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Diab, Amr (1960–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, CONTEMPORARIES

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Amr Abd al-Basit Abd al-Aziz Diab (also Diyab) better known as Amr Diab, is an Arab singer and musician who is popular in Egypt and the Middle East. Several songs of his became hits and gained popularity in Europe and North America, as well. Diab also acted in several movies produced by Egyptians and participated in several advertisement clips with celebrities of the West such as Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Pink, and Beyoncé Knowles.

PERSONAL HISTORY

Diab was born on 11 October 1960 in Port Said, Egypt. Diab’s father Abd al-Basit Diab was the chairman of Marine Construction and Shipbuilding at the Suez Canal Corporation. Diab’s father was the first person to notice that he had a talent for singing; when Diab was only six years old his father took him to the 23 July festival at Port Said, where Diab sang the national anthem of Egypt and Egyptian radio broadcast it. During that event Diab received his first prize, which was a guitar presented to him by the governor of Port Said.

After finishing school Diab entered the Cairo Academy of Art where he studied at the music department. Upon his graduation from the academy (1986), Diab issued his first music album Ya Tariq/Hey, Road . This album became an instant success and lay the foundation for his successful career in music with fifteen more albums, all of which brought popularity and fame to him. Diab became the first Arab musician to make a video for his songs.

Diab dabbled in the film industry, as well, and his appearance in Dahahk wa La’ab/Laughter and Fun together with the Egyptian actor Omar Sharif contributed to his fame. This film, directed by the Egyptian filmmaker Tarek al-Masani, opened the Egyptian Film Festival in 1993. Diab starred in a second film, Ice Cream Fe Glim , directed by Khayri Bishara.

Diab’s album Nur al-Ayn/The Light of the Eye , released in 1996, became famous not only in the Middle East, but also in other countries of the world. The title song of the album and its English version, “Habibi/Sweetheart,” became famous in India, Europe, and North America. The album also became the best-selling disk ever produced by any Arab singer. In 1997 Diab won three awards at the Annual Arabic Festival (for Best Video, Best Song, and Artist of the Year).

In 1998 Diab received a Triple Platinum Award for the sales of Nur al-Ayn , and received the Worldwide Music Award in Monaco on 6 May 1998 under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco. The event was also attended by Gloria Estefan, Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, and Steven Seagal.

In 2000 Diab released his album Tamalli Ma’ak/Let’s Take a Walk , where he introduced Spanish guitar into his Arab music. The novelty was a big success and the title song of the album became an international hit. Diab’s other successful albums include Awaduni (Come Back to Me , 1998) and Alam Albi (My Heart’s Pain , 2003).

INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Diab revolutionized Egyptian show business in several respects, and some of his biographers have referred to him as rebellious, because he challenged everything in Middle Eastern show business, starting from the hairstyle and appearance and ending with the music style, presentation, and financial scale of his projects.

Diab’s blending of Western rhythms with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern music styles created a new music style, referred to as Mediterranean music. His song “Tamalli Ma’ak”/“Let’s Take a Walk,” wherein he introduced Spanish guitar, is a good example of the genre.

He became the first Arab singer to make a video to accompany his songs. Diab’s project Nur al-Ayn was the most expensive project in the music industry of the Middle East. The video for this song was the most lavish and expensive project in the Arab music production field and it set a new standard of video-making for his contemporaries.

THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE

Diab is one of the most popular and acclaimed Arab pop singers of the modern age. In 1997 he won three awards at the Annual Arabic Festival: one for Best Video, for Best Song, and for Best Artist of the Year. The following year Diab received a Triple Platinum Award for the sales of Nur al-Ayn and also received the Worldwide Music Award in Monaco.

LEGACY

Diab will be remembered as a giant of Egyptian and Arab pop music, one of the top male singers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries Arab world.

BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Name: Amr Diab (or Diyab)

Birth: 1960, Port Said, Egypt

Family: Married. First wife: Sherine Rida. One daughter: Nour (b. 1990). Second wife: Zina Ashour. Two sons, Abdullah and Kenzy (both b. 1999), one daughter: Jana (b. 2001)

Nationality: Egyptian

Education: Cairo Academy of Art 1986

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:

  • 1983: Releases his first album Ya Tariq
  • 1993: Stars with Omar Sharif in the movie Dahahk wa La ab/Laughter and Fun
  • 1996: Nur al-Ayn became an international hit
  • 1997: Wins three awards at the Annual Arabic Festival
  • 1998: Receives Triple Platinum Award for the sales of Nur al-Ayn , receives the Worldwide Music Award
  • 2000: Releases Tamalli Ma’ak , blending Spanish and Arabic music styles

CONTEMPORARIES

Born in Cairo, Hani Shakir (1952–) is a popular Egyptian male singer and one of the most famous Arab singers of recent decades. He studied music at the prestigious Egyptian Conservatoire. His first big hit, “Halwa Ya Duniya” (It’s a wonderful life), came in 1972. He has issued more than twenty albums since then.

Born in Kafrun, Syria, George Wassouf (1961–) moved to Beirut at a young age and became a Lebanese citizen. He became hugely popular in the Arab world when he was only sixteen years old, earning accolades for his fine voice. He has released more than thirty albums.

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