Yalla Habibi! An interview with Karl Wolf!
Click for a special (audio) shout-out from Karl Wolf to YOU!
Karl Wolf singer, song-writer, CEO, CFO and producer, born in Beirut, Lebanon; grew up in Dubai and now living in Canada! (Phew! That was a mouthful!).
Karl spent part of his childhood in Dubai, UAE from the age of three and studied at the international School of Choueifat. He was about 17 when he moved to Canada started his music career in 2001. His first album “Face behind the Face” came out in January 2006 with amazing singles like Butterflies and Desensitize.
He released his second album “Bite the Bullet” in July 2007 which had hit singles like Carrera (Gold) and the remix cover of Africa of Toto which went Platinum 3 times and outsold Flo Rida’s song Right Round and was No.1 in the Canadian Hot 100 for 5 weeks. His next single Yalla Habibi from his third album “Night Life” was an instant sensation coming at No.24 in the Canadian Hot 100.
His exceptional taste and creation in music has won him many nominations and awards like the Canadian Radio Awards for the best new solo hit A/C Artist of the Year, Anglophone Song of the Year in 2010 and many more.
Recently, UthMag sat down with Karl to talk about his concert on June 29th, life in dubai, life on the road and his new album “Finally Free”. Here’s the transcript to the interview.
UthMag- How does it feel to be performing in Dubai on the 29th with Pitbull, and what can we expect from the concert?
Karl Wolf- I’m preparing the show right now as we speak, I’ve got 6 more days, I’m preparing the lighting, I’ve got performers and dancers with me, I’ve even got my piano there. I’m going to slow things down and it’s going to be a show like never before. I’ve got my friends and family in Dubai and I want to show them what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years.
UthMag- Tell us something about your parents. Your mother was a piano teacher and your father was also a musician, did that encourage you to make music as your profession?
Karl Wolf- Oh I think so, I mean the way it works is environment, when you’ve got a piano in your house and guitars lying around and a drum set in your room, so I don’t think it was more of the fact that my parents were musicians but the fact that I had all these instruments around me and the environment is what made me a musician myself.
UthMag- You’ve spent quite some time in Dubai, where you attended The International School of Choueifat; if I’m correct, how was the whole Dubai experience?
Karl Wolf- I mean in life when you go through it as a kid, you don’t know what you have or more then what you have at that time because this is your environment and reality, but my time in Dubai was amazing, I had the time of my life, I did everything a normal kid did would do, go out with friends, play basketball, go to the beach, the only difference is I had a lot of musical inspiration and feelings, and I would always bring this feeling to school and everywhere I went, but my friends and people didn’t always fully get it because I used to listen to music and artist that they never heard of and I think that came from my parents. My parents are still in Dubai and I visit them every year and I’m bring Pit bull with me this time and we’re gonna show him how Dubai rocks.
UthMag- From the time you were in Dubai and when you look at it now, how do you think it has changed?
Karl Wolf- So much has changed, I mean not only the whole infrastructure but also the mind set of people has changed drastically and it keeps changing every day. Whenever I come back to Dubai; it s always different. Now the entertainment world in Dubai is pretty high tech and has advanced so much from before.
UthMag- You where about seventeen when you moved to Canada, how did the change affect you?
Karl Wolf- It definitely opened my mind to the realist career in the music industry, because Dubai at that time wasn’t very advance in media and entertainment world, now it is, but when I came to Canada, it was more of a mature industry, people said you have a great voice and so I was pulled left to right, and that’s how I was pulled into this business, so I wasn’t like ok I want to do this, I kind of stumbled into it but once I fell into it I was like ok I want to make this happen.
UthMag- What other career would you have preferred if you hadn’t gone for with music?
Karl Wolf- Well I wanted to study law, I mean it was anything to do with entertainment, if it was law it would have been entertainment law. But I ended up studying sound studies so I still did something in entertainment. But music was just a natural hobby for me and I would always end up making music somewhere.
UthMag- Your real name is Carl Abou Samah, how did you decide to go with the stage name ‘Karl Wolf’?
