Members of The 5 on performing in the UAE for the first time, how their lives have changed, and what’s next
All eyes will be on The 5 during Beats on the Beach, as the smash-hit regional boyband perform in front of a UAE audience for the first time.
After four hit singles since graduating from X Factor Middle East last year, this is only the group’s second live appearance in the Middle East – so anticipation is understangly high.
Hot on the heels of latest single La Bezzaf, we sat down with bandmates Said Karmouz, a 23-year-old Algerian, and Ahmed Hassan, a 20-year-old Egyptian (the other members are Kazem Chamas, from Lebanon, Adil Echbiy, from Morocco, and Mohamed Bouhezza, from Algeria).
This is you first UAE concert – are you nervous?
Ahmed: We are excited more than nervous. Once you are out there and the fans are cheering for you and interacting with you, you forget about your nerves and before you know it you’re super pumped and you lose yourself to the music.
You keep returning to the UAE, for work and play. What keeps bringing you back?
Ahmed: We come here at least twice a year. Three out of four of our music videos were shot in Dubai. So, yeah, Dubai has been really great to us, offering us plenty of exciting opportunities.
Said: The UAE is one of our favourite countries. There’s loads to do in Dubai. We sometimes come here for holidays. We love going to the beach, meeting our friends and checking out new restaurants and lounges. I just love Dubai man. It’s so modern, fast and exotic. I feel at home when I am there.
Tell us about your new single, La Bezzaf?
Said: La Bezzaf is living proof that the region wants more of us. It combines four different dialects – Egyptian, Moroccan, Algerian and Lebanese – in one song. La Bezzaf is Algerian/North African and means “this is too much”, while the title gives you the impression that the song will be entirely North African – so listeners are in for a surprise when they hear Egyptian and Lebanese verses.
How has your life changed in the past two years? Could you have imagined any of it?
Ahmed: Life has changed quite a lot. It’s crazy, just two years ago I was a guy whose dream was to sing and I was always looking for chance to be discovered. Now I’m in a boy band, shooting music videos, going on tour and performing in front of thousands of people.
Said: Our lives have changed 180 degrees. We can’t just walk around like normal guys, because everyone knows us in our countries. If you told me two years ago that this was going to happen, I would have never believed you.
What are the best and worst things about overnight fame?
Ahmed: The best part is the love from the fans. It’s amazing having people who genuinely care about your music and are dedicated to the band as much as the band members themselves. The worst... it’s been really great, I cannot say there’s anything bad. We just have to constantly stay creative with our hairstyles, which is a lot of work – how does David Beckham do it?
Said: The best part is the love you get from fans, like Ahmed said. But the worst part is that all eyes are on you. You are in the public eye.
Are the comparisons to One Direction getting old yet?
Said: We understand the comparisons. Like One Direction, we are five guys who came out of the X-Factor. We look up to 1D but we feel like we’re totally different. We come from different parts of the Middle East and our music is more of a fusion of various dialects and music styles.
It is said there has been some debate in the band about English language tunes.
Ahmed: As an Arab boyband we sing predominately in Arabic but the style of our music has a Western feel to it. There will be times where you will find us experimenting with other languages – so stay tuned.
Is an album planned? How is your sound evolving?
Ahmed: There is an album in the making. It’s going be very special to our fans, who have been with us from the start. They will get to see the journey of our sound and how it has progressed over the past year or so.
Said: We are lucky to have worked with international world-class producers from Sweden, when we went there last March to make new music. We inspired each other and the result was magical.
Where do you see yourself in another two years?
Ahmed: We see ourselves touring the world and introducing the Middle East and the rest of the world to new genres and sounds. Our strength as a band lies in the fact that we come from different countries and there’s plenty of experimenting to do with our sound.
• The 5 will perform at Beats on the Beach, Lagoon Beach, Abu Dhabi Corniche on Friday, doors open 6.30pm, free entry. Visit www.yasalam.ae
Updated: November 16, 2016 04:00 AM