If Arab, you would know Saber Al Rebai. The singer from Tunisia in North Africa, a part of the Arab world very rich in talent. Rebai overcame a mountain of difficulties to prove his worth and give the Arab world the talent now known as Saber Al Rebai.

By Rafat Fawzi

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Published: Mon 17 May 2004, 2:11 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:57 AM

Rebai talks of his journey in the world of music. When 9-years-old he discovered singing and his family supported and encouraged him. "I owe my family a lot," he says, rather simply.

Was he afraid that he wouldn't ever make it as a singer? To that came the honest reply: "I never anticipated that I would ever distinguish myself as a singer."

Nevertheless, he kept his focus on singing alright, and concentrated on his career. The harvest came. The efforts didn't go waste. Today, he is counted among the best singers in the Arab world.

Rebai started from Tunisia but the real beginning was from Lebanon, from where he was able to reach out to the rest of the Arab world.

Rebai says of his singing style, "I always sing songs that I have a feeling for and I sing in all styles - folk, romance and popular numbers."

Is he looking forward to globalisation? To that he says, "My ambition is endless and I am doing my best to be on the map of the Arab world of songs. I am developing myself and I present songs to satisfy the tastes of everyone."

On his duet with Asala in the song Ali Gara, Rebai says he can sing with any singer given that the other singer had a nice voice and could adjust to his voice.

On his current assignments, Rebai says that he has signed a contract with Rotana after a dispute with producer Alam Al Phan. "I anticipate more offers now that I'm with Rotana, as for Alam Al Phan, Mohsen Jabber didn't fulfil his commitments. He was not in a position to support his stars. It was useless to continue with Alam Al Phan," says Rebai.

"I think my position will be protected with Rotana even if Rotana has more than 100 prominent singers from all over Arab world. I will benefit from my past and I think this is a new beginning for me," muses Rebai, adding that it was not money, which made him make the shift, more the reputation of Rotana.

Rebai was all praise for the new cooperation between poets and composers. "I am cooperating with composer Tamer Ali and music improviser and Mahmoud Khyam. I have good vibes with poet Kamal Qubaisy. We are doing a song in the Lebanese dialect," informs Rebai.

For all his public image, Rebai has kept his family life out of the spotlight. Yes, he's married and has two children - Salam and Safaa - but they keep well away from the milieu where he is now prince.

On the flipside, when not singing, Rebai likes to take time off to play soccer of which he is "absolutely bonkers". Given the choice, if he was not a singer, he would have been knocking air-in-leather all around a soccer field.

Now that's what called 'heads I win, tails you lose!'

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