Artist Profiles: Amr Diab

Amr Diab

Amr Abd El-Basset Abd El-Azeez Diab, better known as Amr Diab, was born in Port Said, Egypt on October 11, 1961. He grew up in an artistic family headed by his father who possessed a fine singing voice. Amr was encouraged to sing and showed remarkable promise at an early age. One evening, when Amr was just 6 years old, his father took him to the July 23rd Festival at Port Said where he made his first singing appearance on Egyptian Radio performing the National Anthem Biladi, Biladi. The governor took note, and awarded him with a guitar as a prize.

Amr continued to pursue his dream and began his musical studies at the music faculty of the Cairo Academy of Art, from which he graduated in 1986. His first album Ya Tareeq followed shortly after graduation and was an instant success. He followed this early success with 16 other hit albums, making him the most famous Arabic singing star of his generation.

He was the first Arab artist to make a video clip and in a parallel career, has acted in several films including Dhahk We Laiab (Laughter & Fun), in which he plays opposite the world famous Egyptian actor Omar Sharif and Ice Cream, in which he played the lead.

Due to his unprecedented style and aplomb that quickly singled him out from his contemporaries, Amr Diab was given the nickname Rebellious. But this uniqueness was not just limited to his clothes but translated into his developing an entirely new genre of music called Mediterranean Music referring to its blend of Western and Arabic rhythms. His success and individuality led to his being named, by most satellite and TV stations, as the Best Singer in the Arab World throughout the nineties.

1996 was a breakthrough year for Amr Diab with the release of Nour El Ain. This album became a best selling album by an Arabic artist, selling well not only in the Middle East but throughout the entire world. The title track, and its English version Habibe, was an international phenomenon, becoming a massive crossover hit in countries as far a field as India, Argentina, Chile, France and South Africa. The song was remixed by several top European deejays, becoming a big hit on the dance floors of Europe. The video clip set a new standard with its lavish production values.

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 the Worldwide Music Award in Monaco on 6 May 1998. This award was the first of its kind for an Arabic artist, illustrating the international nature of his appeal, unlike the majority of his contemporaries.

He continues to follow up this meteoric rise to stardom with even bigger hit albums, including Awedony, Amarain, Tamaly Maek and Aktar Wahed Biyahibak, with each album surpassing the next in terms of both sales and artistic achievement. He continues to enjoy mixing styles and performing with other artists.

On Amarain he performed two duets with with the France based international Rai superstar, Khaled of Didi fame, and with the Greek diva, Angela Dimitrou, whose crossover smash Marguerites was a huge hit across the Middle East in 1998.

Discography:

“Ya Tareeq” (Sout Al Madina, 1983)
“Ghanny Mn Albak” (Delta Sound, 1985)
“Hala Hala” (Delta Sound, 1986)
“Khalseen” (Delta Sound, 1987)
“Mayyal” (Delta Sound, 1988)
“Shawwa’na” (Delta Sound, 1989)
“Matkhafeesh” (Delta Sound, 1990)
“Africa” (Delta Sound, 1991)
“Habiby” (Delta Sound, 1991)
“Ice Creem Fi Gleem” (Delta Sound, 1991)
“Ayyamna” (Delta Sound, 1992)
“Zekrayat” (Delta Sound, 1993)
“Ya Omrina” (Delta Sound, 1993)
“Weylomony” (Delta Sound, 1994)
“Rag’een” (Delta Sound, 1995)
“Nour El Ain” (Alam El Phan, 1996)
“Awedony” (Delta Sound, 1998)
Amarain” (Alam El Phan, 1999)
“Tamally Ma’ak” (Alam El Phan, 2000)
“Aktar Wahed” (Alam El Phan, 2001)
“Allem Alby” (Alam El Phan, 2003)
Leily Nahary” (Rotana, 2004)
Kammel Kalamak” (Rotana, 2005)
El Lilady” (Rotana, 2007)
“Wayah” (Rotana, 2009)
“Aslaha Betefre'” (Rotana, 2010)
“Banadeek Ta’ala” (Rotana, 2011)
El Leila” (Rotana, 2013)
“Shoft El Ayam” (Rotana, 2014)
Ahla W Ahla” (Nay, 2016)
“Meaddy El Nas” (Nay, 2017)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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