Moroccan crooner Ahmed Chawki’s new single an ode to female empowerment
Ahmed Chawki wants to get real. After a string of Arab-pop songs emphasising his romantic streak, the 32-year-old Moroccan is back with a new single, Kayna Wla Makaynach.
Produced by the renowned beatmaker and compatriot RedOne, the new song – the title of which translates as Right Or Wrong – is an ode to female empowerment and targets guys who view women simply as objects: “Are you that far gone?/ You want a good girl? While you’re a player that needs surveillance.”
Chawki acknowledges that the song is far cry from the breezy romance of his breakout hit Habibi I Love You.
“It is frankly about time,” he says. “I felt like it was time to really talk about love from a different perspective. It’s not just about feelings and what we dream it to be, but a focus on everyday realities and how we deal with each other.
“I wanted to expand on how I talked about women – they are also our mothers, our sisters and our colleagues. They demand our total respect.”
The message is being embraced in the region. Since uploading the song on YouTube on March 27, it has garnered more than a million views and is fast becoming a radio staple in Morocco and Lebanon.
A lot of the credit for the song’s appeal goes to the man in the studio. RedOne, whose real name is Nadir Khayat, is one of the world’s most in-demand producers, who has worked with superstars including Lady Gaga, Usher and Jennifer Lopez.
He brought his melodic nous to Kayna Wla Makaynach, giving it a warm production that includes flamenco guitars, synths and muffled dance beats for good measure.
Chawki says his collaboration with RedOne stemmed from a long-term friendship.
“We are talking about even before the days of him working with Lopez and Gaga,” he says.
“We have a great working relationship and I have learnt so much from working with him.”
Their chemistry has brought results. In addition to Habibi I Love You, they worked together last year to release the European hit Time Of Our Lives and a remake of the Dr Alban classic pop hit, It’s My Life.
With Kayna Wla Makaynach being so well received, it raises the question of whether Chawki might collect the songs on a debut album.
“That is part of the plan eventually,” he says. “But the problem with albums is that they generally don’t get the attention they deserve. By focusing on the singles, at least people can be aware of them fully and listen to them more easier. Perhaps in the future we can focus on putting out an album.”
Also on the horizon is a possible gig in Dubai.
“We are still in discussion to come down over there but that is something I really, very much want to do,” he says.
“I was there in 2013 for a promotional tour and hung out with RedOne. I would love to go back for a full show.”
• You can listen to Kayna Wla Makaynach on Ahmed Chawki’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/AhmedChawki2101
Updated: April 7, 2015 04:00 AM