Turkish, Arabic musicians collaborate on a song
Following his career as a certified football player, Ragıb Narin is now performing his own songs as a young musician and is on the way to become a successful artist in Turkish pop music thanks to his vocal timbre and unique musical style.
All song in his album “Yok,” which was released on Sept. 16 by Pasion Turca, have been written by this young musician, who was born to an Arab mother and Turkish father.
Later, on Sept. 30, Narin and Lebanese singer Rima Yussef made a surprise for their fans with the Turkish and Arabic version of the song “Yok Yok” in this album by Universal Music Mena. Arabic lyrics of the song were written by Rima Yussef and music production was realized by Sleiman Damien.
The duo replied to questions about this new duet project.
How did this project, which has become very popular in Türkiye and the Arabic music world, start?
Narin: In my career, I always had a desire to make a duet with a foreign singer. I wanted my music to meet with more listeners not only in my country but also in different parts of the world. In terms of musical tastes in the Middle East, it has similarities with Turkish. After making the song “Yok,” Sinan Ufuk Nergis, the CEO of Pasion Turca, asked me if I wanted to realize my dream with this song and then we started to work with Universal Music Mena in making a duet with Rima Yussef, one of the most loved and successful names in the Middle East.
What kind of reactions did you get abroad?
Narin: Collaborating with a professional team is very important. A team of 100 people worked on the duet project from the recording to the release of the song and the process afterwards. Music also connects countries and cultures. I think our mission is to share something together. It doesn’t matter what country or language it is.
How did you decide to shoot the music video on a plane? What would you say about the synergy that you create with Yussef?
Narin: We became very good friends in a short time and supported each other when making the new lyrics and performing the song in two different languages. We even worked on the pronunciation of the Turkish parts together. She contributed a lot to the project with her positive energy. Rima is a very special singer who has a very good voice. Singing with her was a very special experience. Rima came to Istanbul and two beautiful music videos for both the Turkish and Turkish & Arabic version were shot by director Murad Küçük. I created a trend with the videos that I shot in airplanes on TikTok. My videos have been watched more than 150 million times in total so far and we wanted to tell this story to people on the plane. I am grateful to her for taking part in the Turkish version of the song as an actress as well.
What were the secrets of being successful?
Narin: I got very good reactions that motivated me a lot. It has been released in 25 Arabic-speaking countries from Egypt to Lebanon and reached more than one million people in the first five days on digital music platforms. Now the video has been watched around 5 million times. Many of my fans abroad send their best wishes and I’m planning to go on a promotional tour that will start from Lebanon soon.
You have a successful career at a very young age. How did your musical journey begin?
Yussef: I started singing and showing this talent at home around my family when I was 6 years old, noting that my dad is a musician as well who plays keyboard and accordion, so when he heard me, he got really impressed and decided to enroll me as soon as possible in a music school where I could improve this talent. The music school didn’t accept me at first since I was below the age limit until they heard my voice. So fortunately, I could break the common standard as being the youngest singer in this school and studied music for around eight years. I was also performing live on big stages at a very young age that gave me more experience and confidence in the entertainment world and helped me to build more connections in the music industry.
How did you feel when you first heard about the project?
Yussef: The minute I was informed by my label company Universal Music Mena about the opportunity of being part of a Turkish / Arabic duet song, I started daydreaming, the idea itself made me so passionate to put all my focus and efforts to make that project come true. Aside of being a big fan of Turkish TV series and songs, this project strongly grabbed my attention and care to be successfully accomplished since it was a new step in my singing career. Also, it was my first time singing with a talented rising Turkish singer and songwriter Ragıb Narin and making a music video in a country I love, Türkiye.
What are the similarities and differences between Turkish and Arabic music?
Yussef: In my opinion, there is no big difference between Turkish and Arabic songs, in the contrary, there are similarities. We can clearly acknowledge when listening to Turkish and Arabic music that they have similar taste, feelings, and vibes, and this can be proven by different Arabic songs that were inspired already from Turkish Music, so somehow Arabic and Turkish people share the same culture.
You wrote the Arabic lyrics of the song, what do the Arabic lyrics tell us?
Yussef: The Arabic lyrics describe a girl who meets someone, who is Ragib Narin, and falls in love with him. Then, by chance, she meets him again on the same plane during a travel, and finds out that he has the same feelings, too.