The5 return with mature romance ballad Nekbar Sawa

The boy band’s Egyptian singer Ahmed Hassan tells us that the new track is the sound of the group coming together

From left, clockwise: BMD, Said Karmouz, Ahmed Hassan, Adel Echibi and Kazem Chamas of The 5. Courtesy of MBC Group
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The5 returned last week with their latest single Nekbar Sawa. The track marks a new direction for the Arab world's biggest boy band. Having stormed the charts with pop-stomper La Bezzaf last year, the pan-Arab quintet change gears with the romantic ballad Nekbar Sawa. Egyptian member, Ahmed Hassan, says the song was in the making for years, and shows the group are increasingly becoming more comfortable in the studio.

Do you think this original ballad marks a new chapter for the group?

AI think it is a step forward for the group. As you know, the band is made up of five people who came together, and each have their own style. I think every song we have released shows a different side of us. Our latest song, Nekbar Sawa, stands out because it is a new way for us. It is a romantic song about love and growing up.

Does the song address any of the relationships from within the band?

I wouldn't say so. And that's because as a group, we made a decision of not really making music that talks about us. We like to sing for the people and tell stories, and not just saying what is in our life. I think the song is more general, it is about growing older and having dreams.

The song has all of the boys sounding their smoothest and most polished. Is it the sound of The5 getting used to recording process?

Absolutely. You know, it has been three years since the group came together, and I would say that it has been a journey, both emotional and artistic. Day by day it gets easier. You don't become as stressed and nervous as before. You begin to understand how the studio works and we end up doing things faster. I feel good about that. It shows that we are growing as musicians.

Before you joined The5, you were an accomplished singer in your own right. How has the group contributed to you as an artist?

It has been interesting for me. Once I joined the group, I really started paying more attention to western music. Because I would say that my taste before then was more towards Arabic music – more romantic and slow. I had the idea for this song as long as five years ago, so I am glad that we managed to finally get this song done and released. I think I sound the most natural when on this song. If people want to know the style of music I like, and how I sound, I would tell them to listen to this song because that is me.

What do you miss most about your life before The5?

Definitely privacy. Since the band started, we have never really had that same level of privacy. What I missed the most is spending more time with my family – that beautiful time at the home. We are currently travelling a lot – right now we are in Dubai – and for me, I find that part difficult. So when I get home, I just stay there. I rarely go out. I just like being there and spending time with the family.

It has been three years since the group was formed as part of the 2015 season of X-Factor. How would you describe the relationships within the band?

As days go by, we understand and listen to each other more. So the relationships in the band always get better. Also, I think what makes it possible is that we basically live and work together nearly every day, so you get know more about people that way. 

A few television talent shows are beginning their audition process for aspiring singers. What will be your advice to those taking part, or those who want to launch a career in music?

I would tell them to go for it. There is going to be a time where dreaming of something is not enough. You have to go out there and take the opportunity. Work hard on yourself and give it the best that you can.


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