Amr Diab

Amr Diab
Amr Abdel Basset Abdel Azeez Diab (Arabic: عمرو عبد الباسط عبد العزيز دياب‎; born October 11, 1961) is an Egyptian singer and composer of jeel music; the contemporary face of Egyptian al-jeel pop music, according to World Music. Diab is the best-selling Arab recording artist of all time, according to Let’s Go Egypt. He was awarded the World Music Award for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist three times: 1998, 2002 and 2007.

Amr Diab is known as the Father of Mediterranean Music. He has created his own style which is often termed «Mediterranean Music» or «Mediterranean Sound», a blend of Western and Arabic rhythms.

In The Mediterranean in Music, David Cooper and Kevin Dawe referred to his music as «the new breed of Mediterranean music».

According to author Michael Frishkopf, Amr Diab has produced a new concept of Mediterranean music, especially in his international hit, «Nour El Ain».

In his analysis of The Very Best of Amr Diab album, Victor W. Valdivia of Allmusic said: «His music melded traditional Arabic sounds and textures with Western rhythms and instruments. The mesh was dubbed Mediterranean music, and The Very Best of Amr Diab displays Diab’s superb skill in creating it.»

According to the BBC, Diab «has ruled the Arab music world, especially Egypt and the Middle East, since the mid ’80s, continually breaking sales records».

Early life

Amr Diab was born in Port Said, Egypt to a highly educated middle class family. His mother, was a French teacher in the Lycee Francais school of Port Said. Abdel Basset Diab, Amr’s Father, graduated from the faculty of commerce at the University of Alexandria in 1958. He joined the Suez Canal Corporation as an accountant and was promoted to top financial controller (from 1985 until 1989) for the maritime sector in the corporation. He encouraged young Diab to sing for the first time on Al-gala national day (evacuation of British forces from the Suez Canal area & Egypt) on June 18, 1968. Diab was only six years old, and that was Amr’s first singing appearance to public. His first performance the National Anthem: Belady, Belady, was broadcast to the Egyptian radio audience from the local broadcasting station. That day Amr was awarded by his Excellency Hassan Rushdie the Governor of Port Said, who also awarded him a guitar as a present after that concert.
[edit] Musical career

In 1983, Diab released his first studio album, Ya Tareeq. Diab released three more albums between 1984 and 1987. 1988’s «Mayaal» garnered huge success all around the Middle East. It was produced, arranged and remixed by German musicians, Frank Von Dem Bottlenberg and Jörg Evers, with various releases. More success followed in the following years including the albums Shawakkna, Matkhafesh, and We Yloumouni.

Amr Diab quickly developed fame for his new style of «Pan-Mediterranean» Arabic music, fusing touches of flamenco and raï with western pop with traditional Arabic rhythms. By 1992, he became the first Arabic artist to start making high-tech music videos.»[2]

«Habibi» from Diab’s 1996 album, Nour El Ein became a hit worldwide, and was remixed by many of the world’s top DJs at the time. A special CD named Habibe: The Remix Album was released later with all of these remixes. Since then, Diab has remained at the top of the Arabic music scene, expanding reach to all parts of the Mediterranean with his 1999 release, Amarain, that featured duets with Algeria’s king of rai Khaled in a song called «Qalbi» and Greece’s Angela Dimitriou in «Ana Bahibak Aktar» and «Eleos». «Tamally Maak» from Diab’s 2000 album became a huge success. Leily Nahari, Diab’s first album with Rotana Records, was released in 2004. The album became Rotana’s highest selling album of all time and topped charts throughout the Arab World.[6] Diab’s album El Leila De was released in the summer of 2007 and topped the Arabic music charts for 22 weeks. Diab received a World Music Award for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist for the album. In 2008, Diab renewed his contract with Rotana for five more years. In 2009, Diab released a new album Wayah. Diab was the best Artist Selling in the Middle East. he sold 22 million copies worldwide.
[edit] Influences and contributions

Diab revolutionized Egyptian show business in several respects, and some of his biographers have referred to him as rebellious, because he challenged everything in Middle Eastern show business, starting from the hairstyle and appearance and ending with the music style, presentation, and financial scale of his projects.

