By Zainab AbdulAziz
Active on the music scene since 2003, Amir Eid has transformed over time into a musical beacon as the lead singer of the massively popular band Cairokee. Six albums later, Eid and lead guitarist Sherif Hawary, drummer Tamer Hashem, keyboardist Sherif Mostafa, and bass guitarist Adam el-Alfy have amassed a fan base, dubbed the Cairokee Empire, and are embarking on a sold-out European tour.
Eid was presented with an opportunity this year to take on an acting role in the musical When We Are Born, he enthusiastically took on the challenge. Bringing on board his bandmate Hawary to assist in the composition of the soundtrack, the film spins a narrative sung by Eid, playing a musician named Ahmed who is battling his father for control over his ambitions and chosen career track. We sat down with Eid after the film’s premiere at El Gouna Film Festival to discuss his first foray into acting and what the future holds.
CWM: This is your first acting role, what drew you to this film?
A.E: Definitely the music. The fact that I’d have the opportunity to write lyrics relating to particular scenes in a film was a totally new experience for me to try out. I think you enjoy life more when you are trying new things and learning! The idea I approached while working on the film was to customize the music to a certain color palate.
The acting part of the job came after all those factors. I was certainly curious. What is acting all about? I thought to myself it would be fun to try, but afterwards I didn’t find it that fun at all (laughs).
What was the hardest part of being on set as a first-time actor?
The hardest part was that I’m not an actor, (laughs)! It’s a different form of art, and it needs a lot of skills that I don’t have. I wasn’t confident, and I was always wondering whether I was doing a good job. I didn’t care about my image as Amir the singer being judged by the audience, but I definitely wanted to do a good job and not look like a bad actor on screen. I can’t really judge the experience properly just yet, but I think it was a good learning experience and I’m happy I did it.
You wrote original songs for this movie, what can fans expect from the soundtrack versus Cairokee’s music?
I’m always singing about my life and the things I see every day. What’s different about this soundtrack is I didn’t use my own experience as a basis for the lyrics, I used my imagination. It’s not my strong suit, but it was nice to delve into the movie world of fantasy for a change. It’s not really me, but it will be a nice change of pace for the Cairokee fans, I hope.
You play a musician in the film; did you find any commonalities between you and Ahmed?
Not at all, he’s the opposite of me! He’s from a privileged background, I’m not born into a rich family. He is a bit cowardly and unsure of what to do, always trying to please others rather than going after his dreams. In my own life, I’ve never been that guy. I’ve always known what I wanted and I did it, regardless of anyone else’s expectations.
The film premiered at the third edition of El Gouna Film Festival, what was it like watching yourself on the big screen?
When I watched the final result during the premiere, I could understand why so many people like acting. Watching the end product makes all the work and doubt worthwhile!
I loved attending the film festival, I’m a movie geek and a huge cinema lover. It was awesome watching movies from Morocco, Sudan, and so many interesting places. It’s great to have a cultural event like this to look forward to every year.
What projects are you currently working on?
My next project will be audio-visual, it will involve painting and the arts in a more direct sense. I’m working with an amazing artist and very good friend of mine named Mohamed Mostafa, he will paint concepts and I will make music to accompany it. He will choose a word or emotion, like for example “sadness”, and I’ll create music to accompany that painting and he will add another layer, then I’ll add lyrics and so on until the piece is complete.
When we finish the album, the launch will be in a gallery where visitors can walk through listening to the music on headphones while enjoying the accompanying art pieces. That’s my current obsession right now! I’ve always been so envious of Mohamed’s talent, so I’m so excited to be a part of it.
How about Cairokee, anything else fans can look forward to?
We’re working on a new album right now with an initial release date of August 2020, so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, we have a sold-out show happening in Paris next month, and we’re also playing in Berlin and London – we’re really excited about rocking Europe!