Meet 'United Arab Talent': The group uniting unique voices from the Middle East
United Arab Talent is a group of artists from the region, namely Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Tunisia. (Facebook)
Click here to add Al Ared as an alert
Disable alert for Al Ared,
Click here to add al Hayat as an alert
Disable alert for al Hayat,
Click here to add Asri Bendacha as an alert
Disable alert for Asri Bendacha,
Click here to add Eirk as an alert
Disable alert for Eirk,
Click here to add Jeddah as an alert
Disable alert for Jeddah,
Click here to add Nina as an alert
Disable alert for Nina,
Click here to add Thomas X-plosive as an alert
Disable alert for Thomas X-plosive,
Click here to add Tunisiano as an alert
Disable alert for Tunisiano,
Click here to add Universal Music France as an alert
Disable alert for Universal Music France
As the name suggests, United Arab Talent is a group of artists from the region, namely Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Tunisia. They resonate more with pop music, each diverse in their own range and faculty.
Tarek, Bachir and Nina came together to discuss the band; its influence and what it means to have a record deal with Universal in the Middle East.
At a time when limited powerhouses in the region generate influence, the group describes their journey with the support of a giant label.
The bold mixed-band is evidently unbothered by social norms in the Arab world when it comes to stereotyped appearances or showcasing themselves on social media.
The clear advantage they have is the ability to deliver a mass-market product in various flavors. The band members include Tarek, aka Eirk, a 27-year-old Saudi rapper from Jeddah, Nina, a 22-year-old Lebanese vocalist and Bachir, aka Tunisiano, a 35-year-old Tunisian-French rapper.
“I have released six albums and sold over one million copies from the beginning of my music career. I represent every Arab who can identify with my lyrics,” he told Saudi Gazette.
UAT’s album ‘Jawhar Al Hayat’ will be launched during mid-October. We get in touch with the fabric behind the brand promotions and right into the music.
SG: What does UAT represent and how did it come together?
Bachir: UAT or United Arab Talent, represents the young Arab aspirations and visions no matter where they are from. It’s a concept that was initially brought upon us by Asri Bendacha, our producer and manager, who I have known for a couple of years now.
He wanted to bring a new musical style to our region that would allow us to stand out and be different from the rest.
Nina: As Bachir mentioned, UAT first started when our producer came to us with an idea of a project that had not been done in the Arab world yet, which was a band that would bring a new music wave to the Arabic music industry. We bridge the three parts of the Arab region: Levant, Gulf and North Africa.
SG: How did your first single come about?
Bachir: The first single we released from the album was: Mashiha. This song was about enjoying every moment in life and not dwelling on all the problems we face, since we only live once.
We should seize each day with a positive outlook.
SG: How does it feel to be signed to Universal?
Bachir: I’ve worked previously with Universal Music France and this is just the continuation of a great musical journey.
Tarek: It felt awesome because Universal Music is very well respected in the Hip-Hop music industry specifically.
Nina: It’s a huge honor and a big responsibility since we’re the first Arabic band that signed with Universal Music MENA. With that come a lot of exciting opportunities that we are grateful for.
SG: What’s the most gratifying reaction you’ve received personally and what form of criticism do you face from the Arab audience?
Bachir: Personally, it’s when we went to shoot the music video for my solo track of our album, Wled Al Ared in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
They were all so happy and excited that they were getting attention from us, especially the children. Their reaction was lovely and you can see that clearly in the video.
Tarek: Actually the most gratifying reaction that I have received personally was gaining a huge fan base from Lebanon because we started everything from there.
As for criticism, if it’s not constructive then it doesn’t really matter.
Nina: My fans’ constant support and the daily increase of my fanbase on social media is a super pleasant reaction for all the work I’ve done since I started singing.
Even though, with that comes a lot of criticism, but to me this means caring and giving attention to someone, whether it is constructive or destructive, they are there and they care.
Being noticed and talked about is my strength to continue and be present.
SG: With a strong emphasis on showcasing roots, the trio posted selfies with their passports on social media channels and encouraged fans to do the same. Tell us more.
Tarek: The reason for emphasizing our roots is because we are representing Arabs from different countries and cultures. Our purpose of posting passport selfies was to connect with the fans and of course relate back to Nina’s solo single: Bedoon Ay Hudood.
Nina: The passport - selfie campaign was a contest for my solo single Bedoo Ay Hudood. We wanted to show to people, with that song, that music has no border, so we asked people to post a selfie with their passport for a chance to win a trip to attend the UAT official album launch party.
It’s incredible because I realized that apart from Arabs, there are people from the US, South Africa, Singapore, Russia and so many other countries that are following us, which is very encouraging.
SG: What do you think is the stereotype attached to Arab artists especially a mixed band in the region and how do you fight them?
Bachir: We made this album together in a short period of time, where we got to know each other and become the best of friends. We had a lot of fun recording music, so no matter what stereotypes may be said or thought, we are here to spread love and unity.
Nina: Arab artists are always accused of lacking diversity in the subjects they sing about, so we’re here to prove that we can achieve the opposite and sing about everything and anything.
SG: What’s your favorite track on the album?
Bachir: It’s definitely Mithakmeen as well as Jawhar Al Hayat which is the title track of the album and represents the concept of the album which will be out October 16th.
Tarek: Agreed. Mine as well is Mithakmeen because its message is strong and powerful.
Nina: Bedoon Ay Hudood of course! No, just kidding, I can’t really choose because each track is special to me and has its unique story behind it.
SG: Tell us about the studio sessions- who are your producers? How do you write music and get the ball rolling?
Nina: I feel at home when I’m in a studio so it’s always fun and comforting for me.
Bachir: Every morning, at breakfast, we would listen to new songs and discuss new music ideas together. Once we agreed on a beat, we would start writing our part and get to recording it right away! A collaborative effort from all of us.
Tarek: The studio sessions were very full of experiences for me. I learned so much from all our partners and from Nina and Bachir, such as how to breathe right and how to control my sound levels.
Our producers were: Jimmy “Diakar” Delsart from France and Thomas X-plosive from Germany. I wrote my lyrics and once I found a beat that fit my lyrics then we got to recording.
SG: What are your future plans?
Tarek: To push the UAT album ‘Jawhar Al Hayat’ and inshallah release a first official solo album next year.
Nina: My core focus at the moment is the release of ‘Jawhar Al Hayat’ album in mid-October.
SG: Any message for your fans in Saudi?
Bachir: Inshallah I will go to Saudi and meet my fans there because I know that there is a big Hip Hop fan base and of course I want to visit Tarek in Jeddah and discover more about his roots.
Tarek: I would like to say thank you so much for those who supported me from day one and also to go and check out my new official music video ‘Dag Nazef’ for some real Saudi rap.
Nina: I haven’t been to Saudi Arabia yet but I know that I have a huge fan base there so I’d like to thank them all for their unconditional love and constant support , and want them to know that I love them so much.
- From Sweden with love: Arab voices make gut-wrenching appeal to save their homelands
- Out of the box Tedx Talks in Jeddah encourage Arabs to challenge the norm
- Voice Kids Arabia contestant faces the dark side of music
- Arabs Got Talent: Epic 1st Semi reveals the Arab male prima donna Maxim!
- Small kid, BIG talent: Lynn Hayek wins The Voice Kids Arabia!