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A Story of Fate and Fusion

It was the work of perfect strangers and some well-placed acquaintances that turned talent into a viable career in musical performance for Syrian-born Armenian tenor, Joseph Terterian. One of those ‘somebodies’ heard him singing in the back part of his mother’s salon when he was four years old, and suggested that his natural talent warranted closer attention and was worthy of developing.

In wanting to explore his own potential, he ventured further into the realm of possibilities and took up learning how to play the violin, which he did until he was 18. It was around that time that a friend gifted Joseph his first four-year studio session. That’s when he encountered the second ‘somebody’ – a studio engineer who fleetingly remarked that with vocal training, Joseph stood a real chance of having a career in music.

His teacher – the third ‘somebody’ – advised that formal training would be the next best step. And so, as a young adult, Joseph enrolled at the Higher Institute of Music and Performing Arts in Damascus.

A debut of many debuts

Soon after, he made his debut at the Syrian Opera House, performing the role of Ormonte in the Baroque Opera Zenobia, hosted in celebration of Damascus being named the Arab Cultural City of 2008. His musical repertoire grew steadily as he collaborated with other Syrian bands for performances spanning a wide range of genres, from rock and Latin music, to classical and folk performances.

Other notable accomplishments include Joseph singing the tenor part in Mozart’s world-renowned Requiem. He also performed the theme song of al Miftah, a Syrian TV drama as well as several other theme songs and advertisement jingles for brands across the region.

While his homeland was – and will always be – the birthplace of his authentic sound and stylistic inclinations, Joseph also had his sights set beyond Syria. In 2013, he crossed the seas to Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the international musical: 2050 The Future We Want.

Shortly afterwards, Joseph found himself once again on foreign shores – this time in the bustling Arabian entertainment world, where he captivated all four celebrity judges on primetime TV show, Arabs Got Talent. He then went on to release his first Arabic single, ‘Shoe Bitzakka.’

Destination: Dubai

Fast-forward in our journey with Joseph and today you’ll find him onstage at the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, performing his signature sound – a fusion of opera and modern pop music. Convention dictates that opera and pop exist on opposite sides of the musical spectrum. But to Joseph, their intersection makes perfect sense. And if you ever have the honour of hearing him perform, you’ll definitely understand why.

Some of his greatest creative muses have been Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and Luciano Pavarotti, which of course have produced work of operatic mastery in their own right. But Joseph could never quite shake off his natural leaning towards the toe-tapping rhythms, sing-a-long melody lines and synchronistic harmonies of pop. And so, in an exquisite experimentation with sound and pitch and bass, Joseph brings his trademark fusion style to the stage, performing to captivated audiences.

Joseph the muse

Joseph Terarian was the inspiration behind our Joseph Unisex Mesh Shirt. Its airy, flowy, loose-fitting design provides for a free range of movement. In mesh, it’s perfect for layering

or for wearing on its own. There’s something distinctly edgy about this shirt, designed for the daring, the audacious and the courageous. It’s the kind of piece that says “step out and be you, because no one else could ever do a better job at it.” His latest music video features several of our best-selling designs. Watch it here and be serenaded by his unique musical sound:

A word from the wise

When asked about his advice for aspiring performing artists, Joseph warns against the temptation to become lost in the flurry of validation that the digital age has ushered in. Don’t get caught up in how many likes or reactions you’re getting. Don’t let any external factor replace what you can give to yourself everyday just by being your authentic self. Resist the temptation to conform to conventions and standards.

While all artists want to be liked and loved, validation from other people will never fulfill you and shouldn't be the end goal. Instead, choose passion and the things you can do and create when you tap into passion. Let it be your driving force. Passion will build the bridge you need to reach your audience heart-to-heart and to build the connections that make your performances meaningful.

The world may paint performance act with a rather glamorous brush, but behind the lights and the smoke and the special effects, is hard work – hard work that happens behind the scenes, hard work that is necessary to mould who you will become as a person and an artist, hard work that will fuel your drive to create musical art that can move people.

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