When Abu Met Yousra: How Talat Da'at Came to Dominate Egyptian Pop Culture
We talk to the man of the hour about the massive success of Talat Da'at, his plans for the next big viral song, and where his peculiar moniker came from in another #SceneSessions.
Let's face it; no one listens to Arabic pop songs anymore (unless you're a distressed hormonal teenager, that is). From cheesy beats you could swear you've heard a million times before, to over-dramatised lyrics on par with Mexican soap operas, it seems like Egyptian pop has fallen out of favour among the cool kids, who'd rather be blasting the latest Drake track or some European DJ's epic sets.
In early October, however, one particular hit song hijacked everyone's attention and got even the harshest non-believers to sing along at the top of their lungs; Talat Da'at. The unique collaboration between superstar Yousra and the up and coming artist Mohamed Abul Enein (aka Abu) was thrown in the public sphere accompanied by what's going down in history as the ultimate all-star music video. Needless to say, the song went crazy viral, garnering over two million views over just a few days, steadily growing in popularity over the past few weeks, reaching a staggering 22 million views on YouTube, making it the most watched Arabic song of the month."It just takes over your heart without waiting for permission," Yousra explains on the massive success the song met. "If you're just sitting there and the song plays, you'll find your entire body moving to it because it's such a sweet and spontaneous story."
Similar to the song, the process of creating it was also quite spontaneous. El Gouna Film Festival was where Abu met with famed writer Tamer Habib. After writing the song which Abu had already composed the music for, the duo reached out to Yousra as they felt her persona fits the feel-good energy of the song. Within 24 hours, Yousra was in the studio recording her part. "The first time I meet Yousra was when she stepped in the studio to record her," says Abu. "Since the moment we met, I've never felt that she's that big of a star because of how humble and graceful she is."
The groundbreaking hit song wasn't, however, Abu's first popular song. Back in 2012, as a successful corporate employee, Abu released a song 'El Nas Mabtr7amsh' (People Don't Have Mercy) and it also went viral, landing him in a live performance on the ultra popular TV show El Bernameg. After that moment in the spotlight, Abu decided to quit his day job and pursue his real passion full-time. "My journey was challenging and full of obstacles but I've been fortunate to work with legends the likes of Ahmed Adaweya and Tamer Habib, which has pushed my singing career forward pretty quickly," explains Abu.
The man of the hour doesn't intend to stop at fifteen minutes of fame. For the next few months, Abu is going to be releasing a song every six weeks or so, he explains, after which he will compile them all in a physical album titled 'Sharbat'.
"I'm always looking to collaborate with other artists whether its in singing or songwriting," elucidates Abu, adding that he never wishes to be the kind of artist who has to does everything himself as he feels collaborations always add a secret ingredient to the recipe of success of any work of art. "You're a servant to the product you're trying to create. I will always seek to collaborate on every level."
Video by MO4Network's #MO4Productions
Videography by Fredrico Corno
Photo shoot produced by Carousel
Fashion Director: Gehad Abdalla
Fashion Coordinator: Omar Fadda
Photographer: Batool Al Daawi
Gaffers: Kamal Tarek | Mohamed safwat
MUA: Sherif Helaly
Hair Stylist: Taha Abd El Wahab
Wardrobe: Maison 69 Store | Kojak Studio | Baraka Optics
Jewellery: Dima Jewellery
Shot on location La Maison Bleue, El Gouna