RAmez is the 1st Lebanese and French rap artist to make it to the NRJ Lebanon Top 100 of 2007 with his hit song “Leich Heik Baladé” and alongside international artists such as Mika, Britney Spears, Timbaland, Linkin park and James BluntIn 2008, the song “Is it too much asking” also extracted from RAmez’s first CD plays on Lebanon’s number one, Radio One.In only two years French rap is represented on the Lebanese scene and opportunities are made for independent Lebanese artists and producers while RAmez is internationally recognized for his work.Already in 2005 RAmez is noticed by an experienced French label and by an unknown Lebanese producer trying to start business in his country.
In 2005, RAmez’s goal to be produced in Beirut was to contribute in creating a market for independent music in Lebanon.In 2001, as a radio host in the United States RAmez helps promoting the birth of Lebanese rap worldwide. At that time as well two tracks extracted from his 1st underground CD are selected to appear on a compilation exclusively distributed in the United States.“Ma Flamme” and “Y’aura pas de paix” (in which RAmez mixes for the 1st time French and Arabic rap) are released in the United States and this just after September 11th 2001, which results in a certain controversy.
It is 20 years ago in France (in 1989) that RAmez starts being active for Lebanon by being at 11 years old one of the “enfants libres” selected to sing alongside Guy Beart (a well known French artist) the chorus of the song “Liban Libre” promoting Peace for Lebanon.
RAmez continues later to promote Peace by being a radio host on France FM and on Radio Nostalgie and by breaking rules when necessary for the message to get accross.
At the end of the year 2007, RAmez’s first CD is commercialized all throughout Lebanon and reaches the number one position in relation to sales at the Virgin Megastore.
The same year RAmez releases on a French Rap Mixtape in France a song called, “Un monde de fou”. (A crazy world) in which he expresses the need to create his own production.
“Un Monde de Fou” captures in 2008 the attention of Radio Orient (broadcasting it all over France) and RAmez decides not to renew his contract with his past producer due to incapacity of that one to deal with ethics and transparency or even stick to an agreement made with RAmez before his success.
RAmez is as a result able to continue working in 2008 with standards he defends worldwide since the beginning of his career by creating his own label.
In 2008: RAmez Productions (RAP) is created with many big projects planned to promote Peace and Transparency while maintaining ethical values and providing the world with conscious lyrics and projects.
Read below an exclusive interview with Ramez and get to know him better.
PH: How old were you when you knew you could sing?
RK: I started considering I could sing, when I was 18, after winning the 1st prize during a music competition on campus in the United States. I remember this day particularly because people in the audience (didn’t speak French) and some judges told me after performing, “we did not understand a single word you said but for sure felt your message”
PH: Who encouraged you to sing? How did you get into singing?
RK: I have been singing on stage for 11 years now but was singing and writing poems for myself since my young age when I was in France, as I needed a way to express myself and feel understood.
People who encouraged me are mainly MC’s I have met and worked with in studio later on in the US. At that time friendship and work were strongly related, being productive by sharing ideas without competing was possible while maintaining ethics and transparency no matter how hard the situation would get in the outside world surrounding us. We were united and shared a common vision, goal and mission. Money was just a tool.
PH: How would you describe your voice?
RK: I personally consider what I am writing to be real so I can only hope that it is coming up sounding the same way. The public is the only one that can reply to this question.
PH: How would you describe your music?
PH: How do you describe your style of singing?
RK: Emotional as well
PH: Describe yourself in three words:
RK: Real, Transparent, Human
PH: Which singers do you admire?
RK: John Lennon, 2PAC, Michael Jackson to name a few.
PH: What is your favourite piece of music?
RK: My favourite song of all time is definitely “Imagine” by John Lennon
PH: If you weren’t a singer, what would you be?
RK: I would probably be a poet, a writer, a radio host or an actor because it is another way of expressing ourselves and feel free at least as much as it still is possible in this world.
PH: What characteristic do you dislike about yourself?
RK: Too many things I would need a book or a song to explain… Why not wait until the 2nd album comes out?
PH: What would your motto be?
RK: “Carpe Diem”
PH: What do you fear the most?
RK: I fear myself the most
PH: Did you see any new bands you didn’t know of, and are now in love with?
RK: Every day I receive invitations from new bands on www.myspace.com/ramezlebanon and some are great. Eventhough I do not get as much time as I would like to see all of them, it is a real pleasure to get a glimpse of who they are and what they do. I believe love is a strong word for a person or a group.
PH: What is the best advice you’ve been given, and who gave it?
RK: “Stay real cause time reveals” (Time)
PH: What gives you satisfaction in your work?
RK: I love my work. Every day I meet new people and feel that I am not alone to think the way I do. The fact that I can make a living by revealing what I believe to be true is awesome. I don’t have to hide how I feel or who I deeply am inside to please anyone. My boss is the public and the critics a guide, eventhough critics can sometimes be severe; It is a great challenge and pleasure to work for the public while discovering new critics. The fact that I can be myself 100% has no price and now that I am my own producer there is a lot less stress, lies to deal with and injustice to face or at least at a different level with other people.
PH: What would you like to achieve musically, and why?
RK: I would like to come up with a new style of Rap because too many people are copy pasting artists that were successful or people that created something in the past instead of working hard by being creative and thinking.
PH: In your concert, you sure sing live, right? Does this have a special effect??
RK: Definitely. To tell you the truth, I was asked few times to perform in playback and always refused. As I mentioned it earlier emotion is present within my music & lyrics and the only way to express it is live through concerts. If I lie to my public I would lie to myself. Each concert is different.
The more people there is the better I perform. An interaction makes things go magical but this idea was already expressed in the song “Pas de magie sans mes amis”
PH: How do you avoid letting your success go to your head?
RK: By never forgetting the reason why I took a pen when I was a kid and later a microphone and especially by questioning each opportunity I now receive by asking myself if I would have taken it when I first started to rap.
PH: Some people view you as a serious person. Is there a funny, wacky side? Do you like jokes?
RK: Actually I am a Gemini so my personality is quite complex. I probably have thousands of sides to me. I think there is a funny side hidden somewhere that appears with people i feel close to and probably a wacky one as well when it needs to come out. It is all a matter of perspective, situation and surrounding.
It also probably depends on who you ask. For some people I am a fake person and a hypocrite while for others I am real and cannot stand lies and injustice.I leave the future and the past reveal who I am.
The only thing I know is that saying the truth or what I believe to be true is the only thing I know how to do and that’s why I’ m into Rap and never sold myself. If this is being serious then maybe I am a bit with my work but this does not mean I cannot enjoy a good joke during my free time.
PH: How would you like to be remembered?
RK: I would like to be remembered as having done something at my level for my country and the world while maintaining ethics and transparency throughout my work at all stages.
PH: What’s your current project?
RK: RAmez Productions (RAP) is producing the second album with great musicians. Everyone I have worked with in the past and who stayed real (after the success of the 1st CD) will be on the 2nd album others will be replaced by real people.
PH: If you went to the moon, what would you take with you?
RK: I would take lebcounter and make sure to contact everyone involved in it. If we cannot change things by being on earth we will do our best to change them from the moon.
By the way thanks for saying what not who…
PH: In the end, what do you want to say to lebjournal.com fans?
RK: Thank You for taking time to read this interview.
Peace for Lebanon and to the world.
Interviewed By: Patricia Hachem