Diab’s blending of Western rhythms with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern music styles created a new music style, referred to as Mediterranean music. His song “Tamalli Ma’ak”/“Always With You,” wherein he introduced Spanish guitar, is a good example of the genre.

He became the first Arab singer to make a video to accompany his songs. Diab’s project Nur al-Ayn was the most expensive project in the music industry of the Middle East. The video for this song was the most lavish and expensive project in the Arab music production field and it set a new standard of video-making for his contemporaries.
[edit] The world’s perspective

Diab is one of the most popular and acclaimed Arab pop singers of the modern age. In 1997 he won three awards at the Annual Arabic Festival: one for Best Video, for Best Song, and for Best Artist of the Year. The following year Diab received a Triple Platinum Award for the sales of Nour El Ain and also received a World Music Award in Monaco.
[edit] Albums
[edit] Nour El Ain

In 1996, Nour El Ain (Light of The Eye – Sight) was released, becoming a tremendous success not only in the Middle East but throughout the entire world. The song was composed by Nasser el-Mizdawi, lyrics were written by Ahmed Sheta and it was arranged by Hameed Elshaery. The title track, and its English version «Habibi», was an international phenomenon, becoming a massive crossover hit in countries such as Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka (performed by Sangeeth Wickremasinghe) and Malaysia (Malay version sung by Datuk Sharifah Aini).The song reached even to the South India were the song was copied and remade with Malayalam lyrics, in the film Chandralekha staring the South Indian Superstar Mohanlal. In a style reminiscent of the Aldo (musician) Franco-Arabic style, the song was remixed by several top European arrangers and has become a big pull on the dance floors of Europe. The video clip, also produced by Alam El Phan for the song «Nour El Ain», was one of the most lavish and expensive productions in the field of Egyptian song, and set a new standard for his contemporaries to aspire to. this album sold 3 million copies. In 1997, Amr Diab won three Awards at the Annual Arabic Festival (for Best Video, Best Song and Artist of the Year). In the following year, he received a Triple Platinum Award for the sales of Nour El Ain, and received a World Music Award in Monaco on 6 May 1998, under the patronage of H.S.H. Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and attended by Gloria Estefan, Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, The Backstreet Boys, Steven Segal and others. This award was the first of its kind for an Egyptian artist, emphasizing that his appeal is not just confined to the Middle East unlike the majority of his contemporaries.
[edit] Awedooni

His follow-up studio album entitled Awedooni(they made me used to…) was released in July 1998, and as with Nour El Ain (the light of the eye) it was produced with Hamid El Shaery and recorded in Cairo, Egypt. The first video from the album, the title track «Awedooni»(they made me used to…), was shot by the river Nile in Egypt and directed by Tareq Al Aryan. Like its predecessor, this album was a huge success for Amr and reinforced his popularity in the Arab world and abroad.
[edit] Amarain

Diab released his July 1999 new studio album Amarain, (two moons) which is hailed as the best work of his career to date.[citation needed] Amr is working on eagerly anticipated duets with the France-based international Rai superstar, Khaled of «Didi» fame, and with the Greek singer, Angela Dimitrou, whose crossover smash «Marguerites» was a huge hit across the Middle East in 1998. The title track «Amarain» was the first video to be broadcast.
[edit] Tamally Ma’ak

In 2000, Diab revolutionized Arab music when he issued Tamally Ma’ak (I’m Always With You). The song was composed by Sherif Tag, a modern Egyptian Composer. He introduced the Spanish guitar in his song «Tammaly Ma’ak» and in other songs. The clip of this song was made in the Czech Republic with much success. The album contained songs like «El Allem Alla» (Only God Knows), «Ba’terf» (I Confess), «Sa’ban Alaea»(It Makes Me Feel Sorry) and «We Heya Amla Eih» (And How Is She?). The song «Tamally Ma’ak» was even copied in the hit Bollywood song «Kaho Na Kaho» from the film Murder.
[edit] Aktar Wahed

Aktar Wahed was released on August 1, 2001. The album’s name is short for one of the songs, «Aktar Wahed Beyhebbak» (One loves you the most). It contains 10 tracks and received the World Music Award for the best selling album in the Middle East for 2001.
[edit] Allem Albi

In February 2003, Diab released Allem Alby (Teach My Heart). The album’s release date was arranged to be with the debut broadcast of Alam El Phan’s (Allem Alby’s production company, owned by Mohsen Gaber) music channel «Mazzika».

