The singer does not allow herself to be pigeonholed.
Award-winning Swedish-Lebanese singer Aziz Abdo recently launched his “comeback single” Chou ser li bik in Dubai and calls it a “great summer anthem”. Aziz is famous for combining Arab music with a Latin flair and has made a mark on the music scene since the early 2000s, releasing crowd favourites like Jaw Jnoun and Enty Tsharrafi.
Aziz continues to produce original music, also collaborating with international artists like Zayn (he co-wrote the track Too Much produced by Timbaland). He’s also branching out into Bollywood, having contributed music to a Vidyut Jammwal film now playing in UAE cinemas.
A model, actor and former ‘Mr. Lebanon’ winner, Aziz hopes his new song strikes a chord and adds to his fanbase. The official music video for Chou ser li bik has over 200,000 views so far.
The track is currently part of the Al Rabia FM 107.8 and Star FM playlist; it’s also on major music streaming platforms.
The Dubai resident spoke to City Times about what inspired his latest track and his love for Dubai.
What can you tell us about your new track Chou ser li bik?
I believe Chou ser li bik is the perfect comeback track! The song is a great summer anthem and has everything characteristic to my signature sound (it feels like I never left).
I also can’t believe how well received it is in the region! Both the track and the video are being played across radio stations and clubs across the region…what more could I ask for?
How does it feel to have launched the track in Dubai?
Honestly, it feels amazing. Everyone can agree that the UAE feels like the centre of the world right now. Following Expo 2020 Dubai, this country really has become the epicentre of progress, success and the future, and I truly believe even greater things are going to sprout from here.
I’m also proud to call Dubai my home, so it only seemed fitting that I start my new era here as well.
You blend Arabic music with a Latin flair. What are the early musical influences that led you towards this fusion of styles?
Since I was a young kid I’ve always been drawn to Latin music. I just love everything about it; the way it moves you and just compels you to dance! Ricky Martin was a huge influence for me growing up and I think everyone can agree that when any of his songs came on, the energy you felt was unbelievable.
That’s why I wanted my signature sound to marry the performative electricity of Latin music with the poetry of the Arabic language.
Who are some of the international music artists whose work you admire?
Well to start with, the incomparable king of pop, Michael Jackson. Michael’s influence didn’t just affect me, but the whole region as well growing up. I don’t think anyone had ever seen someone perform and sing the way he did…actually, I still haven’t seen it.
Similarly, I love a lot of Latin pop artists like Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez and of course, Ricky Martin.
What was it like working with Zayn and Timbaland on Too Much?
Working with Timbaland was a dream come true! The man is a legend, and honestly a wonderful mentor as well. He was one of the first major artists to believe in me and actually encouraged me to move to the United States. To say the man is a genius is an understatement and I guess his unparalleled career as a producer is proof of that.
Similarly with Zayn, for someone so young, he was both so professional and creatively charged. We clicked right away and have planned to do a lot more together in the industry.
You’ve also worked with renowned music video producer and filmmaker Michael Oblowitz. How important is a music video for a track? How do you get inspiration for videos?
The experience of working with a true master like Michael Oblowitz was really eye-opening. He is easily one of the most celebrated people behind a camera, and it was so exciting to have an inside look on how to craft a music video that not only spotlights talent but also sells! I believe that music videos are an essential part of the process, but again, it’s all about your personal brand.
A video gives your audience the opportunity to get a glimpse into your performative style, your signature look and collaborators. Nowadays, in the Spotify and SoundCloud generation, music videos might seem like an afterthought, but I still believe a good video along with a good song are the equation to true commercial success. Regarding the way I draw inspiration for my videos, well, it all starts with the lyrics for me. The words guide the style for me; however, in the back of my head I always know that the final product has to distinctly feel ‘Aziz’.
You grew up playing football and modelling. What got you into music and singing? Honestly, opportunities present themselves in such mysterious ways. I always imagined myself becoming a professional football player in Sweden but then due to an unfortunate accident, I had to put those dreams on hold! But that led me to pursue modelling in Europe, which proved to be very lucrative.
One day my mom asked me to come down to Lebanon to visit some family; that small trip ended up becoming permanent for me, because I just fell in love with the place. Shortly after continuing my modelling locally, I won the very prestigious Mr. Lebanon award.
As a PR stunt, to promote the event, they suggested I perform a song with the (then) current Miss Lebanon. I always had a passion for singing growing up, but never really pursued it. However, at the recording session for the song, one of the biggest music producers in the region happened to be present; he liked what he heard, and the rest is history!
How did winning the Mr. Lebanon title open doors for you?
The biggest thing that came out of winning the title was that everyone recognised my face, wherever I went in Lebanon. However, it’s still incomparable to winning awards in Europe, where that can really take your career to the next level. I was just glad that the title led to me finding my passion.
How long are you in Dubai for, and why do you love the city?
Well I’m a Dubai resident now! My favourite city has become my favourite home, and I love it. Honestly I just love the feeling of community here; I have a lot of friends here who are so supportive and I just vibe with the energy of this city! It feels like anything and everything is possible.
What can you tell us about your Bollywood debut, and your future projects?
I’ve always been fascinated with Bollywood so it’s very exciting for me to be a part of it. I have provided a background track for Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 - Agni Pariksha. I also have some hush-hush acting projects coming up as well a whole host of new songs. Look out for a lot of surprises!
The singer does not allow herself to be pigeonholed.
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