I've always been restricted financially and timewise. I really just wanted to go in and do it. No restrictions, just go for it. We just went for it."
Having just completed a tour in October, Khaled and his band are now discussing their next moves, but Khaled told us that their plans will likely involve fresh takes on Luci, like a possible acoustic version. "That's kind of one of the focuses we want to take," he explained, adding that "We have a bunch of shows lined up in New York. And then we're talking about how we're going to bring this band forward."