Amr Abdel Basset Abdel Azeez Diab (عمرو دياب) (born October 11, 1961) is an Egyptian singer and composer of jeel music. Diab has become one of the highest selling Middle Eastern artists of all time, as he was awarded "The World Music Award" 3 times; 1998, 2002 and 2007, as being the best selling Middle Eastern singer.
In 1983, Diab released his first studio album "Ya Tareeq". Diab released three more albums between 1984 and 1987. In 1988, Diab released "Mayaal" which garnered huge success all around the Middle East, and to this day it's known as one of Amr's best, and most successful songs ever. More success followed in the following years including albums like, "Shawakkna", "Matkhafesh", and "Weylomony".
"Habiby" from Diab's 1996 album, "Nour el Ein" internationally became a phenomenal hit worldwide, and was remixed by many of the worlds top DJs. A special CD named "Habiby: Remix's" was released later on with all the remixes made worldwide. "Tamally Maak" from Diab's 2000 album became a huge success and was shot as the single of the album. "Leily Nahari", Diab's first album with Rotana Records, was released in 2004. The album became Rotana's highest selling album of all-time. Diab's latest album, El Leila De was released in the summer of 2007, and saw a great success, in Egypt, and all around the Middle East.
Diab was born in Port-Said city Egypt, to a highly educated upper middle class family. His mother was a French teacher in the Lycee Francais school of Port-Said. Abdul Basset Diab, Amr’s Father, graduated from the faculty of commerce at the University of Alexandria in 1958. He joined the Suez Canal Corporation as an accountant and was promoted to top financial controller (from 1985 until 1989) for the maritime sector in the corporation. He encouraged young Diab to sing for the first time on Al-gala national day (evacuation of British forces from the Suez Canal area & Egypt) on June 18th, 1968. Diab was only six years old, and that was Amr's first singing appearance to public. His first performance the National Anthem: Belady, Belady, was broadcasted to the Egyptian radio audience from the local broadcasting station. That day Amr was awarded by his Excellency Hassan Rushdie the Governor of Port Said, who also awarded him a guitar as a present after that concert.
In 1996, Nour El Ain (Light of The Eye – Sight) was released, becoming a tremendous success not only in the Middle East but throughout the entire world. The song was composed by Nasser Elmezdawy, lyrics were written by Ahmed Sheta and it was arranged by Hameed Elshaery. The title track, and its English version "Habibi", was an international phenomenon, becoming a massive crossover hit in countries such as Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan performed by Sangeeth Wickremasinghe) and Malaysia (Malay version sung by Datuk Sharifah Aini).In a style reminiscent of the Aldo (musician) Franco-Arabic style, the song was remixed by several top European arrangers and has become a big pull on the dance floors of Europe. The video clip, also produced by Alam El Phan for the song "Nour El Ain", was one of the most lavish and expensive productions in the field of Egyptian song, and set a new standard for his contemporaries to aspire to. Nour El Ain has become the best selling album ever released by an Arabic artist.
In 1997, Amr Diab won three Awards at the Annual Arabic Festival (for Best Video, Best Song and Artist of the Year). In the following year, he received a Triple Platinum Award for the sales of Nour El Ain, and received a World Music Award in Monaco on 6 May 1998, under the patronage of H.S.H. Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and attended by such International luminaries as Gloria Estefan, Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, The Backstreet Boys, Steven Segal and others. This award was the first of its kind for an Egyptian artist, emphasizing that his appeal is not just confined to the Middle East unlike the majority of his contemporaries.
His follow-up studio album entitled Awedooni
was released in July 1998, and as with Nour El Ain
it was produced
with Hamid El Shaery
and recorded in Cairo
, Egypt. The first video from the album, the title track "Awedooni", was shot by the river Nile in Egypt and directed by Tareq Al Aryan. Like its predecessor, this album was a huge success for Amr and reinforced his popularity in the Arab world and abroad.
The Best of Amr Diab released in early 1999 contained a brand new song "Maham Kibirt Sugheir" recorded as a tribute to the Legends of Arabic music such as Umm Kulthum and Abdel Halim Hafez that have influenced him. A strong ballad with a spectacular video of the concert footage inspired by Puff Daddy (whom he met at the Monaco Awards) it became another big hit for Diab. The album also contains a previously unreleased European remix of "Habibi", and the most popular songs from Amr's albums of the 1990s.
Diab released his July 1999 new studio album Amarain
, (two moons) which is hailed as the best work of his career to date. Amr is working on eagerly anticipated duets with the France based international Rai superstar, Khaled
" fame, and with the Greek singer, Angela Dimitrou
, whose crossover smash "Marguerites" was a huge hit across the Middle East in 1998. The title track Amarain is the first video to be broadcast and the album seems certain to confirm Amr's position as the leading and most innovative artist from the Middle East.
