With one hit after the other, the 30 year-old Moroccan singer, Saad Lamjarred, has become one of the most famous young singers in the Arab region and even internationally. His latest single Lm3allem (The Master) earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for garnering over 100 million views on YouTube in just three months after its release. Today Lm3allem has over 250 million views in just 10 months. Lamjarred comes from a renowned artistic family, his father is the famous Moroccan singer Bachir Abdou and his mother is the Moroccan actress Nezha Regragui. However, he refused their help and was determined to succeed on his own.
Lamjarred’s rise to stardom at a young age didn’t make him self-centered or conceited. He is a sensitive, humble person who always tries to be kind to others. He also has a special sense of humor, which he seems to have taken from his mother. eniGma’s Yosra Shohayeb sat down with the Middle East’s new heartthrob to discuss his impressive journey to success and his future plans.
What do you think is behind the amazing success of your two songs, Lme3allem and Nti Baghya Wahed (You Want a Man)?
We were optimistic that Nti Baghya Wahed would be a hit in Morocco and the Gulf; however, we didn’t expect that it would reach Egypt and Lebanon as well. We were shocked at the amount of views on YouTube; the numbers were hard to believe. I’m honoured as a Moroccan and an Arab that my songs are growing extremely fast in popularity.
As for Lm3allem, it was a great challenge for me because many said that my success wouldn’t continue and that it would pass. I had to prove people wrong and to focus on choosing the right song to continue my journey after the success of the songs Mal Habeebi Malo (What’s Wrong with my Love), Sallina, and Nti Baghya Wahed. I chose Lme3allem because it’s a word everyone uses in Morocco as well as on the Egyptian street, so I felt that it could be a success in the Arab world. Afterwards, we were surprised that it surpassed the Arab world, and that it reached an international audience; it reached countries I never imagined it could reach, including Korea.
How does it feel to make it internationally? Did you expect that to happen?
It feels that we are producing something that is actually good as a team; that we are producing something that is studied; something that is done with love and sincerity. It feels like we are moving in the right direction and I hope that my next song will reach the same level.
What’s the song closest to your heart?
Each song has a special meaning for me. For example, Nti Baghya Wahed is the first hit that opened the door for me in the Arab world, whereas Sellina is the first hit. Nti Baghya Wahed is special to me because it was produced and filmed in funny situations and we had so much fun doing it. There’s a scene where we were dancing behind-the-scenes; we included that in the video clip to be closer to our fans. It was produced with love and fun, and that is why it is very special to my heart.
Do you plan on producing a song in another language?
The idea is definitely on the table; however, the choice must be correct in order to maintain the same success level the other songs reached.
What about a duo with an international star?
For the time being, I’m really focused on my singles. I want to work on building a better name for myself and reach fans abroad with my own effort and not with the help of another star. After reaching the success I desire on my own, then I can think of a duo for the sake of art.
Is there an album planned?
From my personal experience, I’m convinced that albums are hectic; and many songs don’t get the proper appreciation they deserve and get lost amidst other songs. With Nti Baghya Wahed, where I put all my energy and focus on the song and video clip, the result was great. I therefore, decided to produce singles and focus on them. Maybe I’ll think of an album after two years, but nothing for the time being.
Why do you produce all your songs yourself?
I produce everything for myself; it allows me to have control and a say in everything. It is my product 100%. The team is available whenever I need them. I have a say in the lyrics, composition, melody, and everything. Being in control helps me to produce a hit with great quality.
Coming from an artistic family, did that contribute in you wanting to become a singer?
I grew in an artistic family. My father is a renowned singer in Morocco, and my mother is a well-known comedian actress in Morocco as well. I benefited from that fact a lot, because our home was always filled with music and art. I was inspired by both of them, and fell in love with singing and playing instruments. With the help of my father, I learnt to play the piano and drums. He taught me how to listen to the right songs and I grew on the tunes of great singers including Abdel Wahab, Mohamed Fawzy, and Abdel Halim. I discovered my talent when I was four-years-old. My father told me, “If you can sing and play an instrument simultaneously, you will become number one.” When my father tells me something, I take it as it is and I follow his advice. I spent years learning to do both at once, and succeeded.
How come you didn’t depend on your parents in your career, even though it would have been much easier for you?
It was a principle in my life. I was always stubborn in this part of my life in particular; I needed to make it on my own. Since I was a teenager, I was determined to travel to the United States and I pushed my parents to approve that idea. Although I was just 17 years old, I decided to depend on myself. I traveled to the United States and stayed at one of my mother’s friends for three months. Afterwards, I decided to focus on my dream, so I moved out and stayed with some friends. In the beginning, I worked as a waiter and at several other jobs until I found the job I was looking for. I became a singer, in various restaurants, cafes, and night clubs. Afterwards, I started singing at weddings and doing private concerts. By the time I was 24 years old I had my own clients and was focusing on singing at weddings. My goal was to collect money to produce my own songs. After six years, I produced my first music video, Wa’adini (Promise Me). Before the song’s launch with one day, I needed money and I didn’t have any left. I decided to do something I had never done before; I borrowed from my friends to proceed with my music video. Fortunately, when the video was out it became a hit in Morocco. My parents were very proud of me. I used to tell them that I was fine, when I really was not. I suffered a lot while living abroad. I depended on myself and I was glad to do so. This experience made me stronger as a person and a singer. Success felt much better after the effort I had exerted.
You have gone into acting before; tell us about that experience. Do you plan on giving it a try again?
I loved the experience of acting. I was a little scared and didn’t want to ruin what I reached. I took my mother’s advice and gave it all my power. I discovered that I love acting. I’m currently working on a movie with Egyptian actor Mohamed Ramadan and on another Moroccan horror movie. I’m excited for both movies and can’t wait for their release. My fans are excited as well to see me acting.
ART DIRECTION & STYLING
Capital Business Park
Mahmoud Abd El Salam