Al Arabiya English caught up with Lebanese-Canadian singer, Karl Wolf, after he announced the upcoming music video for his latest single “Go Your Own Way”, shot in Dubai. The award-winning singer/songwriter has been an icon in the Arab world since he emerged in the music scene in 2005 and is best known for his singles “Butterflies”, “Africa”, and “Yalla Habibi”. Al Arabiya also obtained exclusive 'making-of' footage of the chart-topping performer's new video.
1. Tell us, what is “Go Your Own Way” about?
I am a huge Fleetwood Mac fan! Loved most of their 80's songs like "Little Lies" and "Everywhere" and I did originally plan on remaking "Everywhere" but always had "Go Your Own Way" ringing in the back of my head, and when I had watched "Casino" for the 1st time, the period film starring Robert Deniro and Sharon Stone, I just fell in love with it all over again. It brought me to a place where I could completely relate to that type of disfunctional relationship. I have had several hard break ups in my life. Not only girlfriends but I am also talking about managers I have worked with in the past. It called on me to redo it in my own way, with my experiences.
2. What is it about Dubai that made you want to shoot the music video here?
I grew up in Dubai. Due to the civil war in Beirut, Lebanon I fled at the early age of 3 under bombing like many Lebanese families during those times and we took refuge in Dubai. It was a developing country at the time with tons of job opportunities for my parents. I stayed there till I graduated high school. I consider myself from there as well. So going back "home" is always a fun thing to do. I have got tons of friends who have become major players in the entertainment scene there. That doesn't hurt ;) So naturally I caught up with good friend and American director David Zennie who's been out there in Dubai for a couple of years now totally dominating the music video market in the Middle East and has won several awards including one that I was a featured artist on. I truly love the hospitality that Dubai offers, the weather and atmosphere is so familiar and inviting. Especially for shooting videos I feel it has the best constant sunlight and such amazing rustic locations. I like showing the world a piece of me and where I grew up. I was also fortunate enough to have Celebrity Designer "Amato Haute Couture" featured in this video. The main lead girl "Alexandra" and all other models were dressed from head to toe in the line. FORD Middle East also supported me and provided me with the Shelby Cobra! I am grateful to all that helped! This is the kind of love I get when I'm in Dubai! :)
3. What date will the music video for “Go Your Own Way” be released?
4. People in the Middle East have seen your music grow since your first hit “butterflies”. What would you say is your next move with your career?
Of course, I love integrating my culture into my music, I feel this was something that differentiated me from other artists around the world. However, this time around I am going back to my roots and working on an R&B record. Despite the one ofr two EDM tracks on my album, It will be predominantly RnB/Soul.
5. How did you begin your music career? What were the challenges you faced?
The music business is a constantly changing one. There are many factors that go into making a successful artist. One of them doesn't even have to be much talent (sadly enough). I always felt that anyone can go into the studio and record a song and make it sound good. There are no limits to what technology has provided us with in the studios these days. I always knew that the best way to really ignite a reaction from an audience is to sing live! So I began performing anywhere I could when I came to Montreal in the late 90's. My musical career began with my mom essentially, she was a piano teacher. Nothing like a home filled with music on a daily basis. However, the challenges faced throughout my career were character breaking, I could have given up many times for it seemed like I was going against the impossible. Labels were numb to me, for some reason, like I exist but I'm just not worthy to take the plunge on. Only till I realized that I was trying to impress the wrong people. I realized quickly that it was most important to have the regular fans appreciate my music than have a label record executive doing so. It became all about the music lovers. That totally turned around my listenership and fan base, and it was only then that the labels started really paying attention.
6. Are there any upcoming tours?
August 17: CityFest (Toronto, ON)
August 17: "Go Your Own Way" Video Release Party @ C Lounge (Toronto, ON)
August 18: Assyrian Church Festival (Montreal, QC)
August 23: Chambly City Festival (Chambly, QC)
August 24: "Go Your Own Way" Video Release Party @ Jet Nightclub (Montreal, QC)
August 25: Melkite Festival (Montreal, QC)
September 7: Jam Fest @ Hershey Centre (Mississauga, ON)
September 21: Canada's Walk of Fame (Toronto, ON)
Sept 22-30: Me to We Trip to Kenya. AFRICA (To help build a girls school in Kenya)
7. What was the biggest challenge that you faced while creating the music video?
The heat was unbearable! It was 55 degrees Celsius and I was wearing a leather jacket, leather pants, hat and shades. You can just imagine! Other challenges I faced were mainly from fatigue. Call times were around 3 am and I had gone to bed only 2 hours prior. To add to the whole thing, I had also just got off the plane from Toronto basically right on the set. Other than that, it was a breeze!
8. What was the best part about the whole process creating the video?
Usually, I direct my own music videos but on this one my director David Zennie was amazing at making me feel comfortable that everything was under control. I already trusted him for we had worked together on several other videos. He's an amazing director, Great eye and knows what he wants, listens to my vision yet contributes a lot to making me look even better! I can't wait to show the world what we have achieved with this video!
9. What keeps you motivated to stay in the competitive music industry?
I am competitive by nature, however that has nothing to do with my love for music. I just love creating and I don't think that will ever stop.
10. Where do you see yourself in five years?
The Head of a multinational record label or my own, focusing on artists I believe in. I don't think I will ever stop performing, it will just be a different genre of music by that time... I would probably take a back seat and focus on writing, producing and run a well-established and successful entertainment company.
11. What stage would you say you are in at this point in your life?
I have definitely achieved a lot but I have a feeling I’m on the cusp of something even more exciting and global! I feel it! For starters I have been developing a reality show! So a lot of new adventures to come in the coming years! Stay tuned...
2. What advice would you give to aspiring singers out there?
Stay true to your gut, listen to those who have experience and who have succeeded in what you're trying to succeed in. Wait for no one. If you don't move forward, no one will move with you. I had to prove to myself that I can do this alone first, before I could make believers out of everyone else. Go your own way!