Diab revolutionized Arab music when he issued Tamally Ma'ak. He introduced the Spanish guitar in his song "Tammaly Ma'ak" and in other songs. The clip of this song was made in the
Czech Republic with much success. The album contained songs like "Al'alem Allah", "Ba'terf", "Sa'ban Alaea" and "Wa Hiya Amla Eih".
On 1 August 2001
, and after a great anticipation by the huge number of fans, Aktar Wahed
was released. The album's name is a short for one of the songs "Aktar Wahed Beyhebbak". It contains 10 tracks and a bonus oriental
remix for the song "Wala Ala Balo". "Wala Ala Balo", a well-studied mash up of both Trance/Techno
rhythms and Oriental Arabic Music. The song featured the rapper SandMan. The video on the other hand was shot in London in a discotheque. An even newer style for Amr Diab designed by Mahmoud Rahmeh AKA DJ Crazy Moe, he received a number of Platinum Awards for the sales of the album, and received his second World Music Award in Monaco in 2001 for best selling album for middle-eastern singer, the album contains a good number of significant songs like "Adeeni Rege'telek", "Ya Habeeby La", "Sadda'ni Khalas" and "Ba'edd Ellayali".
Later in 2003, Diab released Allem Alby
(Teach My Heart). The album's release date was arranged to be with the debut broadcast of Alam El Phan's (Allem Alby's Production Company, Owned by Mohsen Gaber) music channel "Mazzika".
The album was a great success, with the release of the video "Ana Ayesh" which was directed by Stuart Gosling. The video was intensely broadcasted on Mazzika . The album contains other songs, like the album-titled "Allem Alby" which is a solid R&B influenced hit. Others that tend to be more oriental like "Kolohom", "Law Ash'any" and "Alli El Wada'".
In late summer of 2004, Diab's first album with Rotana was released, titled Leily Nahary (My Nights, My Days). The album's cover was from the promotional photo shoot of Pepsi. The video "Leily Nahari" directed by Casey Cameron which provided aid to give Amr his space in the record-exclusive music channels. It was still criticized because of its similarity to his previously unreleased video for "El Alem Allah" from the album Tamally Ma'ak.
Diab's album, Kammel Kalamak
is the long anticipated follow up to Leily Nahary
. It was rumoured to be released in the summer of 2005 but was pushed back to Eid
. The album took a reported $4M to record, and is Rotana's biggest album of 2005.
Full album releases appeared on many websites prior to its official release, which is speculated to be the reason why the album's release date was suddenly shortened to a few days prior to the previously mentioned release date.
The love ballad "We Malo" was released as the single of the album, Kammel Kalamak. The music video was shot in London and was released on a late notice after the release of the album. Rumors surfaced in late 2005 and early 2006 stated that Amr is considering terminating his contract with Rotana due to the poor promotion of his latest album, Kammel Kalamak. The idea of "Wemalo" video clip was produced by the young talented producer and Graphic Designer Muhannad Majdalawieh, Also the music video was shot and produced by the great
Khalil Al-Araj with the help of two talented production assistants Mohammad Al Khairy and Rami Ragy . who now have one of the biggest recording companies in the Middle East.
The album was originally set to be released after Ramadan
2006. However, it was pushed back several times due to Diab's repeated changes in the musical producers
he was dealing with. Diab attributes the changes to the producer's lack of new and strong styles. In early 2006, Music Arranger
Fahd was supposed to work on this album; however, later that year Tarek Madkour
joined Amr Diab, and they started together to work on it. On 25 March 2007
, Madkour's official website announced that Amr Diab and Madkour had decided jointly to skip the collaboration on the album due to the lack of time and conflicting working schedules. Fahd and a new producer called Hasan Al Shafei are elected to produce the music in the album, which is supposed to hit the markets in July 2007. The title of the album was changed from Khaleek Ma'aya
to El Leila De
. After the release Amr, shot a new Pepsi advertisement in Europe. On June 21 2007
, two of the biggest sites (AmrDiabWorld.com & AmrDiab.info) for Amr Diab announced that the album, now entitled El Lilady
, would hit the market on July 7 2007
. The album would contain 10 tracks; AL Shafei and Fahd shared the production Al Shaei 7 songs & Fahd 3 Songs. Before releasing his album, Diab traveled to Portugal to shoot the new Pepsi ad choosing "Inta El Ghaly" song from his upcoming album El Leila De
as the ad music. Amr then traveled to the USA to film the music video for his upcoming album.
