#WaraElMazzika: Rising Libyan Pop Star Bahjat on His Yom Wara Yom Collab With Deezer, Future Plans and More
In this edition of #WaraElMazzika, we have an exclusive interview with one of the most promising talents in the region, rising Libyan pop star, Bahjat. He’s been making mad waves lately; his songs are becoming hits in different parts of the world and racking up millions of views. His latest cover for Yom Wara Yom in collaboration with Deezer was on point and brought back memories to old fans of the song, but with Bahjat’s brilliant touch.
We got to talk about his latest collaboration with Deezer, why he chose this song, his future plans, and more. Follow our hashtag #WaraElMazzika for more exclusives from the music scene.
For your Deezer collaboration, what influenced you to choose this specific song to cover?
“Youm Wara Youm” has been one of my favorite songs of all time ever since I was young. I remember we used to blast it on repeat while on road trips from Libya to Tunisia back when I was like 7 years old. Besides these memories that make it close to my heart, I truly believe that the song is a pop masterpiece. It’s layered with the most infectious hooks and melodies. So, as soon as Deezer reached out, I instantly knew that I wanted to revisit that song and present it in my own way.
Do you aim on taking Libyan music to new heights? How do you plan on doing so?
I think it’s more exciting than ever to be in the music industry right now. I love the new wave of cross-cultural music movements that are echoing in so many corners of the world, and I want to shine the spotlight on our region by representing it globally. And through that, inspire our young generations to dare to dream big, to believe in their visions no matter what their circumstances may look like right now, to believe that everything is possible if one puts in the work. I want to not only give them something to be proud of but give them something that they can see themselves in. I hope that by achieving that, I would also help elevate Libyan music to new heights.
Who are your inspirations and influences?
I’m someone who gets inspired by almost everything. I believe that the world is full of stories that are all around us – from nature to people, to the connections we develop in life. I write a lot about my feelings and experiences with people. I’ve always written about them in songs before (if ever) talking them out loud to someone. For example, if you break my heart, you’ll most probably find out in one of my songs before I say it to your face. It’s just my way of coping with how I feel.
In terms of musical influences, I would say that Taylor Swift, Amr Diab, Nancy Ajram are some of the artists who I’ve been really inspired by. I’m a big fan of pop music, but what touches me most is when this music also tells a story that speaks to you as a listener. I feel these artists have defined their generations, and they’ve inspired me to want to do the same.
What comes first when you start working on a song, music or lyrics?
Good question! You know, it’s always a different experience whenever you’re writing a new song. It depends on if you’re writing to express a certain story, or if you’re writing as a way to search for a story within you that hasn’t surfaced yet. I would say a lot of the times I start by searching through melodies, but I also keep a document on my phone where I write down a lot of lyrical concepts.
What are your future plans?
My future plans? Well I have so many of those! Haha. I’m actually really excited about the future, because as an independent artist and entrepreneur, I think that there are so many possibilities. I’m interested in exploring various types of collaborations in different regions, partnering with people and companies that are enthusiastic about giving music fans engaging experiences. I also want to continue experimenting with the way that I mix my Arabic/English music, and of course release a bigger body of work soon!
What would you do if not music?
This is actually harder to answer than I thought. Music is what I eat, breathe and sleep! However, when I was younger, I really wanted to become a Disney animator, because I loved to draw. So maybe that?
What future collaborations would you like to do?
So many! It would be so fun to collaborate with artists like BTS, Rosalia, Stromae, where we would get to share each other’s languages, cultures and music with one another. It would be so interesting! A dream collaboration is also… Taylor Swift.
In addition to musical collaborations, I would love to collaborate with companies like Apple, Netflix, and YouTube, where there’s so much creativity in delivering exciting content to young people. A collaboration with UNICEF would also be very meaningful to me. I think it’s important for us as a region to work towards raising awareness about the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and doing our part to help achieve them.