Composer - Producer
Farzam Salami was born near Tehran, Iran. By the age of four he was playing piano and Tombak (a traditional hand drum), and paying attention to the diverse music of the cultures around him.
Farzam began studying classical piano when he was nine, and went on to study Iranian music theory with famed tar master Houshang Zarif. Farzam's interest in music from other cultures drove him to study the complex rhythms of India and Turkey--including ancient music--and he began incorporating these sounds into his own compositions. As his attention turned toward America, Farzam became an avid student of jazz, blues, gospel, country and even hip hop. Overall, he counts Keith Jarrett, Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussein, Beethoven, Mahler and Chopin as some of his greatest influences.
During the course of so much study, Farzam became a renown multi-instrumentalist, learning to play 35 instruments in all. Meanwhile, he stayed true to his roots in classical piano and Middle Eastern music.
In 2011, Farzam became a key composer and performer for the band Mastan, famous for their traditional Middle Eastern music. A few months later he broke away to form his own band, Ray, fusing the music of the Middle East with classical and all the other genres he had studied, creating a sound Iran had never heard, but suddenly loved.
“Music is the purest form of art, and through my music I communicate peace and humility. When someone likes gospel music, and hears that flair mixed in with Indian and Middle Eastern, perhaps it will bring all these cultures closer together. It's a mix of different cultures that meet in a calm, musical place. It is my truth told through music.”
(In fact, his talent for bridging cultures got Farzam arrested in Iran and permanently banned from his home country. His song, Utopia of Peace, composed as a gift, made it to the White House and caused outrage in the Iranian government.)
By the time he was 25 years old, Farzam had already topped the instrumental charts, had a film score nomination under his belt, toured internationally, worked in live theatre, and become an esteemed music teacher.
“All my maestros told me I had accomplished all I could in my country, there was no higher I could go. I would have to leave Iran if I wanted more.”
With that, Farzam packed up his instruments and moved to America. He applied to 20 of the top music schools and was accepted at 18 of them, including Berklee College of Music, Bard (where he was offered a scholarship) and the New England Conservatory of Music. In the end, he decided to forego more schooling, move to Los Angeles and get straight to work. So far his credits include work with HBO, InStyle Music, appearances on various albums, and he is currently scoring a mini series based on the life of Harriet Tubman. Farzam's pet project is a film collaboration with his father, writer Mostafa Salami. Their production is based on immigrant life in America