Music

Sherine Abdel-Wahab Reflects on Her Two-Decade Career & Connecting With Fans

Sherine Abdel-Wahab’s illustrious musical career has flourished over two decades, defined by a versatile body of work that resonates deeply with audiences. With a portfolio of hits, Sherine Abdel-Wahab’s music continues to captivate hearts, dominating playlists across diverse streaming platforms and scaling the heights of the Billboard Arabia charts. Sherine’s impressive achievements and triumphs have paved the way for her to clinch a prestigious Global Force Award at Billboard’s 2024 Women in Music ceremony.

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Since the launch of Billboard Arabia Hot 100 and Artist 100 charts in late 2023, Sherine has dominated the Top 100 Artists chart for eight out of 12 weeks, holding the No. 1 spot for the majority of that time and consistently ranking within the top three positions during the remaining weeks. Additionally, her presence on the Hot 100 chart has been formidable, with six of her songs maintaining a spot for a continuous 12-week period.

The lasting success of Sherine’s tracks like “Kalam Einieh (Words of His Eyes),” which was the No. 1 song on Billboard Arabia’s Hot 100 when the chart released twelve weeks ago, and still holds the No. 5 slot, and the presence of several other tracks from her album Nassay (A Person Who Forgets), are a testament to Sherine’s ability to make timeless music. Meanwhile, her song, “Sabri Aleel (My Patience is Wearing Thin),” has persisted on Billboard Arabia’s charts and streaming platforms, where it continues to reign supreme even two decades after its debut. Meanwhile, the song has garnered viral attention on TikTok, finding new life by captivating a global audience, while transcending language barriers and cultural divide.

“I am thrilled that both my old and new songs are loved by listeners,” says Sherine. “They have embraced everything I’ve poured my heart into from day one. Seeing my tracks still topping the charts after twenty years is truly amazing! That was my dream and it feels great seeing it come true.”

Sherine’s musical journey is marked by a prolific discography and numerous collaborations. In 2005, she released her album Lazem Ayeesh (I Must Live) with Free Music Company, featuring hits like “Ala Bali” (On My Mind) and “Qal Saaban Alieh” (Everyone Feels Sorry for Him). Transitioning to Rotana, she dropped Batamenak (I Reassure You) in 2008, followed by Habeit (I Loved) in 2009 and Esaal Alaya (Ask About Me) in 2012, featuring standout tracks like “Beh Tehky Fe Eh?” (What Are You Talking About?) and “Wel Nabi Law Gani” (I Swear If He Comes to Me). Her sixth album, Ana Kteer (I’m a Lot), released in 2014, included memorable songs like “W Meen Ikhtar” (Who Chose?) and “Ya Layali” (Oh Nights!). Sherine also contributed to the soundtrack of the drama series Tareky (My Way), collaborating with poets and composers.

In 2016, she teamed up with Hossam Habib for the duet “Kol Ma Aghanni” (Everytime I Sing). Sherine’s 2018 album Nassay (A Person Who Forgets) garnered millions of views with diverse tracks such as “Kazbain” (The Liars) and “Al Watar Al Hassas” (The Sensitive String). Returning to Rotana, she released hit singles like “El Hob Khedaa” (Love is a Trick) in 2019, “Mish Qadd Al-Hawa” (I Can’t Afford to Love) in 2020, and “Kollaha Ghayrana” (All of Them Are Jealous) and “Khasimt Al-Num” (I Forgot About Sleep) in 2021.

Sherine attests much of her success to the ability to keep things simple, and real, saying, “It’s all about keeping it real. I’m just me, and that authenticity is what’s helped me connect with fans. Ultimately, it’s their love and support that fuels my success.”

About a decade ago, Sherine teamed up with global hip-hop star Nelly for the duet “Just a Dream.” The song became a massive hit upon its release and recently resurfaced on streaming platforms and social media. She recalls it fondly: “To be honest, Nelly and I hit it off right away. Despite my limited English, we managed to understand each other. I remember we were backstage and I really liked his mic, so I asked him if I could borrow it when we’re singing on stage, and he gladly gave it away!”

Sherine’s virality isn’t limited to the charts. In recent years her songs have found new life on social media, particularly through the remixes of several DJs, chief among them DJamil. In July 2023, DJamil mashed up Sherine’s “Eh Eh” with Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” clocking nearly 20 million views, followed by “Sabry Aleel” mixed with Busta Rhymes “I Know What You Want” in September 2023, which went on to amass upwards of 34 million views.

When revisiting some of the pivotal moments that left a lasting impact on her journey, she reminisced about her first performance on the legendary stage of Baalbek in Lebanon, and shared some insights into her special connection with the Lebanese audience, whom she considers a tough nut to crack.

“Standing on the same stage that Umm Kulthum graced 48 years earlier as the first Egyptian artist to perform in Baalbek was surreal,” says Sherine. “It felt like the Lebanese were not just welcoming me, but also paying tribute to me, and that was an incredible feeling. It’s moments like these that make all the hard work worth it.”

Last month, Sherine dropped her latest single “El Dahab,” which serves as an exciting preview of her highly anticipated new album. Fans have been eagerly awaiting this release, especially following her last album Nassay in 2018. Sherine graciously shared some details about what to expect from her upcoming album: “The new album has some great songs all set, but I’ve decided to wait a bit with Ramadan approaching. After Eid, I’ll start releasing them one by one. Times have changed, you know – it’s all about the singles now.”

As for the Global Force award she received at Billboard’s 2024 Women in Music, Sherine said she couldn’t be happier about such a global nod to the impact of her music, especially knowing that even the younger generations, including her own daughters, have taken to listening to her songs.

“My girls go to an English school and didn’t know much about my songs,” she says. “But recently, my daughter Hana began listening to my music and it’s incredible to see that I’m striking a chord with kids their age and the young generation who listens exclusively to English-language music. It’s a real thrill knowing they’re enjoying my Arabic melodies.”

She adds: “This recognition is huge for me. Seeing my daughters witness this global honor brings me immense joy, and it means a lot to me knowing they’re proud of their mom. At the end of the day, my fans and my daughters mean the world to me.”

Sherine Abdel Wahab
Sherine Abdel Wahab

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