From death's door to the recording studio: A life-changing year for Mohammad Hamaki
The 36-year-old singer recently released his fourth album Men Alby Baghaney (I sing from my heart), perhaps a reference to the health complications he suffered last year during recording in the studio. Back in July 2011, Hamaki was rushed to hospital after suffering multiple heart attacks, and underwent cardiac surgery. His condition was so serious that at the time, his doctor was quoted as saying he “escaped death narrowly”.
Thankfully, the star made a speedy recovery, and shortly after, he even went on to get married. Now, Hamaki’s raring to go with his new album, his first since 2010, and his fourth overall.
To celebrate the launch of the album, the singer attended a press conference at the Four Seasons Cairo earlier this week. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: You have changed record companies and are now with Nogoum Records. What made you make the move?
A: Simply, it was a good contract for me. They didn’t take advantage of me, because I was well known, and at the same time, I didn’t take advantage of them because they’re new. I just feel that they are the type of people that I am going to be happy working with. I have learned that in order to love your work, you have to be happy with the people and company around you.
Q: You had been away from the entertainment world for two years, and your new album was released last month and shot to the top of the charts. Were you relieved that your absence did not affect fans’ enthusiasm?
A:I am not worried that I have been away for two years. I think that is very reasonable for any artist, and it is because I believe in new products. Whenever I go into the studio, I start working on a completely new product with new types of music. I record with the mindset that my fans won’t forgive me if I record something bad. I always want them to be happy with what I am offering.
Q: You’re releasing a limited edition version of the album, which doesn’t happen often in the region. What’s the difference between that and the current one?
A: The limited edition version will include a new song, plus tickets to any one of my concerts. These tickets allow free entry to any concert, and ticket-holders will enter and exit through special areas and be seated in a VIP area. It’s a new concept, but I really liked the idea.
Q: Are you doing this due to records not selling any more?
A: Downloading music for free off the internet is something I have always felt very strongly about. It is a serious issue for the record companies because it is their livelihood and they lose so much money due to this. I am proud to report, however, that my fans took to Facebook to create a page urging everyone to buy an original copy of my album and not download it off the web. There are loads of honest people out there, and I really respect that, because ultimately, they are supporting Egyptian businesses, which the country really needs right now.
Q: How is your health now?
A: I recently went for a check up in Paris and have been notified by the doctors that my health is okay, so I thank Allah for being here. It has changed me a lot as an individual, and as an artist. For instance, now I am planning on organising a concert every year where all proceeds go to the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation for children.
Q: What is the first music video going to be?
A; We’ve decided to shoot Nefsy Aba Gambo, but we don’t have details of the production itself as we are still working on it, so watch this space.