Born Fadi Masad, River Sultan tells stories that intertwine the human experience at the center where east meets west, using synthesizers, drum machines, guitars, bass, and piano. He chose to change his name to remind himself that he is in control and the ruler of his own destiny.
“The name ‘River’ always captivated me. It is my favorite western name. Very mystical, constantly flowing. I chose ‘Sultan’ to always remind myself of the power that I hold. A reminder that I can overcome any situation no matter how difficult. I don’t see myself regal or better than anyone else, but I am the sultan of my own inner kingdom that I’ve created.” And after all he has learned and been through he would love nothing more to make music to help people through difficult situations and to let them know that growth and even beauty can be pulled from even the darkest of places.
Sultan grew up in Jordan, San Diego, and Egypt. He released his first single “Purple Shelter” during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For every trauma he goes through and overcomes, a new song is born. “I was sexually assaulted at three years old. It made me very aware at a very early age,” says Sultan. “I developed a stutter, PTSD, disassociation, social anxiety, and other difficulties. Plenty to heal from, plenty of songs.”
He says he used to hold everything in to the point that he couldn’t cry for several years. “Now I cry all the time and my music keeps getting more honest.” Caring for his brother the past five years has also had a profound effect on Sultan. “There were many sleepless nights and upsetting events linked to his condition,” says Sultan. “So I put my l life on hold to take care of my family until my brother was more stable. He is now doing a lot better but it was the most difficult five years of my life. During that time, making music was the only thing that helped me cope.”
A single called “Falling Out Of Time” was released in October 2020. “I cried through every step of the process making this song. With every note and sound I added, I was in complete tears.”