The press conference by Tunisian singer Saber Al Riba’i that was held by the production company Rotana for his new album “Al Ghorba” (Away From Home) turned into a heated debate between two parties, first Saber and Toni Sam’an, the manager for artistic affairs in Rotana, and the second was a large number of Tunisian journalists.
According to the Qatari daily Al Raya, organizers of the press conference tried their best to keep focusing on advertising the new album for the Tunisian singer, which hasn’t seen as much advertisement as his previous two albums “Athada El Alam” (Dares the World) and “Ajmal Nisa’ El Dunia” (The Most Beautiful Women in The World). However, the journalists succeeded into turning the table around and shifting the focus on if Al Riba’i. The singer was bluntly asked if he will be staying with Rotana even after their contracts ends this year.
Al Riba’i was also asked if he’d like to comment on why an Egyptian magazine characterized him as the prince of Arabic music and why so many Arabic singers are leaving Rotana. From the beginning the Tunisian singer was diplomatic with answering the journalists questions. He was very careful with answering the questions about the rumors on why he didn’t have any concerts in any of the festivals in his mother country Tunisia. Al Riba’i explained that he chose not to hold any concerts, because of personal reasons not that there are any problems between him and any of the festivals management.
Al Riba’i states that he has no problem in renewing his contract with Rotana; however, it’s too early to talk about his contract since his current contract is still in affect. He is still advertising for his latest album and he is also filming two video clips from his new album. Al Riba’i makes clear that ‘his relation with Rotana is bigger than contracts and papers’.
On the issue if there are any problems between him and the famous Egyptian singer Hani Shaker after he was chosen to be the prince of Arabic singers instead of Shaker, Al Riba’i stated that people made the issue to be bigger than it really is. Al Riba’i was very happy to be chosen; yet he felt bad that he was compared with Shaker who has been a star for many years now. Al Riba’i made clear to the journalists that he doesn’t want to enter in the dilemma of who is better than who and if being called the prince of all Arab singers will cause any problems for him then he will turn it down.
On the other hand Al Riba’i adds that if he ever decides to leave Rotana, it won’t be, because Shaker was chosen as the best Arabic music singer for the year 2007. Al Riba’i feels that the comparison between him and Shaker has hurt him, and he wishes that he could get the same opportunity as the Egyptian singer of being albe compete with different singing generations.
Toni Sam’an was shocked to be asked on why so many leading Arabic singers were leaving Rotana. Sam’an states that there are 121 Arabic singers who have contracts with Rotana and when their contracts end they’ll either renew them or cancel them. Sam’an also adds that there are a number of leading singers who will have their albums launched by Rotana.