Ramzi interview

Lebanese-Brit singer is in UAE to promote new album

Interview, Hot seat, The Knowledge

We hear you’re in London, just about to board a plane to Dubai. What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get here?
Well, I haven’t actually slept because I had a performance here last night and I’ve been doing a lot of preparation for this trip, so I’d like to have a rest first! But when we land we’re getting picked up by a limo and taken straight to interviews. Maybe I’ll get to rest afterwards. There’s an Iranian restaurant I went to last time I was in the UAE – we sat out on a balcony and the food was delicious. I can’t remember the name of it, but I’ll try to find that again.

It’s getting a bit hot for eating on a balcony...
Everybody always complains about the weather in Dubai, but I always love visiting thanks to the heat.

You’re used to the Middle Eastern heat though, right?
Yeah, I spent a few years in Lebanon growing up, and a long time in Nigeria. In fact, there’s a song on my latest album that features African drums, and the entire chorus is sung in Pidgin, a Nigerian dialect that I speak fluently.

You also incorporate Arabic lyrics in many of your songs. Why is that?
It’s because of my Lebanese heritage, and also because we’re living in a time right now where the Middle East is in the news a lot, but its culture is often ignored. I love the Arabic language and Arabic music, so I’m doing my bit to spread both.

Your latest single is called ‘My Wife’. Who was that inspired by?
It was inspired by all the times I’ve been in relationships and I’ve thought about settling down. I like to write songs about things that are relatable, and when the concept came to me I realised there aren’t many wedding songs – most guys have thought about proposing and most women have dreamed about their perfect dress.

Speaking of weddings, if you could hypothetically tie the knot with any celebrity, who would it be?
It’s hard to say, because it’s really about personality, isn’t it?

Let’s just go on looks…
Well, I’ve always rather liked Jessica Alba.

You’ve collaborated with the likes of Taio Cruz and Westlife. Who would you most like to work with in the future?
I’d love to work with Bruno Mars, because he’s quite similar to me – he’s a multi-instrumentalist and he writes and produces his own stuff. I love that an artist with that level of talent is getting recognition.
Ramzi plays at Etoile at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi on Thursday 19. His new album, Touch The Sky, is available now in Virgin Megastores.

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