The album was a great success, with the release of the video «Ana Ayesh» (I’m Alive) which was directed by Stuart Gosling. The video was intensely broadcast on Mazzika . The album contains other songs, like the R&B-influenced hit, «Allem Albi». Others that tend to be more oriental like «Kolohom» (All of Them), «Law Ash’any»(If You Adore Me) and «Alli El Wadaa’» (Goodbye To Me).
[edit] Leily Nahary

In late summer 2004, Diab’s first album with Rotana was released, titled Leily Nahary (My Nights, My Days). The album’s cover was from the promotional photo shoot of Pepsi. The video «Leily Nahari» directed by Cameron Casey provided aid to give Diab his space in the record-exclusive music channels. It was criticized because of its similarity to his previously unreleased video for «El Alem Allah» from the album Tamally Ma’ak.this album sold over 1,5 million copies.
[edit] Kammel Kalamak

Diab’s album Kammel Kalamak, released on December 14, 2005, was the follow up to Leily Nahary. The album cost a reported $4 million to record, and was Rotana’s biggest album of 2005. The love ballad «We Malo» was released as the single of the album, Kammel Kalamak. The music video was shot in London and was released on a late notice after the release of the album. Rumors surfaced in late 2005 and early 2006 stated that Amr is considering terminating his contract with Rotana due to the poor promotion of his latest album, Kammel Kalamak.
[edit] El Leila De (Tonight)

The album was originally set to be released after Ramadan 2006. However, it was pushed back several times due to Diab’s repeated changes in the musical producers he was dealing with. Diab attributes the changes to the producer’s lack of new and strong styles. In early 2006, Music Arranger Fahd was supposed to work on this album; however, later that year Tarek Madkour joined Amr Diab, and they started together to work on it. On March 25, 2007, Madkour’s official website announced that Amr Diab and Madkour had decided jointly to skip the collaboration on the album due to the lack of time and conflicting working schedules. Fahd and a new producer called Hasan Al Shafei are elected to produce the music in the album, which is supposed to hit the markets in July 2007. The title of the album was changed from Khaleek Ma’aya to El Leila De. After the release Amr, shot a new Pepsi advertisement in Europe. On June 21, 2007, two of the biggest sites (AmrDiabWorld.com & AmrDiab.info) for Amr Diab announced that the album, now entitled El Lilady, would hit the market on July 7, 2007. The album would contain 10 tracks; AL Shafei and Fahd shared the production Al Shaei 7 songs & Fahd 3 Songs. Before releasing his album, Diab traveled to Portugal to shoot the new Pepsi ad choosing «Inta El Ghaly» song from his upcoming album El Leila De as the ad music. Amr then traveled to the USA to film the music video for his upcoming album.

The album master copy was given to Rotana, Amr Diab’s CD production company, on the last week of June to meet the July 7, 2007 release date he had planned earlier. Rotana, however, has delayed the release of the new CD for a couple of days for unknown reasons. The album has also been leaked. The album was officially released on July 11, 2007. The album has already become a huge hit in Egypt and all over the Middle East. The album sold over 1,000,000 copies in only 5 days of release. The video clip has been slated for a July 27 release. The song that Diab chose to film was «N’eoul Eih», which is in the new style of House Music mixed with oriental Arabic music. The video clip was filmed in Santa Monica and Malibu, and also near Hollywood.

On July 27, Rotana News announced that El Leila De had sold over 5 million copies in less than two weeks in the Middle East, which gives the album a good chance to surpass Kammel Kalamak’s 3 million copies only. On October 30, 2007, the management of the World Music Awards announced that Amr Diab was to receive an award for best selling artist in the Middle East for this album. Amr Diab received the award in the festival that was held in Monaco, Monte-Carlo, on the November 4, 2007.
[edit] Wayah (2009)

Wayah was released for sale on the internet on June 27; however, the album was leaked online and was downloaded illegally amid complaints of slow download speed on the official site. Diab’s fans initiated a massive boycott of the sites with the illegal copies[7] and by July 3, 2009 Wayah had sold more than 1.5 million copies in the first week.[8] Months after the release of the album, Rotana, the official producing company, announced that the album has become the highest selling album in the companies history, passing Diab’s previous hit, Leily Nahari. Later on Amr Diab’s administration announced that the album has become the highest selling album in Diab’s career, thus becoming the biggest hit in the history of Middle Eastern music. This album sold over 4,5 million copies.[citation needed]

