New York, NY (Top40 Charts / Timz Official Website)
Headline-making Hip-Hop artist Timz (www.Timzonline.com) landed world-wide media interest with the single and video titled Iraq, from his first album, Open for Business. Shedding light on the destruction of his ancestral homeland, the American-born Iraqi rapper of Chaldean descent shared his insights with the international news media.
The controversial video for "Iraq" directed by Ron Najor, won the Hollywood Film Festival Award for Music Video of the Year, captured a collective million hits on YouTube.com, and catapulted the San Diego native Tommy Hanna, pka Timz, into news headlines across the world.
"The next thing I knew I found myself on FOX News, MTV, and Al Jazeera, speaking for not just Chaldeans or Iraqis, but for all Middle Eastern people." Timz goes on to explain that he hadn't anticipated the impact Iraq would make. "I was actually against making the music video at first because I thought nobody would watch it."
Timz has once again captured the world's attention with his latest eye-opening music video, Refugee. The newest effort reminds the world of the Iraq war's continuing and often unnoticed victims of the war - Iraqi refugees. Nearly five million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes since 2003 due to persecution and violence. Timz's Refugee captures the heart-wrenching stories of three individual refugees who were forced to flee Iraq and now attempting to rebuild their lives in America.
"I wrote Refugee to raise awareness of not only the horrific things these people experienced in Iraq, but to also highlight the tragic situations in which refugees are living today. We cannot change the past, but we can help to improve the lives of refugees in the future," explains Timz.
Although Iraq holds a special meaning to Timz, the 26 year old was born in the United States after his parents immigrated in the late 1970s. "My father came to this country to capture the American Dream. He opened his own liquor store and that's where I pretty much grew up. My first album, Open For Business, was a very real depiction of my life at that time. I was either at school or at work."
Best known for his socially conscious music, Timz does not like the label of being a "conscious rapper." "I write all types of music - dance songs, love songs, funny songs and of course - conscious songs. I think those just get a little more attention because of who I am and what my background is. People are interested in hearing my perspective on issues."
Timz jokes that his start in hip-hop is not one likely to gain him much street credibility. "I wrote my first song when I was eight years old after watching the Kris Kross video for "Jump." I loved that song! I remember seeing those kids and thinking, 'I want to do that.' And so I did - me and my cousin started a group called Jump Jumpy Jump," Timz laughs.
But Timz's journey in music does not come without speed bumps, admitting to regrets in musical choices over the years. "I feel like there are some songs that I made because I was trying to fit in. I'm older now and I'm comfortable with who I am. I'm not trying to be someone that I'm not."
Refugee is destined to be the first single from Timz's highly anticipated new album, Future History. The song and video has already gone viral, notching over 10,000 views in its first week of release. The sophomore effort also includes a lighter side, with Carpet Ride providing an up-tempo, Middle Eastern flavored club hit and You Always Tell Me offering a fun exchange between Timz and a girl with trust issues.
Timz is particularly proud of Die For Never, saying, "It's my favorite song that I've ever written. I wanted to communicate that we're only on this earth for a limited time, but we have the potential to leave a legacy that lasts forever. Lyrically, I said everything I wanted to say."
The quick and rather rare success of the independent artist does not come as a surprise from the usually humble musician. "Being born an American to Iraqi parents, who were Christian in a Muslim country, is the type of train wreck story that makes people want to stop, look and listen. I feel like I've been able to give them something worth stopping for."