Hakim was born in Maghagha, a small town in Al Minya, Egypt. Hakim grew up with the sound of working-class tradition of Sha'abi; the root of southern Egyptian. He became influenced by the great Sha'bi singer Ahmed Adaweyah and began practicing Mawals, the vocal improvisations which begin a traditional Sha'bi song. At fourteen years old he formed a band and started performing at parties and school functions with the accompaniment of a tabla, duff, and an accordion, playing covers of classic Sha'bi hits by Ahmed Adaweya, Mohamed El Ezabi, and Abdel Ghani Al Sayed. Soon the band was a hit and expanded by adding keyboards and drums and performing all over the Minya province.His father, the mayor of Maghagha, wished that he would get a higher degree, and although Hakim loved singing, and wanted it to be his career, he bowed to his father’s wishes and attended the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, graduating in 1983 with a degree in communications. But while in the capital, he kept up his musical interests, meeting new people at the cafes on Mohammed Ali Street, including the accordionist Ibrahim El Fayoumi, who became like a god father to him.
Hakim returned to Maghagha, this time to pursue his dream and formed a new modern band that blended Western, Middle Eastern, and oriental instruments for a fresh sound, and they quickly became Minya's most popular group. He returned to Cairo with a goal of making his living as a professional singer.Hakim's break came when he met producer Hamid El-Shaeri, and signed a deal with Sonar Ltd./Slam Records. With El-Shaeri at the board, Hakim entered the studio to make his first album, Nazra
in 1991. The album was among the top of the charts, and the first pressing of the disc sold out within the first two months. Hakim took the unprecedented step of personally going to DJs and giving them copies of his tape, and his voice boomed from radios and shops all over Cairo.After the release of his second album Nar
in 1994, Hakim was picked to represent Egypt at the Festival des Allumees in Nantes, France. Two years later a nomination for the Kora Award in the category of Best North African Singer confirmed his legal status (he won the award in 2000). Later he released Efred
, the first of many collaborative efforts between himself, lyricist Amal El Taer, and composer Essam Tawfik.With 1998s Hakim Remix
, he turned eight of his previously released hits over to British world/dance fusionists Trans-Global Underground (TGU), who then put their own spin on things. Although it proved to be the lowest-selling of his records in Egypt, it made a significant impact in Europe. It was a daring move, as Hakim had to maintain the right balance between tradition and innovation to keep his local audience happy, while moving towards global audience. The follow-up, 1999s Hayel
, was a definite return to roots (and Egyptian popularity).Yaho
, released in 2000, went over the million mark at homeland. Its original version was a huge success in the Middle East, having sold over 1 million copies, and brought him to the attention of Ark 21/Mondo Melodia founder Miles Copeland III who first heard Hakim on a late night radio show on the BBC in London then spent the next day tracking him down and scouring record stores to get his hands on Hakim's CDs. The result was signing with both Hakim and TGU. The U.S. version of Yaho
was somewhat different from the Egyptian. In addition to four Trans-Global remixes, it included two brand-new songs, "Yemin We Shemal" by French producer Sodi and "Al Bi Hebeni Al". Yaho
brought two smash hit singles in the Middle East, the title cut and "Esma Yalli", but it also brought Hakim to the attention of American audiences.Hakim toured the U.S. in spring 2000 and Mondo Melodia announced plans to release the Live in Brooklyn
album in the fall. Hakim's performance in Brooklyn was recorded for the double CD The Lion Roars - Live in America
. The enhanced second CD also features a ten-minute video of Hakim and crew performing live in Egypt, so you can watch, as well as hear. Following the release of the live disc, Hakim went back into the studio and in May 2002, Talakik
was released. Hakim partnered with Grammy winning producer Narada Michael Walden on five of the albums' 12 tracks and found himself working with TGU once more, who produced 2 tracks. Wanting to record something different for this new disc, Hakim hooked up with the Grammy Award winning merengue sensation Olga Tañón on the breakout hit "Ah Ya Albi".In 2004, he released his album El Yomen Dol
including a duet track with the famous American soul/funk singer James Brown. In 2007, Hakim recorded the song "Tigy Tigy" with the Puerto Rican singer Don Omar.Concerning cinema, Hakim had had two films in cinema starting with Al Rakesa w Al Sagan
with Aida Riad and Ahmed Bdeir in which he participated with both singing and acting. Hakim appeared again with new style and new look in Ali Spicy
with Somia Al Khashab, Waheed Seif and Gamal Esmail. Ali Spicy
revolves around a story of a singer trying to become well-known, and the problems he faces along his way till he reaches his aim and becomes famous. Although this film did not do well at the box office, it gained popularity on home video and DVD."El Salamu Alaiku"
It is worthy to note that Hakim's hit song "El Salamu Alaiku" was featured in the belly dancing scene of "Vanity Fair" movie which stars Oscar winning actress Reese Witherspoon.
- Middle Eastern
- Belly Dance