x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

At the top of Egyptian pop

The Egyptian pop star Tamer Hosny is happy mixing East and West. He talks to The National ahead of his headlining performance at Beats on the Beach in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.

The Egyptian pop star Tamer Hosny. Courtesy Tamer Hosny
The Egyptian pop star Tamer Hosny. Courtesy Tamer Hosny

As well as top western artists, the free Beats on the Beach Festival at Abu Dhabi's Corniche is a chance to see some of the Arab world's leading pop artists, one of whom is Egypt's Tamer Hosny. He tells us what he has in store for the concert.

Who is Tamer Hosny?

One of the region's top pop stars, Hosny is keen on taking his music beyond Arab borders. The multi-talented 35-year-old, born in Cairo, is a singer, songwriter, producer and director, as well as the face of Pepsi in the Arab world.

The music

Since his debut album Hob in 2004, Hosny has been consistently in the top echelons of the charts, with hits including Ennayah Bethebbak, Baish and Matwashesh. The albums are all firmly in the pop category, mixing the latest studio tricks from the West with Arab instrumentation. Hosny's voice can be both assertive and lilting, making fans of both the ladies and the fellas. While viewed as the leading artist of Egyptian pop music, Hosny doesn't see a distinction between the music of his countrymen and that of the other regional powerhouse, Lebanon. "Both are pop Arab music," he states. "They have the same spirit but have different accents and each one is distinguished in its country."

Branching out

Unlike his peers, Hosny has made strong steps towards branching out by collaborating with a host of western artists. Earlier this year, Hosny scored a regional hit with his Shaggy duet Smile and has also collaborated with the rapper Snoop Dogg on the new song Si El Sayed and its forthcoming video clip (Snoop won't be wearing a kandura, alas). "My main goal from these international collaborations is to deliver Egyptian pop music to all other cultures," he says. "It is to make music that is a mix between East and West."

Bringing the hits to Abu Dhabi

Hosny is looking forward to his debut Abu Dhabi performance. As well as all the hits, he is relishing the chance to play his new track, Habibi Ya Rasoul Allah, an ode to the Prophet Mohammed, to both Arab and western audiences. "It means My Cherished Messenger of Allah," he explains. "I am going to take advantage of the presence of non-Arabic audiences and will play this song in both Arabic and English."

• Tamer Hosny performs as part of Beats on the Beach tomorrow at Al Sahel Beach, Corniche, Abu Dhabi.

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