That’s the advice Shamma Hamdan offers to Arab talent show contestants.
Speaking from the recent du World Music Festival, the Arabs’ Got Talent finalist explained how she hit the ground running at the programme’s conclusion.
“I think I took about two weeks off before I began working on my career,” she said.
“I didn’t join any company or label and I started working by myself. I thought it would be a waste to not to take advantage of the profile that I got because of the show. I realised that if I didn’t start working on my music someone else will come along and take over my spot.”
Shamma returned to the studio and released the new singles Ytama and Yaheb Gheiri, both singles merging her husky vocals with Khaleeji pop arrangements.
She has also been clocking up a string of live gigs, including a well-received performance in Dubai Mall.
The public adoration has been surreal, she explained, but she was adamant that fame did not change her.
“I still have the same friends so in that regards fame didn’t change me,” she said.
“The difference, of course, is that I get more attention when I am in public and it is such a wonderful feeling to go to the mall and people say hello to me or they want to take a photograph together. It makes me feel proud and that I have achieved something and people are happy with what I am doing.”
Shamma described her recent du World Music performance as the moment where she arrived as a popular artist.
“This was the performance I have been working towards all my life,” she said.
“To play here in Dubai among such an audience is fantastic. The crowd enjoyed it and every time I said something they would clap more. Despite the rainy weather the crowd was up for it and they had a lot of energy.”
As well as the solo tracks, her festival performance mixed her Khaleeji pop style with an excursion into Egyptian pop territory of Ashoufak Yawm.
“I am a fan of Egyptian music and I am glad that went down well with the crowd,” she said. “I like exploring different styles as an artist. It is enjoyable.”
However, it was nowhere near as thrilling as sharing the same stage with two of her musical idols, the Emirati pop king, Hussein Al Jassimi, and the Egyptian superstar, Amr Diab.
“It was an honour to play on the same bill,” she said.
“Hussein Al Jassimi is my favourite artist ever since I was really young and I never expected to be performing alongside him in a concert. As for Amr Diab, I have also been a fan for a long time. I remember dancing as child to Habibi Nour Al Ain. He is a great performer.”