There was no better way to end the exciting El Gouna Film Festival than by applauding everyone for their achievements through a catchy song, by Tayarah’s very own Ahmed El Ruby, which immediately topped the charts after its release. The celebrations continued at Biota Restaurant in Zamalek, where Tayarah hosted a stunning media day by the Nile to honour Ahmed El Ruby’s success. We spoke to the singer himself, as well as Mohamed El Bassiouny and Ramez Youssef, the co-founders of the production media hub, about the whole process and their aspirations for the future.
Tell me a bit about the song and how it came about?
El Bassiouny: Today, we’re celebrating the Sa’fa song, since it’s been a huge success. We’ve been working on content for El Gouna Film Festival for three years now. We usually work on celebrity series, but this year, we decided to come up with a song. Ahmed El Ruby has been our Creative Director for the past few years, but he’s also a songwriter and singer. We decided to use his expertise and talent to boost our success. We played our song for Amr Mansy and GFF, and they loved it, so we decided that Ahmed El Ruby will sing it. The celebrities there loved being a part of the music video.
A month ago, could you have imagined that you would be here today, celebrating the success of your song?
El Ruby: I still can’t believe that this is happening. I’m still processing the situation, which is why I don’t want to rush into creating another song.
Walk me through the process of the song.
El Ruby: Ramez Youssef gave me the Sa’fa idea. He thinks I’m talented and wanted us to work on a song for the festival’s closing ceremony and involve the celebrities at the festival in our music video. I agreed, but I was under a lot of pressure, because I only had a week to come out with a hit. A day before the deadline, I thought of the word Sa’fa (Clap), because I wanted us to thank everyone who worked on the festival and those who attended. It’s a word we generally use to congratulate each other, and it connotes celebration and happiness. As soon as I told Ramez that this is the word I want to work with, the lyrics naturally came to me. I called him the next day and played it for him, so he asked me to go over to him right away, and I played it for Amr Mansy.
Who was the celebrity who gave you the most positive feedback on your song?
El Ruby: All the celebrities in Gouna came and talked to me about how much they loved the song. Some people even called me because they wanted to be in the video, even if we hadn’t called them yet. Yousra, in particular, loved it, and we sang it together when I saw her.
Tell me a bit about the song’s success.
Youssef: We’re celebrating Sa’fa’s success today. We were trending number one right after the festival ended, with four million views on YouTube. The song played in over 15-20 countries, and we gathered everyone here today to celebrate our success with us.
What has been your favourite memory from making the song?
Youssef: When we tried to convince Mr. Samih Sawiris to dance and sing along with us. It wasn’t easy to do, but we did it (laughs).
What’s next for Tayarah?
El Bassiouny: We’ve been working on digital content for the past five years, like advertisement, shows and songs, but we’re working on more content, especially because there are more platforms to work with, in Egypt, the Arab world and internationally. In 2020, we are expecting to have different types of content on our social media and on other platforms all over the Middle East.
So, what’s next for you, Ahmed?
El Ruby: We’re working on the song we come up with annually for the end of the year. I’m going to sing it this year, like I did last year, but it’s still a work in progress, because we’re still gathering the events from the year that we’ll work into a song, but it’s going to be light and happy.
Would you consider being a professional singer?
El Ruby: It’s always been a dream of mine, since 2005. I started releasing music in 2010. So, nine years later, Sa’fa became my big break.
Did you grow tired of Sa’fa yet?
El Ruby: Kind of (laughs). I don’t want to keep focusing on it and its success for too long. I’m ready to branch out and create more songs. I want the next song to become a huge hit, if not, better.