Fady Wanas

Getting the Party Started

Egyptian-American saxophonist Fady Wanas’ musical journey has taken him all the way from graduating from the renowned Cairo Conservatoire to Los Angeles, California where he has been captivating audiences with his music for over a decade. From his memorable performances at the Apple Hill Chamber Music Course to his recent participation in eniGma’s 10th celebration of Arab Glamour & Success in Los Angeles, Fady’s talent, dedication, and disciplined approach have propelled him forward in his musical career. eniGma’s Farida Elserty had the chance to chat with the young musician about his musical trajectory, his inspirations and his experience with eniGma’s Arab Glamour & Success event in Beverly Hills

Let’s start with a brief overview of your start as a musician.
I am Fady Wanas, an Egyptian-American saxophonist, living in Los Angeles for over 12 years. My musical journey began at Egypt’s prestigious Cairo Conservatoire in the Academy of Arts, where I specialised in the clarinet. Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of performing in both Egypt and the United States, immersing myself in music from different cultures.

How did you become interested in playing music?
I started playing during my final years of high school when I got my hands on a saxophone and joined the esteemed Boghdady Jazz Band, one of Egypt’s top musical bands at the time. But it really all started when I attended a concert by the legendary King Mohamed Mounir. Witnessing the saxophonist accompanying him, I was captivated and knew that I wanted to be creating mesmerising melodies like him.

Who are some of your musical influences or inspirations?
There is a slew of artists who have left an indelible mark on me. In Egypt, I will always pay tribute to the incomparable Samir Sorour. On an international scale, I love Kenny G and Marco Parker.

What drew you to the style of music you play?
During my time at the conservatory, I was bound by its rules, namely, to focus on classical music. After graduating, I fell in love with playing Arabic music on the saxophone, inspired by my role model, Samir Sorour.

What do you find most challenging about your instrument?

The most challenging aspect of music, in general, is the endless path of learning it. The saxophone presents its own set of challenges, requiring constant dedication and perseverance to keep up with evolving musical styles.

Do you have any favourite pieces in your repertoire?
To be honest, some of my favourite songs to play are the timeless masterpieces of Abdel Halim Hafez and Umm Kalthoum.

How do you feel music has impacted your life overall?

Music has been the defining force that has shaped me to become the person I am today. It can make me feel moody sometimes and I struggle financially on other days, but the best feeling is making people happy doing what I love.

As a musician, how do you define success?
Success, to me, extends far beyond mere financial gain or fleeting fame. True success lies in continually challenging oneself and consistently striving to surpass yesterday’s achievements with every new day.

How were the preparations for eniGma’s 10th celebration of Arab Glamour & Success in Los Angeles?
The preparations for eniGma’s 10th celebration of Arab Glamour & Success in Los Angeles were quite an adventure. I received the invitation a mere three days before the event, while I was in Egypt at the time. Determined to make it, I grabbed my saxophone and practised tirelessly at my cousin’s house while awaiting my flight back to LA. Even during a 15-hour layover in Abu Dhabi, I found myself immersed in practice at the airport. Finally, after a grueling 41-hour journey, I arrived in LA, where I hastily freshened up and headed straight to the event. Being part of eniGma’s celebration was an absolute honour, and I cherished the opportunity to be part of it.