Mohamed Al Shehhi is a relatively new voice taking on an old song.
The Emirati, who grew up in Ras Al Khaimah and began accruing an audience through his YouTube channel, is well known for his poetic numbers and Khaleeji — style of music. Traditionally, the genre weaves stories, music and theatre into a fantastic telling.
In the case of Al Shehhi, the art form takes on a new dimension ù a confluence of eastern and western sounds and instruments.
The UAE native drew fame with the songs Hirati and Samti, which he went on to sing at the Dubai Opera in 2017. Since then, his love for written word and music has only grown.
His tracks include Sket Anak, Narhm and Ma Araa.
Ahead of his show on December 6 at Al Seef, he told Gulf News in a written interview what the audience can expect at his show and why it’s important that you listen to his tales.
What can the audience expect?
I have different styles when I go with the band; different beats, different ways I can sing. Hopefully the audience will witness something great, and we will do our best to deliver a great performance for the people attending.
How did you decide which songs to sing at Al Seef?
I’ve selected the songs based on what’s popular with my fans. This time, I’ll start with patriotic songs because of National Day and after that, I will sing my new releases and my older, popular songs.
When did you discover your love for Khaleeji music? What has influenced your career path?
I come from an artistic family. My uncle was a singer [called] Jaber Jassem, from the good old generation. The beauty of Khaleeji music is that they have unique melodies that touch the heart and make you feel the music, even if you don’t understand the lyrics. I encourage people who can do the same thing in a different way, with their unique touch. Therefore, I mix Khaleeji songs with a traditional and western pop style.
I’m a big fan of the late Talal Maddah. I learned a lot from him, so my passion for khaleeji songs started from his songs. He’s a great role model for all artists in the GCC and the Middle East.
Why do you think it’s important people are exposed to this kind of music?
The lyrics, melody, and the artist’s performance and passion are the main elements of successful songs– and without this mixture the song will be missing a lot - and I’m always careful when it comes to selecting songs as I want to deliver extraordinary songs that will last forever.
Where would you like to see Khaleeji music in 10 years? Where do you see yourself?
Heading into 2020, I see Khaleeji artists make significant efforts to make this style international. This style of music resonates with people who don’t even understand Arabic - they love the music and style. This is my ambition - to take this style of music and make it global.
Who are you listening to on your ipod/Spotify/YouTube account?
I like to listen to old and new Khaleeji and western songs ranging from Maihd Hamad, Hussain Al Jassmi, Rashed Al Majid, Abdul Majeed Abdullah, Jaber Jassim. However, I enjoy listening to older, traditional songs more. I also listen to western music – in particular I’m still a big fan of the boy band Blue.
Don't miss it!
Mohamed Al Shehhi will perform at Al Seef - which is also the first public concert to be held in the area - from 9pm onwards on December 6. The show is free.