The 10 tracks included in El Leila De are finalized and set in the following order on the upcoming album:
1. Ne2oul Eih
2. El Leila De
3. Toul Ma'Ana Shaifak
5. Inta El Ghaly
6. Rohy Mertahalak
7. Aletly Oul
8. We Fehmt Einak
10. Khalik Ma'aya
The album master copy was given to Rotana, Amr Diab's CD production company, on the last week of June to meet the 07/07/07 release date he had planned earlier. Rotana however has delayed the release of the new CD for a couple of days for unknown reasons. The album has also been leaked but Diab's increasing fan base have impressively not allowed the leaked copy to be distributed on the internet although later on sadly, it actually got leaked.
The album was officially released on July 11 2007. The album has already become a huge hit in Egypt and all over the middle-east. The album sold over 1,000,000 copies in only 5 days of release. The video clip has been slated for a July 27 release. The song that Amr chose to film was N'eoul Eih, which is unique with the new style of House Music mixed with oriental Arabic music. The video clip was filmed in California's own Santa Monica & Malibu, and also near Hollywood. El Leila De has once again proved that Amr Diab is the Middle East's top singer.
On July 27, Rotana News announced that "El Leila De" has sold over 2 million copies in less than two weeks in the Middle East, which gives the album a good chance to surpass Kammel Kalamak's 3 million copies in one month.
On October 30 2007, the management of the World Music Awards announced that Amr Diab was to receive an award for best selling artist in the Middle East for this album. Amr Diab received the award in the festival that was held in Monaco, Monte-Carlo, on the 4th of November 2007, with a total of three WMA's in his career.
Amr Diab is one of the first singers to popularize music videos in the Arab world. With the exception of his very early albums, all albums had a song or two shot as music videos. Amr Diab cooperated with the top music videos directors in the Middle East including Tarek El-Erian
and Sherif Sabri
N'eoul Eih video clip
The most anticipated video clip of 2007, N'eoul Eih, was released on August 14th, 2007. Released on Rotana TV for the first time, the video was a great success. It was released minutes later on an Egyptian program named "El Beit Betak", on EGYPT TV.
The video was produced by The Company Pictures, a full production company based out of Santa Monica, California, directed by young Egyptian Director, Marwan Hamed, and was filmed in California and featured Natalie Martinez, an actress who was featured in Fashion House a popular telenovela.
World Music Awards
Amr Diab is the only Arabic singer who was awarded the World Music Awards
three times, he received the World Music Awards as the best selling Arabic artist for his 1996 "Nour El Ain" album, his 2002 "Aktar Wahed" album and his latest "El Leila De" album released in 2007.
Diabs' fame in the music industry has led him to experiment with other forms of media, such as film. Amr's first film was released in 1989, called 'El Afareet', in which he played himself. His second movie was released in 1993, and was named Deahk We La'ab (Laughter & Fun). The film premiered in the Egyptian Film Festival in 1993. Amr played alongside International Egyptian movie star Omar Sharif
(Lawrence of Arabia
, Doctor Zhivago
), in the movie. His third and final movie, Ice Cream fi Gleem, was also released in '90's. The movie was much more successful than Deahk We La'ab. Though a promising actor, Amr Diab set his acting career aside since then and focused on his singing career.
Amr Diab has taken part in an internationally known Pepsi
commercial featuring four other pop musicians; Beyoncé Knowles
, Jennifer Lopez
, and Britney Spears
. In the US version, Enrique Iglesias
takes the role of the Caesar. But in the pan Arab version, the four American singers were retained but the male figure was replaced with Diab. This was not the first Pepsi commercial Diab has done; he also filmed commercials featuring his songs "Ana Aktar wahed" (I'm the most one), "Allem Alby" (teach my heart) and "Khad Alby Ma'aa" (He took my heart with him). Diab also appeared in a commercial along side Jennifer Lopez, singing The Troggs hit "Wild Thing".
Amr's earliest albums were released by Delta Sound. In 1996 Amr moved to Alam Al Phan were he released his greatest hits. In between 2003 and 2004, and after a long successful career with Alam El Phan, Diab officially announced the termination of his contract with Mohsen Gaber (owner of Alam El Phan). Rumors were spread around about the tense situation going on between Gaber and Diab. Then other rumors circulated that Saudi Prince Waleed Bin Talal
(owner of Rotana
) has lured Amr with offering a better deal.
In July 2008 Amr signed a new five years contract for Rotana
The release of "El Leila De" marked Amr's final effort under his previous contract with Rotana. After much speculation about which production company he would sign with next, Amr announced that he is still thinking about the offers he received, and that he is putting all his attention into TV programme featuring his early career to the point of winning the World music Awards for the 3rd time. Finally Amr renewed his contract with Rotana for another 5 years, the contract also covered future movies and the TV programme featuring Amr's early life.