Karl Wolf- Ha-ha, Well at the time there was a movie called ‘Teen Wolf’, with Michael J fox in like the late 80’s, he was the shortest player on the team, but when he turned into the wolf he was fastest guy in the court, so I was kind of the fastest guy on the court so people started calling me the Wolf and it stuck and so I decided to go with it.
UthMag- Let’s talk about your album ‘Finally free’, releasing on 10th July; we are all excited, what can you say about this album?
Karl Wolf- This is my fifth studio album and the way to differentiate it from the other albums is that I’m starting to mess around with some electro and dub step as to before when it was all hip hop and R&B and reggae. But I still have dance off and reggae type of songs on the record however I added this extra new element to my repertoire which you can see in ‘Mash it up’ and ‘DJ gonna save us’. So, it’s pretty cool.
UthMag- What can your fans expect from this album?
Karl Wolf- Wow, you can expect the same Karl Wolf but with a new twist which I did the cover of ‘ghetto love’ which is glory of love by Peter Cetera, it’s still got the dance off flavor. I’ve got the up tempos, house tracks, I got a bit of dub step and electro in there, I’ve even done some super full on reggae, finally free the actual song is a full reggae song.
UthMag- What was the hardest thing about making this album?
Karl Wolf- The hardest thing was making time and getting in the studio to record this album. This album was recorded in about a year and a half and it didn’t even have to take that long, it should have taken like six months, but because of my traveling, like record this vocal in Germany and then mixing it in Japan, so yeh it’s been very difficult and interesting, so basically if you ask me where did you record this album I’d have to say all around the world.
UthMag- You’re very busy with the tours and the performances, do you every find time for just yourself?
Karl Wolf- No, absolutely not, I am the CEO and president of Lone Wolf entertainment, I have the management of lone wolf entertainment, I’m the lead singer, I’m a solo artist, I’m a producer, I’m a film maker, I’m even the accountant and the financial officer, it’s a nightmare but you know what I’m happy, I’m single of course because not many women could handle this kind of lifestyle. But I’ve dedicated my whole life to music and inspiring people with my music.
UthMag- You have performed in front of countless people, in countless places, let me ask you this, do you ever get nervous?
Karl Wolf- I think if you’re human, and if you bleed then of course you’ll get nervous. I’m always nervous, however once the professionalism comes in you have to focus all that nervousness into the performance. I remember my first concert a long time ago when I was in college in a talent show, I got so nervous that I lost my voice which was very embarrassing, since then I made it a rule to learn the art of performing in front of the crowd.
UthMag- What advice would you give to upcoming Middle Eastern artists?
Karl Wolf- I know Dubai is so much fun, there are so many fun places and things to do, that it’s easy to get distracted, but don’t. Keep working hard, make great music and stay and work in the studio because if you can’t make music and focus on making songs which are the life and blood of this industry, you will not have a career.
UthMag- Where do you get your inspiration for your music from?
Karl Wolf- I guess I get inspired by life in general, even the news inspires me sometimes, but mainly I would say war, peace, love and everything that has extreme poles, where there’s extra sadness and happiness, because my music is all about up lifting the sadness.
UthMag- And how have you come forward as a person since the start of your career till now and how has it change you has a person?
Karl Wolf- I think it’s made me more humble about who I am, what I’m doing here and I treat people more respect, I don’t bully anybody, I help my family and people around me as much as I can, so I guess it’s made me more aware and more of a humanitarian more than anything else.
Rapid Fire with Karl Wolf
UthMag- Who is your current favorite artist?
Karl Wolf- Eminem
UthMag- What type of music do you listen to?
Karl Wolf- My own. (Laughs)
UthMag- Which one of your albums is your favorite?
Karl Wolf- Finally free.
UthMag- Do you prefer elevator or stairs?
Karl Wolf- Stairs.
UthMag- Favorite type of food?
Karl Wolf- Tabouli.
UthMag- What is the one thing you always do before performing?
Karl Wolf- Pushups.
UthMag- Guitar or drums?
Karl Wolf- Drums.
Karl Wolf is one musician to keep on your record. With hits that are topping the charts, the sky is NOT the limit anymore! We are looking forward to this concert and encourage you to buy your tickets now before they are all SOLD OUT!
Here is Karl’s Hit Single “Yalla Habibi”..