He’s back. After announcing he’s joining the top notch judges’ table for the reboot of the X Factor reality show’s Arab version, Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi is all set to launch his new album.
In an exclusive interview to be aired on Arabic station Hayat 95.6 on Sunday, the Khor Fakkan-born superstar spoke exclusively to ‘Drive Time’ presenter Eyab Saleh on his show ‘Mishwar’ to discuss the controversies surrounding the X Factor Arabia, his upcoming album and rumours that he might be getting hitched soon.
Q: Tell us about your experience so far on the X Factor?
A: The X Factor is a new experience for me and all the other judges in the show. What I liked about my role as a judge is that we get to give advice to the contestants and see them improve as the show progresses. I am happy with the experience so far and I am especially happy with the support that the show is receiving from the Arab media, whether it is from Egypt, Lebanon or the UAE. I wish all the contestants good luck, they are all moving forward in the right direction.
Q: There is a rumour circulating on the internet that the contestants selected in the first phases of the X Factor were by the judges and that Wael Kafoury revealed this information. Is there any truth to this?
A: This is a sensitive issue because it is meant to remain within the show’s family, so I prefer that it remains between us and not be spoken about through the media. But if you ask me personally, if we attended the initial auditions where the talents were chosen, my answer is no. We were chosen in the later phases of the show because we were still contemplating and studying the offer and whether to accept the invitation or not. At least that was the case with me personally.
Among the contestants chosen, some had nice voices that were more advanced than others. But what is nice about the show is that it is not just about competing but also about being mentored and working on your talent so that you improve. At the beginning of the show, the majority of the people watching said that the contestants do not have amazing voices and I agree. I think that at the beginning, there were only one or two good singers but today, we are almost in the middle of the show and there are five to six singers that have grown and can be depended on to perform on a stage. When we were still in the audition phases, I was a bit sceptical about the voices. However, now I am happy with the outcomes and the positive feedback from audience all over the Arab world.
Q: Let us move away from conventional questions for a bit, I want to ask you about ‘Habibi Barchaloni’ (‘My lover is a Barcelona fan’, a popular song performed by Al Jassmi). Which football league are you supporting?
A: You asked an unconventional question, so I will give you an unconventional answer. I love football in general but to tell you the truth, I am not deeply involved and I do not favour a particular team. What I do is if I am watching a match and see that for example that the majority of the people are with Barcelona, I cheer for the opposing team just to create excitement. Though I am not very much into football, the idea of the song really drew me because football leagues are the talk of the town and as singers, we sing for the people and what interests them. I noticed that the majority of the people are either with Barcelona or Madrid, so I wanted to join them in their passion in a playful way and the song was received positively by people, especially among children.
Q: Back to a more traditional question: Tell us about the album that you are now working on. When will it be released?
A: The album is 60 per cent ready, it is called ‘Seghar Ekbar’ (The young and the old) and it will include songs for both children and adults. The songs in the album will have a mixture of accents, including the Egyptian and Gulf accents. I plan on working on the remaining 40 per cent of the album after I am done filming for the X Factor.
Q: Did you collaborate with new names for your upcoming album or are you collaborating with the same people?
A: I will have the same collaborations in addition to new collaborations because every year, you meet new talent and new blood that come up with new ideas. Whether they are new composers, poets or music distributors, I keep an eye out for new collaborations because I want to stay up-to-date with what is new.
Q: The final question is a bit personal; I read somewhere that Hussain Al Jassmi is going to get married soon. Is this true?
A: Whenever someone asks me in an interview if I plan on getting married, I always reply that ‘yes, God willing I will’. But I still have not decided when or reveal that there is a specific person in my life. Like any other man, I would like to find the right person and get married but I still did not decide when or who but if God’s willing, it will be soon.
Q: What would you like to tell the audience?
A: I would like to thank my fans for being by my side at all times. I would like to send them a message that fan admiration is priceless and I am very happy with my fan’s support. I hope that it will remain that way.
With inputs by Noor Nazzal, Gulf News intern