Young, talented and beautiful; Malak El Hussainy has set an example for young aspiring artist and has made it into the audiences’ homes and hearts in no time. We sit with the singing sensation to find out about her journey, her future plans, and the new arts and culture scene in Post-Revolution Egypt.
1. How did you first discover your passion for music?
Music was always part of my life growing up. I can’t say there was a specific day in which I discovered my love for music. I’ve always been passionate about music and I’ve always listened to all types of music without favoring one over the other. I was 13 when I discovered my singing talent. My parents always had musical ears and my mum used to play the guitar; none of them are musicians, but of course that had an influence on me.
There’s been such a huge improvement in the music scene in Egypt in the past two years; the audiences are braver and want to listen to music that represents their newfound selves, and Artists are fiercer than ever.
2. Do you think underground Artists can thrive in Egypt now?
Yes, now definitely. Previously, the underground scene was dead. The revolution unleashed so many hidden and hesitant talents. There’s no limit to where you can go and what you can do. There’s been such a huge improvement in the music scene in Egypt in the past two years; the audiences are braver and want to listen to music that represents their newfound selves, and Artists are fiercer than ever. The notion of “I can’t do this” has been broken and there’s more acceptance and more facilitation; a revolution of Arts and Culture.
3. Do you think independent Artists in Egypt have it easier or harder than other countries?
I think abroad there is so much more competition. Of course it’s not easy here because you have an incredibly diverse demographic to appeal to. Personally, I sang in English when I first started and I felt like I wasn’t getting the reach I expected. You put in so much effort and hard work and stay up for nights at a time and then a 100 people listen to it. Arabic has a much better reach in Egypt. So there are challenges everywhere, but with Egypt it’s on a much bigger scale.
4. What Arabic songs have you done?
I did “Mashrou El Saada” in collaboration with several other talented Artists. Also, “Ramadan Ganaa” with Disco Misr, and I’m currently working on new Arabic songs but by myself this time.
The notion of “I can’t do this” has been broken and there’s more acceptance and more facilitation; a revolution of Arts and Culture.
5. How did your family react when you decided to become a professional Musician?
They were very lenient when i was still studying. They thought of it as a hobby and just something I’m doing for fun so they didn’t mind it. When I was signing though, my mother wasn’t very excited. She was a bit worried about where this road would lead, she was very skeptical about it being the right time or the right place for this. My father was very supportive, and now, after seeing good results, my mother is a lot more at peace with it.
6. You took part in the popular TV program X-factor. Was that helpful as an experience?
Originally I didn’t want to go, but they were persistent and I had just released my album and felt like I hadn’t reached my target audience and still needed the exposure. I had graduated university and wasn’t sure what my next step should be. At the same time the label I was signed with was falling behind. Hence, I decided to try out X-factor and I made friends for life, but the experience itself was the complete opposite of what I expected. It’s extremely fake; you don’t have creative freedom at all, you’re only allowed to sing certain hip songs. I felt like I was uncomfortable during the whole process because I’m an Artist, I can’t just follow in someone else’s footsteps and call it Art.
7. If you had the chance to live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I’m not sure, because there are two sides of me; the side that wants to explore and travel the world and the side that wants great music. The side that wants to explore would without hesitation live in India, the other side would move to New York or Sydney – good music and great weather.
8. If you had the chance to bring back a musician who passed away, who would you bring back?
“El set”. I’m not exactly a frequent listener, but I feel like Egypt was a much better place when she was around. Don’t you?
Photography by Hatem Saleh
Hair by Kriss Beauty Salons
Makeup: Dior by Wojouh
Shot at Le Riad Hotel
Top by Allaga
Pants by Fair Trade Egypt
Clutch by Fair Trade Egypt
Jewelry by Azza Fahmy