You might think he’s a man with multiple personalities. By day he works a 10 to 5 day job to balance his artistic side, and by night he’s a crazy rock star. Hany Mustafa seems to be doing it all. The singer and song writer started his musical career at a very young age, and has made a name for himself in the underground scene. Throughout our interview, we got to know more about the boy genius and how he turned from the singer at his school plays, to who he is now.
You play with 3 bands: Egoz, Glass Onion, and your solo project Hany Must. How does playing with them differ for you as a singer? And do you have a favourite?
It would be unfair to say I have a favourite because the three are completely different things. The Hany Must band is me speaking for me. I’m the one who puts down every note and every instrument. I get a little help from the rest of the band, but I make sure I never change the formula of anything I do. It’s basically just me as a singer and a song writer.
Egoz is a band of four people, and the four of us do everything. I mainly do the song writing, singing, and try to keep the balance of the band. As for Glass Onion, I’m a delivery guy kind of deal. I deliver The Beatles music and sing my heart out, because it’s music I’ve been influenced by.
We have to ask, what’s your favourite Beatles song?
That’s a really hard question. I love all of their music and know it by heart. But if I really had to pick, I’d pick the song I really wished I wrote, and it’s Michelle, mainly because the musical structure just baffles me.
So do you enjoy covering songs more, or singing your original ones?
Definitely originals! I’ve always had this dream of being a singer and people singing to my music. As a kid, I used to watch all these concerts at Wembley stadium and I was blown away by the amount of people there. It would be great to have your words sang by these people so loud, that you have to shut up and hear them sing. This is my ultimate dream, and if I achieve that I could die the moment right after it.
Now for the important question, what song do you really want to perform, but shy away from?
Ugh, I’m not sure. Let me think. Actually, I’ve always wanted to sing “2 become 1” by the Spice Girls. I’ve been wanting to sing it ever since it was released in like 1996 or 1997.
You mostly sing in English, and many have been criticising the use of English in arts and media. What are your thoughts on that?
When I first started singing, I used to sing in Arabic. I love singing and believe in both. Many think I only sing in English, which is not true. I just needed to find my voice in Arabic before I put it out. Even though I have a cover band, I still didn’t want to just cover Arabic songs, I want to make my own music. So it took a lot of artistic maturity for me to achieve that, because the flow of the words is much harder in Arabic than English. I sing what I feel like singing, I won’t come out with my Arabic songs until I’m secure enough with them, and I’ll never do anything to get somewhere. I do it for me.
Do you feel like that’s not a common path that most musicians take anymore?
It’s true, because a lot of people want to make money, and others want to get the easy way to fame, which I can understand. I don’t personally do this, or otherwise I would’ve been somewhere else with my life right now. 10 or 15 years ago, I was singing my own originals in English on a music channel and the producers there wanted to turn the songs into Arabic, because they sounded great. They could’ve made a mega hit, but I said no. I’ve had almost the same offer four or five times in my life, and still said no. I will never sell out.
So is that the reason why you’re more known in the underground scene more than the mainstream?
I’ve had my moments of fame, and it was awesome. It’s great to see people getting touched by your music, even if it lasted just for two days. But do I want to be really famous and have everyone know me in the streets? I don’t know, but I would love it if a couple of people knew who I was. Maybe it’s my type of music too. Like I said, I sing what I want, not what will make me famous. I don’t follow trends, and I don’t want to stick to a certain trend.
Does that mean you’ll never seek fame?
No, I’ll keep doing what I was even if it means I’ll never get ‘famous’ till the end of time, UNLESS I’m with a band. With the band you have three or four people other than you. You have an opinion, but they do too.
What about new music? Should we expect any soon?
My problem is I’m very slow. I was supposed to release an album early this year, but I decided I’m not releasing the album. I’ll release a few tracks from it, but I’m not really keen on releasing a hardcopy of the album. I believe in selling because it’s something you put your money, heart and soul into, but I care more about releasing good songs.
Other than new tracks from Hany Must, I’m working on Egoz’s first Arabic song, and it will be huge with a video and all. I’m excited about this for us as a band, mainly because it’s less responsibility when it’s four of us, not just me, making the decisions and all the work. We’re all stepping into the fire together, which has a certain beauty to it, and less hyperventilation of course, which is always a good thing. I also had a concert last month, which was very exciting.