In this edition of #WaraElMazzika, we have an exclusive chit-chat with one of the most influential figures in the media scene, Nayrouz Abouzid. Among other titles and achievements, Nayrouz is the founder and CEO of Ego Communicate, No Shame Media, and she manages some of the most popular celebrities in the region.
We got to discuss how No Shame came to life, how they planned for Shahyn’s anticipated comeback, their goals for the local scene, and more. Follow our hashtag #WaraElMazzika for more exclusives from the music industry.
How did No Shame Media come to life?
Initially, No Shame Media started as a campaign under the name of “No Shame in My Game” and it was meant to activate the notion of uncensored and raw beauty. Our team at the time wanted to showcase people without any grooming or idealistic framing; people from all walks of life, not just the celebrities we were habitually promoting. Because this campaign was released by Ego Communicate, there was a serious thirst for something less theatrical and a little more urban and real.
With every video interview that was shared, we slowly realized that this campaign needed to become a platform whereby people could tell their stories. Within 3 years it organically became it’s own entity away from Ego Communicate and people were approaching us to create different types of content such as music videos, short films, documentaries, and digital ads. Today No Shame Media is an independent company producing digital shows, in-depth interviews, and creative content.
What does it aim to do for the music industry?
Without pre-empting anything, No Shame organically became a channel for the hip hop and urban scene in the region- Something I believe is mainly driven by my personal preference towards this genre of music and lifestyle. We aim to create a platform that can creatively assist any promising artist with an opportunity to launch their career. I won’t lie to you though, I still find it hard to label what we actually do, because the best results have come from “spur of the moment” decisions triggered by honest faith in the artist and his/her artistry. So today we may want to focus on developing film-like hip hop music videos and strengthen our interview platforms for Egyptian rappers, but tomorrow we could easily transition to more than just rap. Anything that displays artistic expression really inspires us to create content.
What are the next steps/future plans with No Shame?
Currently we are working on 2 new Digital shows, these shows are powered by a few of our Egocomm Clients and we are incredibly excited about them because it’s been a lifelong dream for me. We are also continuing in the music department, hoping to launch 3 new music videos before end of 2021. We have also extended filming of the Safe And Sound Show which is in partnership with Playground Music and powered by Freedom Music- it generated a lot of hype within the hip-hop community ; this “live” streaming show was launched as an alternative exercise during quarantine and when we proposed the idea to Playground we had no idea it would pick up this fast.
Talk to us about the three music videos with Shahyn.
On my way back from Shahyn’s concert , sound engineer Nader Soliman happened to play Gedeed Novi by mistake in the car instead of another track (it was just a demo at the time). I immediately fell in love with the track ; there was something about the sound that just hit home with me. I called Shahyn that night and told him he had to go through with it but I won’t lie to you, he was hesitant in the beginning and didn’t give me much of a reaction. One week later we ended up quarantined at home, so naturally there was more time to work on music . L5VAV and Shahyn ended up working on the track and on another song featuring Bassiouny as well called X-Lance. When I heard the two together, in the midst of all the fear of COVID19 , it felt like they held an empowering message- an anthem for everyone to relate to while overcoming the panic of a pandemic. The plan was to release both audios immediately… but then that same week Shahyn sent me a third track. Gamed Hek. Right then it hit me that these 3 songs somehow told a story. Without any further details we ended up working on a capsule film series that interpreted the lyrics connecting each song to the other. The plan was to launch the videos sequentially to recount the story of an artist who rediscovers himself and realizes in the end that no matter how “big” one gets, in the end we all go back to square one and that “reinventing yourself ” is key for sustenance. Gedeed Novi tells the story of discovery, X- Lance the story of Ego , and Gamed Hek the story of Realization.
How did it go from being a low budget project to being a high budget one?
As I said, this whole project was put together during quarantine so initially, the notion of shooting big productions was both unsafe and unrealistic. We thought we’d keep the crew minimal, keep the storyline simple, and just focus on the message which we believed held a powerful moral on its own. But like most projects I get passionate about, they end up branching out into more complex ideas. Every concept was re-interpreted, every music video became a standalone visual masterpiece that involved more than just our No Shame team. We decided for the sake of the project to maximize our crew and outsource departments in order to focus on the creative and artist profiling within the videos. We integrated collaborators in production, Editing, coloring, art direction, styling, lighting, even directing .everyone who we brought in to the project was just as passionate and jumped on board immediately; each adding more elements to the visuals, making them more intricate and ‘film like’. This, however, comes at a price, so you can imagine what it took for us and our team to do in order to cover the cost of 3 music videos in 2 weeks – although we prepped for 2 months, and rehearsed for 3 weeks, the cost we initially had in mind for this series was far from what we ended up paying even after receiving assistance from a couple of sponsors.. this wasn’t just another rap video, this was honest labor of love and definitely one of our most important investments as No Shame Media.
Will the interview series continue after the latest expansion of No Shame Media?
The interview series will always be a key part of our content plan; it is thanks to our interviews that companies noticed us. Through our No Shame in My Game interviews, we gained credibility and expanded our network and we wouldn’t sacrifice that for anything.
How did you plan the anticipated comeback of Shahyn?
Because I usually do most of our interviews for No Shame In My Game , in my 4 hour session with Shahyn I realized immediately that he had an incredible amount of charisma and talent that could be easily worked on. Although I initially sat with him for an interview only, somehow we ended up signing a contract a week later, making him the only rapper on Egocomm’s roster of celebrities and talents at the moment. To be honest his comeback was organic and took place naturally, he is very loved by the rap community and he has street cred since his first appearance on stage. Everything else you see was tactical PR and Branding strategy which was lead by Mahnaz Aziz and Bosaina Ismail – who have worked passionately on the reintroduction of Shahyn in Egypt. Keeping in mind Shahyn is a very hands on client and his input has been very important for us as well, it really added orientation to our strategy.
What are the biggest challenges that you face managing talent and artists with Ego Com?
Artists are very sensitive and extremely moody, it’s what makes them great at what they do. It’s a challenge to keep them motivated in a market that can be very harsh and unstable sometimes. but the great news is that we are lucky enough to work with some of the most humble and generous artists in Egypt. Their personalities and consistent show of gratitude to our team help us work through the rough patches which come with any business and personal relationship.