Lebanese-Canadian Massari and Iraqi-Canadian Ali Gatie teamed up for a new song and video, “I See The Dream (Badna Salam),” promoting a global message of peace. The pair debuted the pop release with a pre-recorded acoustic version, as part of the The United Nations World Food Programme’s pre-show for the People’s Prize Celebration during which the humanitarian organization’s officially received their Nobel Peace Prize.
“It’s an honor for me to perform during one of the most valuable award ceremonies in the world,” says Massari, calling it “one of my life’s greatest achievements. It really made me feel like I was finally making a difference and that difference is being acknowledged.”
The two musicians are also new ambassadors for the World Food Program USA’s #ZeroHungerChampions campaign and will be donating a portion of the proceeds from I See The Dream merchandise.
“Sometimes we take for granted how accessible food is to us,” says Massari of the necessity for such aid in America. “We get hungry, we just walk into the kitchen and grab a bite to eat. If it’s not in the kitchen, we can easily go to any grocery store and get what we need. These days it’s even easier — we can just sit at home and order our food with a click of a button, [but] some people go days without food or water. They struggle for the bare necessities that we take for granted on a daily basis.
“I’m so proud of the World Food Program,” he adds. “They have dedicated their lives to helping others who are less fortunate than us and that means everything to me.”
Massari and Gatie both know struggle and sacrifice personally from their childhoods in war-torn countries, before their families immigrated to Canada. They met via their shared manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, a Lebanese-Canadian, who was just named manager of the year by Variety for his work with The Weeknd, French Montana, Doja Cat, Brandy and more. He’s also an impassioned philanthropist, recently raising $1.2 million for #GlobalAidFor Lebanon, in collaboration with the WFP USA and Global Citizen.
Massari approached Gatie about lending his voice to the song because “we connected on another level since both of our families had to flee from our countries because of the war. Me and Ali wanted much more out of life than just the fame and fortune. I mean, that’s why I felt like he’d be the perfect fit for the song. He believes in the message of peace and unity that we want to spread into the world.”
The English and Arabic language lyrics, while having an uplifting simple hooky chorus, gets into some deep shit in the verses. Gatie poignantly sings “for the kids who grew up in war/this is a song for anybody with a dream…mothers who had to bury their own child…this is a song for my people of color.. I stand with Yemen and Palestine, for my people in Iraq and Lebanon/Just know that your voices are heard…We want peace/We ain’t giving up.” The video, directed by Jay Sansone in Los Angeles, juxtaposes army tanks with smiling children joyfully painting (including each other) and talented youth spray painting large boards — including the “I See The Dream” artwork of Banksy-esque child soldiers with blood-red faces and flowers in their mouths.
“Growing up in the Civil War in Lebanon definitely inspired the lyrics,” says Massari. “I remember having to flee from place to place, never finishing a full year of school, never having a normal childhood. Those things stayed with me. Seeing the fear in my parents eyes every time the bombs went off. No electrify no heat in the winter. And, honestly, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemies.
“When we moved to Canada, we barely had any money, but thankfully the government took care of us until my dad found a job. When I started my music career, it was my way of giving back to my family; they had done so much for me. I knew I had to make it especially for them.”
In a press statement, Gatie makes a similar connection: “Massari and I both come from families of immigrants, families who experienced the pain of war, discrimination and injustice. All we want is peace, unity and love for everyone. Now that we have a platform, we decided it was time we spoke up for those whose cries aren’t heard.”
Massari says their partnership with the United Nations and World Food Programme allows the two “to have access to their platforms so we can help people in need. It’s been a very hard year for everyone in the world and we want to let everybody know that we’re here to speak up on behalf of those whose voices are not heard. I hope that people will find it in their heart to do the same.
“We tend to forget that an act of kindness could sometimes change a person’s life,” he adds.
“Hunger is both a cause and an effect of conflict. Without peace and stability, we will struggle to achieve our goal of Zero Hunger,” Saul Betmead de Chasteigner, CMO of the UN World Food Programme, said in a statement. “This is a reminder of the remarkable power of music to connect people wherever they are, a universal language, more important than ever in these challenging times.”