International singer/songwriter comes to CSUN to study music therapy

Joseph A. Tomaszewski

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Arsi Nami, 27, music therapy major, has a new single, "MIracle", which will be released on Feb. 27 by Royalty Recordings. / Photo courtesy of Arsi Nami

Music is 27-year-old Arsi Nami’s passion, and he wants to share that passion with the world.

Despite his growing  international success  as a singer and songwriter of world rhythms, eurodance and electronica music, Nami came to CSUN in 2009 to study music therapy.

Three years ago, Nami witnessed patients being treated with music therapy while visiting his brother in the hospital who was receiving treatment for cancer.  Nami was attending Santa Monica College’s music program, and when he found out more about music therapy, he decided to transfer to CSUN, which is the only state school that offers a music therapy program.

According to CSUN’s music department website,  “Music therapy is a field that uses music along with the personality of the therapist as a treatment for rehabilitating, maintaining, and improving the lives of persons with physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities.”

Nami was born in Shiraz, Iran.  When he was 4, his mom moved him and his two brothers to Sweden to escape the Iran-Iraq War that took place from 1980-88.

“I remember we went down to the basement, and I heard what sounded like fireworks. But the house started like shaking, and my mom tried to calm us down,” he said.
Although his dad decided to stay in Iran, his mom decided it was time to get her kids away from the war.

Nami feels fortunate for the cultural experience of having grown up in Sweden. Nami’s mother allowed him and his brothers to develop their own religious beliefs. “I decided to make music as my religion,” Nami said.

Nami became interested in music after listening to his brother play old Persian songs on the keyboard, and he continues to weave those cultural influences into his music today.

Nami realized music would be his life’s passion when he finished second in Sweden’s talent show “Aiming for the Stars” for singing Enrique Iglesias’ song “Hero.”

Since then, Nami has continued to build his success as a recording artist.  Nami’s  following increased significantly when his song “Never be Lonely” was used for the soundtrack of the online video game “Good Game Disco.”

Although some people know his music in Iran, his music is most well-known in Europe and South America, Nami said .

Nami is trying to build his following in the U.S.  His recent signing to Winogradsky/Sobel, a Studio City-based music publishing company, should help him accomplish that goal. Winogradsky/Sobel represents a growing list of artists by placing songs in TV shows, films and advertisements.

“It means a lot,” Nami said. “When something like this happens, my self-confidence grows. You want to hear from professionals that your stuff is good.”

Although Nami seeks success as an artist, his feet remain planted firmly on the ground. “It wasn’t about getting famous or anything,” Nami said about his passion for music.

Nami thinks differently about his music after studying music therapy.  Instead of just entertaining people, he wants his music to have a positive influence in people’s lives. He regularly performs at benefits for charitable and social causes. Besides performing in traditional venues, Nami would like to bring his music to other parts of the world.

“I want to tour in villages,” he said. “I want to tour in Africa or like Iran.” His current goal is to open his own music therapy clinic.

Nami is also in the process of finishing the music video for his new single “Miracle” which will be released on Feb. 27 by Royalty Recordings in online stores, such as Amazon and iTunes.