Al­ways a shin­ing star

Saeed Saeed

The National - News - Arts & Life - - Front Page -

In the first of a four-part se­ries, singer and ac­tor Tamer Hosny tells about his up­com­ing drama, why he has branched out into the tele­vi­sion and film world and about work­ing with global stars One con­spic­u­ous ab­sence from an­other star-stud­ded Ra­madan tele­vi­sion line-up is Tamer Hosny.

The Egyp­tian pop star, ac­tor and re­gional heart- throb was due to re­turn to the small screen dur­ing the holy month with a new drama along­side ac­tress Yas­mina Ab­dul Aziz.

Speak­ing from the re­cently con­cluded Mawazine Fes­ti­val in Morocco, Hosny ex­plains his ini­tial com­ments about the un­ti­tled project ear­lier in the year were some­what mis­guided.

“To be hon­est, we were so con­fi­dent with the project that we were like: ‘let’s put it out in Ra­madan’,” he re­calls.

“But then we found our­selves shoot­ing only two- to- three episodes in a space of three months. So time was ul­ti­mately against us, but hope­fully you will see it next Ra­madan.”

How­ever, Hosny fans will not have to wait too long to see him on tele­vi­sion. The 39- year- old is star­ring in the much-an­tic­i­pated drama Tis­bah Ala Kheir (Good Night), which will have its pre­miere in Egypt on Eid (around June 24).

Lead­ing a cast in the dra­mady that in­cludes Du­rah, Nour and Ahmed Za­her, Hosny plays a char­ac­ter who must con­front hard truths as a re­sult of a painful phys­i­cal in­jury. Hosny, whose last film was the breezy 2014 rom­com Ah­wak, says his lat­est fea­ture is his most-fo­cused per­for­mance yet. With the plot un­der wraps, Hosny lets slip that he will per­form mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters in Tis­bah Ala Kheir.

“I think it is a new kind of film I would say that I al­ways had a goal of western artists singing in Ara­bic Tamer Hosny singer for me and has a high level of act­ing – for ex­am­ple, I play a bunch of dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties in the film,” he says.

“There is also a phi­los­o­phy to it and some hu­mour, of course.”

The film is also home to a new song – Wara Al Shababeek (Be­hind the Win­dows) – a duet with the Le­banese diva Elissa.

“The lyrics are deep,” says Hosny. “The songs talk about life and how peo­ple change with time. It is so soul­ful and sen­si­tive.”

With last year’s al­bum Omry Ibatda well re­ceived, in ad­di­tion to a suc­cess­ful film and tele­vi­sion ca­reer, Hosny is one of the Arab en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try’s most suc­cess­ful poly­glots. With peers such as Na­jwa Karam and Fares Karam – who spoke to The Na­tional last week – re­fus­ing to en­ter the film and tele­vi­sion world, Hosny is em­brac­ing all op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Branch­ing out, he ex­plains, was al­ways part of the plan since mak­ing waves with his 2004 de­but al­bum Hob.

“I al­ways wanted to be in this po­si­tion. I never re­ally saw mu­sic and film in sep­a­ra­tion, they both com­plete each other. I didn’t want to be like some­one else. I wanted to be dif­fer­ent and in some way orig­i­nal, so per­haps other artists can fol­low me. I wanted to show a new way of do­ing things, in that you can sing, com­pose, write and act,” says Hosny.

He even points to his thick beard and quiff hair­style – which is of­ten com­pared to Hugh Jack­man’s in the film Wolver­ine – as a trend­set­ter. “I copped some f lak in how a singer can have a beard like this and hair like that. Now you can see other artists and young peo­ple fol­low­ing this look – this is proof that I feel I am on the right way.” An­other as­pect of Hosny’s ex­pan­sive ap­proach to his work is his grow­ing list of mu­si­cal col­lab­o­ra­tions with western artists.

Nor­mally, a no- go zone for peers, Hosny has em­braced the idea of work­ing with artists such as Ja­maican reg­gae star Shaggy (2012’s Smile), rap­pers Snoop Dogg and Akon for 2013’s Si Al Sayed and Wel­come to the Life . While the big-name con­nec­tions helped en­sure a steady amount of hits in the Arab world, it failed to make last­ing im­pres­sions in­ter­na­tion­ally. Hosny does not mind as that was not the point. In­stead, he points to the col­lab­o­ra­tions as ex­am­ples of western artists learn­ing from Arab cul­ture, as op­posed to the other way around.

He points to the sum­mery video for Si Al Sayed, where Snoop Dogg wears a kan­dura and is called “Ma’alem Snoop”, while in Wel­come to the Life Akon ac­tu­ally sings an Ara­bic verse in Egyp­tian di­alect.

“I never saw my­self or even had the goal of be­ing an in­ter­na­tional star,” he says.

“But I would say that I al­ways had a goal of western artists singing in Ara­bic. I want them to ex­pe­ri­ence and en­gage with our cul­ture – it shouldn’t just be just learn­ing from the West.”

But not all of Hosny’s mu­sic can be shared.

Cred­it­ing his wife, Moroc­can singer Basma Bous­sil and two young chil­dren for giv­ing his life a sense of ground­ing, Hosny says there are a stack of un­recorded songs that he sings ex­clu­sively for his young fans. “The only way you can hear them is if I in­vite you to my house and see us per­form,” he says with a laugh.

“My wife and I cre­ate and sing songs for our kids, just a way to keep the house­hold fun and light. These songs are just for us.”

Next week in the Mawazine Ses­sions, we fea­ture Le­banese clas­si­cal singer and poet Jahida We­hbe

Cour­tesy Youniss Hamid­dine

Egyp­tian singer Tamer Hosny’s up­com­ing drama Tis­bah Ala Kheir will be re­leased dur­ing Eid.

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