Lebanese DJ Jack Sleiman on working with Sean Kingston and Karl Wolf
After making his name as a DJ in Beirut's competitive club scene, Sleiman is ready to step out on his own as a solo artist
Before its release last week, Jack Sleiman’s latest track occupied him for the better part of two years.
The euphoric Remember, which is now making its rounds in Beirut’s club scene, is a collaborative effort featuring vocalists Sean Kingston and Karl Wolf.
This songwriting partnership however began outside the club and studio. It goes back to Sleiman's immersion in Beirut’s nightlife scene, back when he was an adolescent.
"I always had a soft spot for music; it was always my happy place, a getaway for me," he says.
Sleiman began his DJing career in Beirut over five years before pursuing a degree in Public Relations at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
“I knew what I wanted from day one, but back in those days it was much harder to get behind the ones and twos [the turntables],” Sleiman says. He says the struggle to get work providing him with a sense of grounding that kept his burgeoning career in good stead. “A lot of people might not know this, but I worked my way up from that kid on the street standing outside bars trying to pull guests in, to working in service and behind the bar,” he recalls.
Beginning his production career in 2014, Sleiman says his understanding of what moved audiences helped him in crafting his original material. He stresses that audiences are often moved by a sound they feel is authentic. For him, Remember is just that, as the lyrical subject matter is near and dear to him.
A new partnership
When it comes to working with Kingston, Sleiman first met the Beautiful Girls singer back in 2010 after the latter performed a show in Beirut. Inspired by the encounter in the club, they headed straight to the studio to work on the song that would become Remember.
It was a partnership. He understood the message and the vibe, what the song stood for.
“It was a partnership. He understood the message and the vibe, what the song stood for,” recalls Sleiman. Much to his amazement, Kingston was quick to come up with the lyrics and the vocal style required.
Meanwhile, fellow Lebanese pop singer Wolf – who scored a duo of regional club hit with 2007’s Carrera and 2009’s Yalla Habibi – is a long-time friend of Sleiman.
Sleiman describes his silky vocals on Remember as something that “only Karl could pull off”.
The result is a bright, punchy Reggaeton tune that Sleiman hopes will be a summer club favourite. He will certainly do his part in making that happen by releasing that song in his future DJing gigs.
Updated: June 20, 2019 05:39 PM