On October 18, 2009 Amr Diab won four 2009 African Music Awards in the following categories: best artist, best album, best vocalist and best song for «Wayah»and Amr Diab has been nominated by the Big Apple Music Awards[9]
[edit] Music videos

Diab is one of the first singers to popularize music videos in the Arabs World and the first Egyptian singer to appear in music videos.[2] With the exception of his very early albums, all of his albums have had at least one song shot as music videos. Diab has collaborated with a variety of music video directors in the Middle East, including Tarek El-Erian and Sherif Sabri.

The most anticipated video clip of 2007, «N’eoul Eih», was released on August 14, 2007. Released on Rotana TV for the first time, the video was a great success. It was released minutes later on an Egyptian program named «El Beit Betak», on EGYPT TV.

August 6, 2009 saw the release of Amr Diab’s latest video clip for his smashing hit Wayah. Working alongside Cameron Casey [Leily Nahari] for a second time, Amr Diab presented a fresh video clip that stunned all his fans worldwide. The video clip was filmed mostly on Green Screen and in Amr Diab’s personal villa in Cairo, Egypt. The biggest surprise was the appearance of Amr Diab’s children alongside his niece, whom represented the younger generation of children who are still inspired by the music of Amr Diab.

Diab also filmed «Ba2dem Alby» which is set to be released on Valentine’s Day.
[edit] El Helm/The Dream

The Dream or El Helm is a TV production produced by Amr Afefy that gives viewers the story of Amr Diab’s life. The show consists of 12 episodes and began airing on December 24, 2008. El Helm is narrated by actor Ezzat Abou El Ouf and includes interviews with Diab and people he worked with throughout the span of his career. The show, which aired on Rotana TV, saw great success and was preceded by one of the biggest advertising campaigns in the history of Middle Eastern music.
[edit] Film career

Diab’s fame in the music industry has led him to experiment with other forms of media, such as film. Amr played himself in his first film, El Afareet, which was released in 1989. The film also starred Madiha Kamel. His second film Ice Cream in Gleam (Ays Krim fi Glym), the 1992 movie in which Diab starred, was chosen as one of the best five Egyptian musical films by the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. The film was also featured in the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s new program «Music on the Nile: Fifty Years of Egyptian Musical Films» at James Bridges Theater, UCLA, April 6, 8 and 10. David Chute of the Los Angeles Weekly termed the film «observant» and «a big leap».[10] His third movie was released in 1993, and was named Deahk We La’ab (Laughter and Fun). The film premiered in the Egyptian Film Festival in 1993. Amr played alongside international Egyptian movie star Omar Sharif (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago) and Yosra in the movie. Overall, Diab did not experience the same level of success in film that he had with his music career. Since 1993, Diab has focused on his singing career.
[edit] Endorsements

Amr Diab has taken part in an internationally known Pepsi commercial featuring four other pop musicians: Beyoncé Knowles, Pink, Jennifer Lopez, and Britney Spears. In the US version, Enrique Iglesias takes the role of Caesar. But in the pan Arab version, the four American singers were retained but the male figure was replaced with Diab. This was not the first Pepsi commercial Diab has done; he also filmed commercials featuring his songs «Ana Aktar wahed» (I’m the most), «Allem Alby» (teach my heart) and «Khad Alby Ma’aa» (She took my heart with her). Diab also appeared in a commercial alongside Jennifer Lopez, singing The Troggs hit «Wild Thing». In 2009 Pepsi decided not to renew his contract and replaced him with Tamer Hosny.
[edit] Local record labels

Diab’s earliest albums were released by Delta Sound. In 1996 Diab moved to Alam Al Phan were he released his greatest hits. In between 2003 and 2004, and after a long successful career with Alam El Phan, Diab officially announced the termination of his contract with Mohsen Gaber (owner of Alam El Phan).
[edit] International record labels

Over 18 international companies have produced studio albums, compilations and exclusive music for Amr Diab across the globe.

