AI may distort our taste of music: Walid Toufic

Kadry Al-Haggar
9 Min Read

Lebanese singer Walid Toufic has shined recently in the Jerash Festival in Jordan. He performed this year a number of his old and new songs that his fans in the Arab world love. He always speaks of his love and appreciation for Egypt, which he considers as his second home. Daily News Egypt interviewed Toufic to learn about his ongoing and future projects.

Could you tell us about your participation in the Jerash Festival?

I was very happy because I love performing in front of the audience. I also love to participate in music festivals. The Jerash Festival is one of the most beloved and closest festivals to my heart.

You have been busy during the last period, could you tell us about your ongoing projects?

I presented a number of songs recently, including “Ashab Al-Saada” which was written by Ahmed Al-Maliki and composed by Mohamed Yahia, and it was released in a video clip. I also presented “Egypt, O Mother of Peace.” My fans asked me to shoot a video clip of the song after I performed it more than once in a number of concerts. I chose to shoot the video clip in front of the pyramids. 

Why did you shoot the video clip of “Ashab Al-Saada” in Hurghada?

I am in love with Egypt and all the tourist cities. When I participated in the Miss World Festival in Hurghada, we decided to shoot the video clip there. Egypt is my second home. When we decided to shoot the clip in Hurghada, we did not expect all this success and great resonance.

What about your collaboration with Yara in a duet song?

When Munther Darwish presented the idea to us at the time, we did not hesitate. The song was called “The First and Last Love”, and he had dedicated it to his wife. At the time, Yara and I were offered to present it in a duet, and we agreed immediately. It was a wonderful experience, and Yara has a distinctive, strong, and different voice. Thank God, the song achieved success after it was released on YouTube.

Do you like duet songs?

The idea is what prompts me to present it. If the idea is different and compatible with the type of songs I like, I never hesitate to sing a duet song.

Why did single songs become the most popular?

Single songs and mini albums were the norm in the past. When new singers started to release their songs for the first time, they collaborated to present one song each in one album. This was the beginning of the spread of single songs. Even when I present a mini-album, I release one song and do not release another one until after the released song has spread well. This is the best system in light of the development that is currently taking place in the music industry.

What do you think of the use of artificial intelligence in singing and music?

My point of view on this matter is that technology may distort our taste in natural things. The idea of changing time or getting ahead of it is not a good idea for me, and I consider it a distortion of anything natural. We must take advantage of technology without affecting human nature.

Did this development affect your choices in the type of songs you present?

It is difficult to find the type of songs that I prefer to present, especially since I am from a generation that was brought up to care about the lyrics. Thank God, there is still a large segment of the public that listens to high quality music and songs. This is the audience that I strive to give it the best that can be presented.

How do you see the different genres currently?

Most of the musical genres have been around for a long time. But what helped spread them now is social media. Everyone chooses what he likes to sing, but no matter how widespread it is for a while, I think with time this phenomenon may end, or even the spread of these songs will be less than the present time.

Have you already decided to establish an academy to preserve authentic singing?

For some time now, I have been thinking of establishing a private singing academy in order to present through it all that I have learned in the world of singing over many years. I hope that this will happen because it will make a big difference to me, and I will feel that I have already presented a message that will live on for many years in order to present generations who know the value of singing and music.

How do you try to keep up with the developments in singing?

I try to preserve the audience’s love and respect for me by presenting songs that combine the lyrical color that young people love and accept at the present time, and the classics that I started with, and I love them very much, and they also have a large audience. I try to satisfy all tastes as much as possible.

We noticed how well you mastered music composition, when will we see a song written and composed by you?

Honestly, I don’t want to do something unless I’m sure I can master it. I am a composer before I am a singer. I have composed stanzas and many successful songs. It is not necessary to write my songs, as I leave this job to the poets, but I can participate in the writing of a song.

How do you choose your songs and what are your criteria for evaluating a song?

I am somewhat moody in choosing my works, in the sense that I scrutinize a lot of what is offered to me, and my final choice depends on the quality of lyrics.

Why did you stop starring in films?

Because most of the films that were proposed to me were unsuitable. They wanted me to be just an actor, and this is something that I completely reject. I entered the world of cinema to serve my singing career and present songs that live for years. This is what encourages me to participate in cinematic works because I am a singer, not an actor. If I am offered a work of art in which I appear as a singer and present songs through it, I will agree.

Are there upcoming film projects?

I have a lot of offers currently, but I haven’t settled on a specific movie yet. The idea of going through the acting experience again requires effort and precision in choosing. This is because I stood before great artists such as the great artist Farid Shawky, Saeed Saleh and Laila Elwi, and I want to maintain this level. This requires time to find it. The idea of returning to acting is always there, but I am waiting for the right movie.

What are you working on in the current period?

I have ideas for a number of songs in the coming period, which I hope to present. I always dream of presenting musical works that suit the audience’s taste and keeping up with the great development that has taken place in the field of music and singing.

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