Syrian pop star Mohammed Al Majzoub was only 16 when he won the second season of ‘X Factor Arabia’ back in 2007.
At the time, he transitioned from anonymity to teenaged fame virtually overnight, his face plastered across national TV. He signed with Rotana and released his debut album ‘Hann Albi’. But the road ahead was bumpy. Al Majzoub eventually left Rotana and in 2018, just over a decade since his big win, signed with Universal Music MENA, looking unrecognisable to his younger self.
On January 15, the 28-year-old singer brings his live show to Dubai at the sixth stop of the Live at Aloft Hotels Homecoming Tour, at the Aloft Palm Jumeirah. Ahead of the show, he filled us in on the biggest lessons he’s had to learn so far — and his proudest achievements to date.
How did your life change after winning the ‘X Factor’?
Well, that was the transition point in my life! At a very young age, it was somehow overwhelming. Especially that at that time, not many similar shows were happening and the chance was one of a lifetime. Prior to the competition, I was just a talent, trying to seek the right opportunities, the right platforms to leverage; following the win, I felt that all was falling in the right place and I started to have a better vision of what is coming ahead.
How was your personality as a child? How did it change as you grew up?
When I was a child, and like all others of my age, I had less to worry about in terms of do’s and don’ts; I used to act freely and spontaneously. Since I started my music career at a very young age — I was 15 years old — I had to change lots of my habits as people started to recognise me in public after winning the title. I started realising that now it is a different approach that I need to take, the way I deal with my surroundings, circle of friends and the new entourage and acquaintances I am exposed to; even the way I look! I would say that I became much more alert about what is happening around me … and I became way more responsible in handling matters whether personally or professionally, always keeping in mind my future as an artist and the respect I should constantly pay to my fans who made me reach where I am.
When did your interest in music start? When did it become more of a hobby and why?
I was six years old when I started to sing, of course it was within my close communities, like family, school and friend gatherings. I always felt it was much more than just a hobby. Luckily, I had my parents’ sincere support and encouragement all the way; they even believed in me more than I did in myself at a young age.
Did you feel encouraged by others to pursue music, or discouraged?
Greatly! Starting with my parents, extended family, friends, even neighbours. Also, one of the greatest support that I will always admire and recognise was from my school. We had lots of artistic activities and they used to encourage all students to grow their unique talents whether in music or other forms. I remember the competitions and contests we used to do and I did win a singing competition once and they sent me to Egypt to represent my school and country in the regional contest… and I did win it, by the way.
You’ve gone through many changes and worked hard to get here. What are you most proud of?
Indeed, it was not an easy ride yet with so many things to be proud of. I can say it is the identity I was able to own with my voice and how my fans and listeners can recognise me from the first note. [And] to have joined a multinational record label such as Universal Music, it was another milestone that I am extremely proud of.
What’s next for you? Can fans expect a new album?
A lot in the making, currently. I’m recording multiple tracks that are expected to drop this year. An album is always to be considered but for now I am more focusing on releasing singles.
Guests can register for two free tickets through the Aloft website; the show is 21+ only.