A father, manager and musician, Tareq Khorshid seems to have a dream life, finds Alvin Thomas.
Tareq Khorshid from T-Band is quite the celebrity around town. I first stumbled upon his performance videos on YouTube while browsing through bands in Muscat and have been a fan ever since.
So, as you can imagine, I was quite looking forward to having a coffee with him. However, it turns out that Tareq has to go to Sohar for work, so I have to resort to a telephone interview.
Still, this was an opportunity to get to know the founding member of the most sought-after band in the Sultanate. T-Band are on stage at Route 66 and Ghala Golf Club every Thursday and Friday to cover blues, funk, rock and alternative rock songs from the 1970s and 1980s. You may have caught them at other venues around Muscat, too.
Tareq is a very well-spoken, polite man. Throughout our conversation, the musician was being driven in his car to Sohar. But despite disturbances in the mobile telephone signal, he managed to keep our chat going at a great pace.
Tareq grew up in Lebanon before moving to Oman.
“I am originally from Palestine,” he says, “but my life was shaped and moulded by my parents and friends in Lebanon.”
The 47 year old has led a complicated life, which he admits. He applied for a degree in architecture before switching to nursing and finally political science before completing the latter at the American University of Beirut in 1994.
“It was in Lebanon where I realised my passion for music,” says Tareq.
Initially, he played gigs in university as a part of the music club. He was paid US$20 (RO8) for his performances, which he used to pay his tuition fees.
He remembers playing four concerts during the summer every year, among various other gigs in his early days.
However, Tareq was introduced to music during the 1982 Lebanon War, when he found a guitar lying on the ground. He remembers starting to practice with it before mastering a handful of chords.
“Even with my limited amount of knowledge, I garnered attention with the guitar,” reminisces Tareq. This, he says, motivated him to learn the instrument.
He played gigs around Lebanon until the age of 28 before his mother forced him to apply for a “real” job.
This came with ART TV, where he took the position of warehouse manager in charge of television equipment.
However, he has switched jobs countless times due to shifting interests and jokes that his CV would be longer than two metres if compiled.
Tareq arrived in Oman in 1999, working as a manager at the first The Sultan Center in Qurum. However, in 2006 he flew to Birmingham in the UK to complete a master’s degree in supply chain management from the University of Birmingham.
He then returned to Oman and has been here ever since. He enjoys every moment of his life here with his wife Sarah and his two kids – Ziad and Aya. He is currently the general manager for Swan Foods, a subsidiary of Switz Group and Dawn Foods International BV.
Talking about his ventures with T-Band, he says that it was more of a hobby that grew. “We’ve had more than 1,000 gigs in Oman over a period of 16 years,” Tareq tells me.
“We have four gigs in the coming week alone,” he laughs.
Talking about support from his family, Tareq says: “My wife is very supportive and she understands my busy schedule.
Even my kids know that I have a ‘guitar job’.”
Tareq says the band has played more than 150 songs over the years and that it would be unfair to choose a favourite.
But from our conversation, it is quite clear that he has a soft spot for Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.
Talking about the song, Tareq says: “The whole solo, the lyrics and the message draw me into another world.
“No one else but David Gilmour [Pink Floyd’s guitarist] can capture the harmony and the feeling of the song.”
Tareq believes the reason for T-Band’s success is that they play to their own strengths.
In 2015, the T-band won the Battle of the Bands competition, which meant they were the local opening act for Welsh superstars Stereophonics when they played in Muscat.
Talking to budding musicians in the Sultanate, Tareq says: “To be successful, you have to be yourself. There’s no point trying to copy singers whose voices you cannot capture.”
He says that being unique is like trying to recreate the different colours of the rainbow. “It will be beautiful,” he says.
“I believe that if God has given you a special talent, you must utilise it.”
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