“Unexpected Pop tune with some eastern influence. The artist is quickly rising in the scene and this effort has started to bear fruits. Try this with every mood and it will turn into excitement.”

Rising international pop phenomenon Issam Alnajjar re-envisions his viral smash “Hadal Ahbek” with Loud Luxury and Ali Gatie as “Turning Me Up (Hadal Ahbek),” out now—listen HERE!

Expanding the scope of his breakthrough anthem, Issam recruited Canadian Multi-Platinum/Diamond dance music duo Loud Luxury to reimagine the track, speeding up the tempo and adding a dance-ready house beat. He also tapped Multi-Platinum Iraqi-Canadian singer and songwriter Ali Gatie to deliver an undeniable guest spot, elevating the song to a whole new level.

Of the song, Issam says, “‘Hadal Ahbek’ was a turning point in my career. Getting the chance to revisit it in English with Ali Gatie and Loud Luxury is insane.”

Andrew Fedyk and Joe De Pace of Loud Luxury chime in saying, “‘Turning Me Up’ is by far the most unique record we’ve ever worked on. It’s our first chance to take our sound and inject it with an international flair. Between working with Issam, who is halfway across the world, and Ali who happens to be from the same hometown, this song is meant to break down borders.”

Issam recently dropped the official video for his debut hit single “Hadal Ahbek,” which has already amassed over 5 million views on YouTube in just a few short weeks—watch HERE. Universal Music Group and Republic Records partnered with Founder and CEO of SALXCO and XO RECORDS, Wassim “SAL” Slaiby, and announced the launch of Universal Arabic Music (UAM) earlier this week. UAM is a newly created label dedicated to discovering, introducing and championing the artists, sounds and rich musical culture of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region to audiences around the world. UAM marked the launch by announcing Issam Alnajjar as its first artist signing.

To celebrate the release of “Turning Me Up (Hadal Ahbek),” Issam will perform on TikTok Sound Off livestream today—tune in at 3pm EST HERE.

The 17-year-old singer, songwriter, and guitarist has made history with “Hadal Ahbek,” as it is the first Arabic song to explode worldwide as a viral #1 hit. In addition to racking up over 30 million Spotify streams and 3 billion sound views on TikTok, it has climbed up numerous global charts and been added to notable playlists since its release. Upon release, the track peaked at #1 on Spotify’s US and Global Viral 50 Charts and Shazam’s Top 200 Global Chart, as well as reached #17 and #20 on Apple Music’s Global Hits and Viral Hits Playlists, respectively. The song claimed spots on Spotify’s Pop Rising, Viral Hits, Teen Beats, and RADAR playlists. On the international stage, it hit #1 on Spotify’s Viral Chart in 25 local markets, including UK, Canada, Germany, France, and Mexico, and #1 on Shazam’s Top 200 Chart in 24 local markets. In the MENA region, the track peaked at #3 on Apple Music Pop Chart in Jordan and Lebanon, #5 on Apple Music Pop Chart in Egypt, #3 on Spotify’s Saudi Arabia Daily Chart, #3 on Deezer Lebanon Chart, #7 on Deezer United Arab Emirates Chart, and #7 on Deezer Tunisia Chart. The live performance video of “Hadal Ahbek” has over 60 million views on YouTube.

“Hadal Ahbek,” which translates to “I’ll Keep Loving You” in Arabic, first became an Internet sensation after Issam posted a snippet of the track on Instagram. After finding initial success and amassing over 10 thousand followers and 12 thousand views overnight, he created a fan challenge with the song on TikTok, which set it on fire around the world. The irresistible bop has arrived as a cross-continental anthem and cements Issam Alnajjar as an international artist to watch in 2021.


Issam Alnajjar is leading the way for a new generation of artists from the Middle East and North Africa to take over the global music scene. A 17-year-old musician from Amman, Jordan, he had been creating music for a couple of years, studying the songwriting of pop artists like Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran and admiring the creativity of iconic artists like Queen and The Weeknd, when he got some inspiration for his breakout hit “Hadal Ahbek.” After dropping a preview video for the song on Instagram, anticipation from his fans grew larger and larger. By the time he finally released “Hadal Ahbek,” with Issam’s silky voice and infectious lyrics and melody, the popularity of it exceeded his expectations. Issam says he had only expected 10k views total for his song. That was shattered in one day, and eventually it grew to 100k views a week. And on TikTok, the song only grew bigger and now currently sits atop dozens of music charts on Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer. For any artist to have a top song is an accomplishment. But what makes Issam’s feat more incredible is that he achieved this with a song sung in Arabic.


With their worldwide smash hit “Body (feat. Brando),” Loud Luxury—who is Canadian duo Andrew Fedyk and Joe De Pace—is officially certified Diamond (10x Platinum) in Canada, 6x Platinum in Australia, 3x Platinum in Switzerland, Double Platinum in Austria, Denmark, U.K. and the U.S., and Platinum in the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. “Body” also held the #1 spot in the U.S. Mediabase Dance Airplay chart for two weeks, charted in the Top 40 of U.S. Pop radio and the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart (#4) and accumulated over a billion plays across the most popular streaming services. Its follow-up single, “Love No More (with anders),” garnered 12 million streams on Spotify alone in its first month and currently sits at over 140 million plays on the streaming platform, while “I’m Not Alright (with Bryce Vine)” adds to the tally with over 80 million streams. In 2020, the duo released their debut EP Nights Like This followed by single releases “Like Gold” featuring Stephen Puth with Frank Walker and “Amnesia” featuring GASHI with Ship Wrek. Loud Luxury also scooped up three 2020 JUNO Awards nominations for ‘Dance Recording Of The Year,’ ‘Fan Choice Award’ and ‘Group Of The Year’ (including one win) following four nominations (including one win) in 2019 as well as iHeart Music Awards nominations for ‘Dance Song Of The Year’ and ‘Dance Artist Of The Year’ in 2020.


Ali Gatie’s music is intimate in a way that almost feels private. The Toronto-raised artist’s pop-meets-R&B is often vulnerable, wounded, and yearning — listening is less like thumbing through his diary than stumbling upon the pages he’s ripped out and stuffed at the bottom of a drawer. Hits like double-platinum acoustic love letter “It’s You” and his new EP, The Idea of Her, demonstrate how affecting such an approach can be — he shares the contours of his emotions in hopes that listeners see themselves reflected. And his fans, The LISNERS, have connected to these songs in a way that feels profound. After blossoming his sound via bigger projects like 2020’s You, he’s now accumulated over 3 billion streams across platforms. Gatie isn’t the type to care about such numbers, but it’s evidence of the powerfully authentic bonds he’s been able to form. This year alone he’s been nominated for 3 Juno Awards. The Idea of Her is full of new leaps and underscores his unguarded approach to songwriting while emphasizing that there are new worlds out there to explore. “I want my fans to know I’m still figuring this out,” he says of his next chapter. “I might not know for five or 10 years, but this is where I feel like I sit most comfortably. You can expect the unexpected.”


Reviewed by Nagamag on 
April 19, 2021

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