What started as a hobby for this Toronto-based Bangladeshi artist soon turned into an enviable career -- making visuals for some of the biggest names in music. Meet Fahmeed, A.K.A. ‘FahmeedX.'
Born in 1997 in Bangladesh before immigrating to Toronto with his family at the age of 1, Fahmeed had your typical Canadian childhood: playing basketball, making YouTube videos for fun, and developing a fascination with visuals and music. Little did he know then that these simple interests would eventually make him founder of his own Creative Direction company (FAHMEEDX), and the creator behind some of the industry’s most-watched visuals, such as SZA’s lyric video for “I Hate U,” amassing 9.5 million views on YouTube to date.
Before his success in this field, Fahmeed was excelling in the world of academics and business. He received his BA from York University’s Schulich School of Business, ranked the #1 business school in Canada by Forbes, The Economist, and CNN Expansion. After a couple of years of majoring in accounting and finance, he was able to shift to marketing – giving him plenty of time to work on his hobbies on the side.
“The course load wasn’t as heavy so I was able to get back to being creative on the side…then I was able to make a big connection,” Fahmeed told SceneNoise in a recent interview.
In true millennial form, Fahmeed took his networking online, DM’ing Toronto-native Max Cohen, a renowned cover art designer in the music industry. “I DM’d him saying his cover art was dope. He saw some of my work on my page and thought it was dope too. Then he kinda just took me under his wing.”
For all intents and purposes, Cohen became a sort of mentor to Fahmeed – bringing him onboard projects and opening the door for him in the world of music industry graphics. “He connected me to one of the labels he’s connected with, Alamo Records. Once he connected me to them I was able to take on more paid work. I went all in from there.”
Fahmeed saw an opportunity and took it, diligently producing quality work that earned him a reputation so respectable that he became the hand-picked visual artist for many other labels and creatives. “Eventually it started snowballing,” he says humbly, making his well-earned success sound like the standard day-to-day of any 24 year old’s life.
This, however, is not the case. Not many 24 year olds can say that they created the Spotify canvas animation for Grammy-award winning artists such as Drake and SZA, who reached out to him after seeing his lyric video for her hit track ‘Good Days’. Nor can many say they started their own business from scratch and make a living off of their creativity and entrepreneurship.
We asked the young artist what he’s looking to do next, considering his high track-record of success. “I dropped my first NFT recently, so I’ve been trying to create for myself. I’ve seen there’s a new renaissance of artists doing NFTs, and they’re able to create their own content and their own fanbases… I don’t want to rely on others as much.”
It’s no surprise that Fahmeed has a clear vision of the future. Artists around the world are looking for more autonomy and control in how their art is consumed. With arguments circling that mainstream platforms like Spotify and Instagram are exploiting artists’ content either for free or for pennies, NFTs are becoming an accessible (albeit initially confusing) way to take back ownership and profit of the creative process.
“I also want to collaborate with other artists,” Fahmeed continues. “There’s a bigger community now of brown artists on Instagram. I made a couple of group chats with other brown creatives. Hopefully I’ll get to collaborate with them soon.”
As an immigrant and minority, Fahmeed is looking to share his platform and success with creatives like him, who are underrepresented in mainstream media. He sees massive potential in the growth of brown artists and their impact on the industry – with social media being the catalyst. “It’s an exciting time…I’ve seen so many artists blow up on Twitter, especially brown artists. There’s a lot of love and acceptance in the community.”
In fact, according to Fahmeed, Twitter is the app to be on as an independent artist trying to make a name for themselves. “Twitter is the best space for artists right now. The algorithm is messed up on Instagram and there’s no sense of community there.”
We asked Fahmeed what other advice he has for artists trying to create and make it in the industry. “You shouldn’t go into it hoping to make an income right away. You have to do it for fun, out of a place of wanting to create. But also make sure that once you see yourself being overworked or held down…don’t allow yourself to be exploited.”
It’s impressive to see someone navigate their way through a cut-throat industry with such humility, confidence, and wisdom. Despite the heights Fahmeed has reached, his hunger for improvement and love for his craft is limitless. Knowing this, we asked Fahmeed which collaborations he’d love to do next. “Maybe The Weeknd, because he’s from the same area as me. I’ve done stuff for Drake but I didn’t get to personally talk to him…I’d like to collaborate with him more closely. Another big one is Donald Glover/Childish Gambino. I love everything he does.”
Keep an eye out for Fahmeed’s work on his Twitter and Instagram here.