Working with Naila has been a long time coming. We've wanted to collaborate with her for a while now, on music or clothing, whichever comes first. Her single with Ash, Give a Little, was released a couple months ago, with already over 180K views on Youtube, its safe to say the track is a hit. Listening to it over a couple times, we couldn't help but want to hear this song in a laid back, R&B version, so we gave her a call, explained our vision and she was in. First we wanted to get some words from the artist through a brief history of her music experience.
Photographed by Tarek Effat
Words by Naila Marei
When I was very young, I used to hum all the time, no one knew what was wrong with me, I barely spoke when I was young, I only really started to talk until I was 18. I was petrified of life, I could barely speak to anyone. In school, in my late teens, as I was starting to get over the shyness, I always wanted to sing because I liked it and I liked choir, and I always felt I could, but I was obviously too shy to ever think about singing. So I joined choir because there were people singing around me so Im not too obvious and I loved it. Music and art were my two favorite subjects in school. I moved to CAC because I wanted to focus on music and art and CAC offers you that.
My shyness was a pretty big deal, I would never do solo performances, I would always drop out before it. Then when I moved to University and started to feel a lot more confident and a lot more comfortable, one day I was singing in the shower, because obviously I sing in the shower, my cousin outside heard me, she told me that I have a good voice, and that she’s got a friend who’s a producer looking for a vocalist, come meet him. I told her “I love you, thank you so much, but I can’t sing in front of anyone, it’s not going to happen”. She told me to come meet him anyway and just see how it goes.
When me and Ash met the first day a couple years ago, we sat and in about thirty minutes we made our first song, from A to Z. Something happened that night, the chemistry was perfect, we uploaded it to youtube and Soundcloud that night. We woke up the next morning with legit views so we noticed that something is happening here, so then we recorded the rest of the music, which were 7 tracks, then I came back to Egypt, he stayed in Canada to finish University, he’s two years younger than I am. He just finished his studies, then moved to Paris, called me to come join him in Paris to pick up where we left off, its a shame we made so much good music and then stopped for two years.
So I went for a couple of months. We recorded a couple songs, one of them was Give a Little.
Ash is coming back to Egypt, and we hope to take it to the stage but it’s something Im petrified of doing, I dont see myself in the spotlight. It’s no longer about the shyness because I don’t consider myself as a shy person anymore, it’s really about the role, I don’t think it suits me. I don’t want to burden someone to go buy a ticket to come all the way out to see me perform on a stage, it’s very a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around.
We want to work on a live session, putting all the songs we’ve ever done together, rehearsing them over the next couple of weeks, and then performing them during the summer. A big part of why I want to do this is to see if I will truly love doing this and want to do more. If that change of heart happens, a lot of doors will open for me, bigger opportunities for me to perform. I’ve currently been turning down opportunities because of that fear, but once I get the first one done, when we’re ready, it’ll let me know if this is something I want to continue pursuing.