Wissam is making Harmony

Wissam  is making Harmony

Dubai - Syrian pop singer Wissam Hilal talks to City Times about the Dubai music scene, social media and his new single!

By Maan Jalal

Published: Sun 13 May 2018, 12:18 PM

Last updated: Sat 19 May 2018, 1:17 PM

Wissam Hilal is the Dubai-based Syrian pop singer you should know about. His recent single Harmony was released in March and the music video amassed almost 250k views within the first few days since it was uploaded.
Wissam started his career in 2013 with the help of Los Angeles producer Bryan Todd. His debut singles at the time Single and The Last Goodbye together racked up over a million views. Since then, Wissam has been pretty busy cementing his career by creating more music and performing.
"A lot of big things happened in my music career," he told City Times. "I released a number of singles and music videos, and I signed many big music contracts between the US and the Middle East. Major highlights that I'm personally proud of are: The NRJ music tour 2014, charting in the iTunes Top 10 UK charts, signing with Universal Music MENA and singing with multi-platinum producer Mams Taylor."
Wissam is also pretty active on social media with a massive following on Facebook and Instagram. City Times caught up with Wissam to discuss how he's viewed his career so far, his thoughts on fame and his latest single Harmony.
Tell us about your latest single Harmony. What is the song about? What was the inspiration?
This song is very personal. It talks about the fall of any relationship. Where the heart beats for your lover but your mind tells you to break it up. Complicated feelings and questions . . . It was basically inspired by a friend's breakup story where his girlfriend had to leave the country and end it all. 
Tell us about the music video - how was the process of filming that?
Ironically the filming was the total opposite of the topic of the song. Filming this song was so much fun and I felt really comfortable on the shooting location. I became friends with everyone on set and we had so much fun shooting from 6-12am. 
When did you first get into music? And when was the defining moment that you knew creating music had to be part of your life?
I was 14 years old and I still remember the moment I was listening to Avril Lavigne's album Let Go, that was a defining moment where I felt that I love music. I find peace in music and I want to be a performing artist. Three hours later I was recording a voiceover on one of her songs, Losing Grip. Since that moment I haven't let go of this dream, not even a single day of my life.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
Enrique Iglesias, Avril Lavigne, Madonna, Ricky Martin, George Michael, Celine Dion and others... I enjoy good music regardless of the performing artist.
What's on your playlist right now? What are you listening to?
The Best Of Mandy Moore
For You by Rita Ora
Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys
While You Sleep by Shaun Warner
What Now, Kiss it Better by Rihanna
Delicate by Taylor Swift
Now or Never by Hasley
How important do you think social media is for an artist like yourself who is just starting out in the industry?
I think social media is really important for any artist. You need to have social media platforms promoting your music and be close to your fans until you're a Michael Jackson. Times have completely changed. I have personal contact with lots of my fans that I have known over social media. I follow what they love and I give them sneak peeks of my latest music. I truly care about them and love them.
What would you say are some of the downfalls of social media for an artist like yourself?
Sometimes negative comments and Internet trolls can be really mean. I'm a strong person but like any other human being I get vulnerable sometimes and these negative words affect me. No matter how much of a thick skin you grow, you still are a human at the end of the day. I tried to spread as much love and positivity from my platform. The world needs it.
What is the process of writing a song for you? Is it planned or organic?
It is 100% organic. Whenever I hear a beautiful song by an artist or hear an instrument playing music I tend to go with the flow and express myself through tunes and lyrics. At least this is how I personally do it. But I definitely need an inspiration, starting point (beats, music...) 
How long have you been in Dubai and how would you describe the Dubai music scene?
I've been living in Dubai since 2013. I recently got to know some artists that are emerging on the international scene right from here. I felt completely proud and cheerful. The racial mix in the UAE is just beautiful. Music cultures meet and create magic here. 
Describe the process of creating an album.
Music comes first, then spending hundreds of hours with co-songwriters at the recording studio, deciding on the lyrics, fixing melodies, creating the right arrangements with the right theme, vocal recording, vocal production, mixing and mastering. you can apply the above instructions to each song you'll be creating! 
What is the most difficult thing about creating an album and being in the music industry today?
I think finding the right lyrics and melody line for the song. If you do this right then you have a hit. The music industry is really competitive but I think this is good. It drives artists to work hard and stand out. The one big obstacle for talented musicians would be financing the music and the sponsorships which we don't really have in the Middle East especially for international English music. 
What are some misconceptions people have about being a singer/ songwriter?
That's a hard one. Many people think that real singers and artists search for fame, while in fact they only want to be famous to get their music heard. I personally think that fame is overrated. 
What do you enjoy about performing live?
The energy of the audience. The adrenaline rush. It's what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Receiving a Grammy? This may sound like a lot. But if I look five years back from now, what I'm living now seemed impossible back then. 
We asked Wissam where we could see him performing live next and where people could hear his music online.
I'm not doing any live shows at the moment as I'm recording and shooting nonstop. You can check out my latest music on Anghami or Apple Music and all other digital platforms.

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