In conversation with Marwan AbdelHamid, a.k.a Saint Levant, a rising star in the global music industry, he opens up about his journey, passions, and the motto behind his painstakingly raw music that has touched thousands of individuals.
How is life now for Saint Levant?
“Alhamdulillah” and “amazing” are two words that Levant strongly possesses when he sees how far he has gone in his life.
He also expresses gratitude for the newer and more positive influences he has surrounded himself with. Even during the pandemic, gratitude and care for his health and wellness, alongside for his loved ones, have been a primary reason that has made the COVID-19 time bearable.
Levant, a California-based is rising artist in the global music industry has Palestinian, French, Algerian, and Serbian roots. This makes Levant a rising star who seamlessly incorporates his multicultural roots into his hip hop and rap lyrics.
Aside from this, he is known for a myriad of other titles and labels that society has given him. Why? Because this is how people recognize each other today – through sole terminology and symbols.
In this raw and unfiltered conversation with Saint Levant, we do not want people to know him through pointless terms and symbols, we want people to know him through his words and experiences.
Currently, Levant is sailing smoothly in his career trajectory, and although life seems to be bright for the young and ambitious artist, he has actually experienced many hardships since his birth to get to where he is today!
Born in Jerusalem to a French/Algerian mother and Palestinian/Serbian father, his family was forced to flee to Jordan from their home in the Gaza Strip due to the eruption of a civil war. With time, his mother helped him move to Santa Barbara, California — in the hopes for a better life for Levant.
What Qualities do you Value in Yourself and Others?
“Open-mindedness and being empathetic, and trying to understand other people’s situation, because that’s something that I grew up valuing a lot.”Saint Levant
From a young age, Levant is no stranger to seeing violence and experiencing constant fear. He shares that growing up in a cultural system where domestic violence, abuse, and internalized misogyny were often normalized, he promised himself that he did not want to become that version of “normal.”
He understood that although many were brought up with such norms, he aimed to break the cycle by having an open mind about what he could possibly do to change that “normal” – so he changed, both his way of thought and way of life.
Now, in the better plateaus of his life, he often shares gratitude for the positive changes he has in his life, as seen on Instagram, for where he compares his childhood from over 20 years ago to today..
Journey to Music
Before stepping into the music industry, Levant used to spend a majority of his time networking over LinkedIn for his startup at the time, called GrowHome.
“We were connecting Palestinians in the diaspora, entrepreneurs in Palestine for investment purposes… we were doing a lot of economic development work”Saint Levant
This young entrepreneur not only aimed to progress with his startup, but also bring together a cultural community and find success as a collective whole. At the time when Levant was establishing his start-up, he made comedic, cultural, and educational TikToks, and quickly built a massive following on the platform.
Levant tapped into the diaspora audience and it is how he initially connected with Hani Al-Dajane, founder of Yalla! Let’s Talk.
Levant has been positively impacted and continues to be, by Al-Dajane’s support, and positively shares:
“We connected bro, and ever since we connected, Yalla Let’s Talk’s team have been super supportive always, so I really thank them for that.”
Yalla to the Top
It was not until August 2021 that Levant began to take music seriously, whilst at the same time pursuing further education in International Relations at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
When producing music, he made sure to implement educational and informative lyrics revolving around freedom for the oppressed, such as for the Palestinians.
Levant aims to challenge discourse and negative stereotypes on the people in the Middle East. He aims to showcase his people in a positive light, and in one of his famous songs, 1001 Nights, he promotes pride in not only himself and how far he has come, but also acting as a voice for those often overlooked and oppressed.
His other songs are also aligned with his principles of spreading a positive impact to many, regardless of where they are from. Another example is through his song Mandela, where he pays respect to South Africa’s first revolutionary president, Nelson Mandela, who in his time displayed numerous acts of leadership and care for his people.
Levant’s music also translates his education in International Relations, his past experiences, and his growth as a person, such as Nirvana in Gaza. With listeners, the song shares the false narratives that are promoted by the media in order to bend the reality of tragedies that often happens in oppressed countries.
Another poetically named song, CAGED BIRDS SING, showcases how leaving behind oppressive environments still has a scarring carried over. Levant expresses gratitude, love for his family, and a vision for a brighter future in his career where he can represent his birthplace and reach out to more people around the world for inspiration.
Now, Levant boasts over 95,000 monthly listeners on Spotify due to his impactful and touching lyrics resonating with his followers.
What’s your Favourite Word?
“I’m very in touch with my own feelings and I meditate every single day,” shared Levant, adding, “I have so many thoughts about organized religion, but I want to grow a bit more in my career before I really get into that part of life.” He holds immense love for people all around the world regardless of who they are and what religious beliefs they hold, touching numerous borders as his music incorporates many messages and languages that a more broader audience can experience.
What is Levant’s Goal With His Music?
It is not uncommon to see people who come from harsh upbringings falter from goodness and not make something of themselves. Levant chooses to aim consistently at reaching not just the ears of a person, but also their heart. His music serves as a purpose to carry emotions, experience, and of course, straight out good beats. Levant makes sure to have “community and service” at the forefront of what he does, but of course, also aims to make it big in his own personal career.
“It’s like a purpose. I don’t believe that any act in life is selfless,” shares Levant whilst adding, “at the end of the day, we’re all served, but you have to choose what kind of what you’re trying to serve.”
What are Levant’s Plans for the Future?
Usually, success is defined by outcomes and measured by numbers and many other external factors. In the musical industry,
If the artist won a music award that can be considered a success;
If the artist’s music reached one million streams worldwide, that can also be considered a success.
However, in Levant’s eyes, gaining external gratification is not something within his control,“bettering the craft” is what he focuses on because he believes that this is something under his control, and it’s the thing he should put his focus on.
“A lot of the goals that I have are very internal, I’m in competition with myself. I don’t want to force anything and I’ll just focus on what I can control and put 100% of my effort into it.”Saint Levant
Follow Saint Levant’s Socials to listen to more of his awesome music and get to know more about him!