Every artist wants to leave their imprint on the world; to be recognized for doing something great, something no one else has ever done before.
Not everyone is able to reach such heady heights of success. But then again, Tamer Hosny isn’t just anyone. The Egyptian sensation is a multitasker who has been dazzling the Arab world with his singing, acting, composing, and writing since the early 2000s.
“When I started, I promised myself to never settle for mediocrity and never walk the lines of anyone else. I want to be myself and leave my own fingerprint on the industry. I am always on something or towards something,” says Hosny calmly as he poses for the Vogue Man cameras at a photo shoot in Cairo.
Hosny needs no introduction in the region-his 7.5 million followers on Instagram and 18 million fans on Facebook ensure that he is rarely out of the public eye. He is regularly seen with his circle of family and friends or in public places surrounded by thousands of dedicated fans.
His star status was given a significant global boost when he was invited to leave his mark in front of Hollywood’s famed TCL Chinese Theatre. In August this year, Hosny became the first Egyptian and the first Arab artist to receive this honor, with his foot and hand prints proudly cast in cement next to luminaries such as Jack Nicholson and Sean Connery.
Despite his growing international status, Hosny still exudes a humbleness and sense of humor that is both warm and engaging. As the sun beats down on the shoot at the historical Manial Palace, Hosny is perfectly at ease; flashing his confident smile and offering a joke or two every time feeling of stress or tiredness start to rise. As he slips into a perfectly tailored suit, Hosny glances at his reflection in the mirror before admitting that his normal attire is about as far away from today’s smart look as you can get. Although suits will always have a special appeal to the superstar, his preferred style is to put comfort first.
“Clothes are not a major concern for me,” he says. “But when I fall for a certain piece, I wear it on a loop. One of our most common arguments at home is about the clothes. Sometimes, my wife would point out how I have been wearing the same T-shirt or jeans for two weeks. But I’d still refuse to wear anything else! She even once resorted to hiding several pieces to force me to wear other things,” Hosny says laughingly. “I kept searching until I found them-and promptly started wearing them again.”
The versatile artist is closely associated with fashion, and his personal style has proved to be a big hit with young men across the region. As the cameras flash in his direction, Hosny is asked about seeing fashion clones on every street corner from Cairo to Abu Dhabi. He takes a few seconds before nostalgically thinking back to his early days as Egypt’s newest phenomenon. “I remember taking the time to analyze the style and fashion of celebrities at the time. Their shaved faces and wrinkle-free shirts made them feel distant and foreign to me,” he says.
He couldn’t see how young men could relate to these stars in everyday life, so he chose a more unorthodox direction for his personal style. He was keen on being himself and kept away from the picture-perfect presentation of his contemporaries. It proved to be one of his defining attributes, with young men around the region quickly copying his look, from the unbuttoned shirt to his spontaneous bed-head hair style.
As Hosny became known as a fashion trendsetter, major international brands such as Police eyewear began to look in his direction. “I was selected by Police as its first regional ambassador. I was a fan of the brand, so the campaign was quite dear to me,” says Hosny. “They contacted me after noticing how my personal look has become a regional trend and before I knew it, pictures of me wearing Police sunglasses looked back at me at every shopping mall in the country.”
Without a trace of pride in his voice, Hosny explains how his young age and relative short time in the industry have made him a target for criticism, especially from those who think his success and popularity have been exaggerated. The singer giggles as he recalls being greeted by thousands of fans in airports all over the world.
“Anyone’s normal reaction would be to say, ‘Stop exaggerating’. But we live in a digital era when everything could easily be proven.” His busy schedule will soon see him film the next season of talent shoe The Voice Kids, launch his new single, “Allah Shahid,” with the program’s young talents, and start a world tour. There is also the small matter of his upcoming duet with Algerian/Moroccan singer Cheb Khaled. Hosny is a busy man and spends most of his days working.
When he is not in the recording studio, he can be found on stage serenading huge crowds across the region. His talents extend to film too, with the star directing and acting in movies as well as appearing in TV shows. His appeal extends beyond the Middle East. Hosny has successfully crossed over to English audiences thanks to collaborations with Snoop Dogg and Shaggy.
As the photo shoot moves from one hall to another, Hosny and his wife, Bassma Boussil, touch base between outfits. A quick glimpse at his social media shows how close their relationship is. Boussil is a constant presence at her husband’s public appearances and, in turn, he supports her fashion shows. The pair met when Hosny was working as producer and mentor during Boussil’s early days in show business.
He smiles while scanning the room in search of his wife. His grim widening as he talks about his support for her move into the world of fashion. “She has always been interested in fashion. She would often style me. During the first season of The Voice Kids, she took care of my wardrobe. By the time we finished shooting, we were both confident that she needed to pursue a career in fashion,” he says. The close pair, who have two daughters, punctuates the photo shoot with smiles, warm glances, and brief chats. With his laid-back style, easy charm and warm personality, it seems Hosny is a natural when it comes to fashion and superstardom.