* Ariola - Germany
* Hot Records - Germany
* EMI Music - Greece
* EMI Music - Arabia
* EMI Music - Turkey
* EMI Music - Canada [Hemisphere]
* EMI Music - Europe
* EMI Music - International
* World Music Network - USA
* George V Records - France
* Putumayo World Music - USA
* Wagram Music - France
* Virgin - International
* Nascent - UK
* Milano 2000 - Italy
* Reverb Music - UK
* Toast Records - Italy
* Warner Bros. - France

[edit] Collaboration with international musicians

Various international musicians have collaborated with Amr Diab:

* Stuart Crichton (The founder of Progressive House)
* Frank Von Dem Bottlenberg - Germany
* Jorg Evers - Germany
* Shazz (Didier Delesalle) - France
* Klubbheads (Koen Groeneveld and Addy van der Zwan) - Dutch
* Phunk Phorce (Leon and Matthew Roberts) - UK
* Rhythm Masters (Robert Bruce Chetcuti and Steve McGuinness) - UK
* Pete Beachill - UK
* Simon Gardner - UK
* Andy Greenwood - UK
* Kevan Gallagher - UK
* Jon Bishop - UK
* Juan Cerro - Spain

[edit] Amr Diab in academic studies

* Leeds University

* Duckingham Browne & Nichols School

* Osmangazi University

* Alberta University

* PennState University

* Oxford University

* Duke University

* Southern Methodist University

[edit] Amr Diab in movies

Amr Diab’s songs have appeared in several films, including:

* «Wala Ala Baloh» in Divine Intervention (2002)[11]

* «Awedouni» in The Dancer Upstairs (2002)[12]

* «El Alem Alah» and «Nour El Ain» in O Clone (2001)[13]

* «Nafs El Makan» in Double Whammy (2001)[14]

* «Tamally Ma’ak» and «Nour El Ain» in the French movie, Coco (2009)

* «Nour El Ain» in Malcolm in the Middle TV series (Season 4, Episode 4, Episode name: Stupid Girl), released on 9 January 2000 (USA)[15]

[edit] Further reading

* Mediterranean Mosaic by Goffredo Plastino

* Egypt by Virginia Maxwell, Mary Fitzpatrick, Siona Jenkins, Anthony Sattin

* World Music by Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, Richard Trillo, Orla Duane, Vanessa Dowell

* Teens in Egypt by Barbara A. Somervill

* Syria & Lebanon by Terry Carter, Lara Dunston, Andrew Humphreys, Damien Simonis

* World Music by Richard Nidel

* The Mediterranean in Music by David Cooper, Kevin Dawe

* The Middle East by Library Information and Research Service

* Let’s Go Egypt by Let’s Go, Inc., Joey Shabot, Dave Newman, Elizabeth Ogburn, Charlotte Houghteling

[edit] Discography

* Wayah (With Her) - (2009)
* El Leila De (This Night) (2007)
* Kammel Kalamak (Keep Talking) (2005)
* Greatest Hits (1996-2003) (2005)
* Leily Nahary (Cd-Single) (2004)
* Leily Nahary (My Day, My Night) (2004)
* Greatest Hits (1986-1995) (2004)
* Allem Alby (Teach My Heart) (2003)
* Aktar Wahed (The Most One) (2001)
* Tamally Maak (Always With You) (2000)
* Amarein (Two Moons) (1999)
* The Best Of Amr Diab (1999)
* Awedoony (They Got Me Used To) (1998)
* Nour El-Ain (Light Of The Eye - Habibi) (1996)
* Ragaeen (We’ll Be Back) (1995)
* Zekrayat (Memories) (1994)
* W Ylomoony (And They Blame Me) (1994)
* Ya Omrena (Our Life) (1993)
* Ice Cream Fi Gleam (Ice Cream In Gleam) (1992)
* Ayamna (Our Days) (1992)
* Habiby (My Love) (1991)
* Matkhafeesh (Don’t Worry) (1990)
* Shawaana (Missing You) (1989)
* Mayyal (In Love) (1988)
* Ya Helwa (Hey Pretty) (1988)
* Khalseen (We’re Even) (1987)
* Hala Hala (Welcome, Welcome) (1986)
* We Mneen Ageeb Nas (To whom I Complain?) (1985)
* Ghanny Men Albak (Sing From Your Heart) (1984)
* Ya Tareea (O Road) (1983)