From Salt Lake City, Utah, Heart Pharmacy is an acoustic one-man band comprised of singer / songwriter / guitarist, Ali. His first debut album is scheduled to be released in Summer 2008. When asked if music is an emotional outlet for him, Heart Pharmacy, describes his guitar as: “my idol, my soul candy and my best friend. When emotion builds up inside to a point where I might explode, I simply pick up my guitar and convert all emotions into a beautiful tune”.
Where did your name "Heart Pharmacy" come from?
The name Heart Pharmacy has two main roots. I chose the word “Pharmacy” mainly because my older sister is almost finished with her 5 years of school to become a clinical pharmacist at Western University in California. She is extremely smart, motivated, dedicated and takes care of not only herself but everyone around her at all times. She is the nicest, sweetest person you will ever meet. For these reasons I greatly look up to her and that is where the word Pharmacy comes from. The word “Heart” comes from me being weird and liking things that don’t make sense. I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as a “Heart Pharmacy”. The two words together have no significant meaning. I just thought they sounded good together and were easy to remember so there you have it.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Believe it or not I used to listen to nothing but 2Pac all day long back when I was about 11 years old. My sudden change in musical genre happened in about 8th grade (1997) when I was at my best friends house late one night. His older brother had just come back from California, bringing with him two new albums. The first album was entitled “Static Prevails” by Jimmy Eat World. The second album was entitled “Either/Or” by a man named Elliott Smith. After I took one listen from each of these artists I knew instantly that I had found my passion. These two albums also lit the path to other influences such as: Mineral, Face to Face, Blink-182, MXPX, Lagwagon and Modest Mouse. Most of who are still around today, however, at that time were not as well known.
When it comes to lyrics, where do you get the majority of your inspiration from?
I can’t say that my lyrics come from any majority of occurrences, for they are sparked by a broad range of everyday experience. My best lyrics have come at random times where I have not been prepared with pen and paper. Times where I am getting off of a plane or in mid sentence during a conversation. Or times where I’m in a daze or in a beautiful atmosphere while looking at a flower or the stars. I also like to listen to other peoples experiences and tell their story in a meaningful way. Or take someone’s human emotion and sing it to where people can easily relate. The rest of my lyrics come from personal experiences with relationships, dating, family and simply any kind of event.
You left Tehran in 1988 to escape a war. Do you think having come from a country faced with war and upset plays a role in your writing?
Not really. I have lived in the United States since I was 4 years old and so I don’t remember too much of the Iran/Iraq war. I like to write my music in a way to where it is more personal and hits closer to home for my fans. I write music in a way that the listener feels I wrote the song just for them. I’m not too big into politics or war so I don’t focus too much on the subject. However, the beginning lyrics of the song “Take My Lungs” is about me going back to Iran and seeing my family after 17 years.
Would you say you use music as an emotional outlet? Is it something that helps de-stress?
Absolutely. My project Heart Pharmacy is my medication to the stresses of everyday life. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t express my emotions through music. My guitar is my idol, my soul candy and my best friend. When emotion builds up inside to a point where I might explode, I simply pick up my guitar and convert all emotions into a beautiful tune.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
It’s hard to choose one specific piece of advice however, there are a few rather simple pieces of advice that I will always live by and they are: Always have the highest expectations. Always stay positive and consistent. You can do anything you want in life depending on how bad you want it. Be open minded and learn as much as you can from other peoples and their experience.
How important is it to you to develop and maintain a solid fan base?
This is extremely important to me. And it’s not for the fame or money. I simply want as many people to enjoy listening to my music as much as I love writing it. I want people to feel the same as I did when I bought my first record. Where I would sit in my room and listen to a whole album over and over again because I was truly in love with it.
What's the best part of being able to write and play your own music?
The best part is that I can use my emotions to create gorgeous sounding masterpieces that will live on forever, while giving the masses something they can relate to.
Knowing what MYM does, what's a good piece of advice you'd like to share with youth trying to cope with difficult times?
I would want to tell anyway who is going through a rough time to be strong and never give up. I know it sounds really cliché, but know that you are never alone. Know that there is always someone there to help you, if not physically, someone’s there in spirit. Know that there is always an ending to a hard time or stressful situation. There are going to be times in your life where you might not agree with the many branches of society. It could be people at school, work, family and friends. But always be the stronger and more educated one, for if you are, you will always win.
Do you have any words to live by?
You don’t have to be the smartest person in the world to be extremely successful. Go big or go home.