Hussain Al Jassmi’s latest single is a royal affair.
Released on Sunday, Darb Al She’er finds the Emirati pop star singing lyrics written by Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.
Written in the Nabati style of poetry and under the royal’s pen name Fazza, Darb Al She’er (translated to The Path of Poetry) is an ode to the creative process with all of its insights and challenges.
“My path and the path of poetry are one, not destined to be separated, whether its atmosphere is wrapped within clouds or dust,” the song opens.
“I wish the pen knows its limits every time it sees the paper. Had it not been for the paper, the inkwell would have wept over the pen.”
Al Jassmi delivers the words in his soulful tenor and over vibrant Khaleeji pop arrangements provided by Emirati composer and singer Fayez Al Saeed.
This is not the first time the trio has collaborated with Sheikh Hamdan.
In 2014, Al Jassmi was part of a large cast of Emirati singers, including Ahlam, Mehad Hamad and Balqees, that performed Youm Al Ezz (Day of Pride).
With lyrics by Sheikh Hamdan, the nine-minute composition celebrates the UAE's dynamism and leadership.
Al Saeed has put many of these words into melodies over the years.
In an interview with The National, the Emirati artist recalled how Sheikh Hamdan approached him to collaborate after being impressed by his 1996 debut album Sa'at Wa'ed (The Hour of Promise).
Since then, the duo released a series of high-profile tracks performed by some of the biggest voices in Arab popular music.
Highlights include Syrian singer Assala Nasri's involvement in 2004's Rouh wa Rouh (Just Go Away); 2005's Limany Fi Mahjir Ayounak (Hold Me In Your Eyes) featuring Emirati singer Rashid Menhali; and 2016’s Sahet Al Sha'ar (The Poet's Space), featuring a large cast of artists led by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Abdu.
Al Saeed puts his enduring partnership with Sheikh Hamdan down to their dedication.
“When we are working together it is not a sentimental process," he said. "We both have the ability to be forthright with each other. It is that honesty that has been responsible for building our relationship.
“And, while Sheikh Hamdan is a great poet, he also has great taste and an ear when it comes to music composition. He tells me what I can do to improve the song."