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All set to tour with Jools Holland

October 9 - 15, 2019
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Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille




Gulf Weekly All set to tour with Jools Holland

Singing sensation Mo Zowayed, whose sound has made people bop their heads and sway at countless concerts, will be pulling at the guitar and heart strings of music lovers in UK in December and January.

The talented composer and instrumentalist, who follows in his oud-playing father Yusuf and folk singing granddad Mohamed’s footsteps, will be supporting pianist, singer and television presenter Jools Holland…again.

Mo was first invited to support the British band leader in 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which he says was the most unbelievable experience.

“It was just out of this world,” the Ibn Khuldoon National School student explained. “The sound of five and a half thousand people clapping and cheering, especially in an iconic venue like that, is just impossible to describe.

“My band and I will be supporting Jools again for some massive shows in the UK this December in Exter, Plymouth, Cardiff and Manchester. However this time, we’re following it with a headlining tour of our own right after! We’ll be playing full shows in clubs and venues in the UK until about mid-January. I’m super excited about playing my first own headlining show in the UK too.”

Mo, an avid adventurer and worldly wanderer, is no stranger to touring and performing globally. He and his band have explored the US and have opened for major headliners including The Tedeschi Trucks Band, UB40, and Kool & The Gang. In early 2017, Mo was one of the headline acts at Bahrain’s pre-eminent musical event, The Spring of Culture, sharing the stage with artists such as Tom Jones. He also headlined at the Bahrain International Airshow.

While he has been enthralling and entertaining crowds for years, Mo believes the hype for his music truly picked up after the release of his first EP in 2016 called New York Times.

He said: “Since then, it’s been an absolutely crazy journey that’s seen me and my band tour the UK and US and play some of the most amazing shows both in Bahrain and abroad.”

And because of how “surreal”, as he put it, the last few years had been for him, by the time he sat down to write a new album, life had turned him into a completely different person.

“I just had to capture that in my music,” Mo explained. “This is why this album, That Good Love, is so special to me. Every song on it is a snapshot of the wild adventure that I’ve been on.”

The first track, Sitting on Top of the World, describes an uplifting story of his very beginnings as a musician.  He requested his first guitar at 13 and his parents were more than happy to oblige him.

Mo said: “I grew up with music so there was never really a moment when I ‘got’ into it. My dad played his oud all the time when I was a kid. He plays traditional Bahraini music and records it too.

“He was my inspiration; because singing and playing was something he did all the time. And, obviously, like most boys, what my dad did was the absolute ‘coolest’ thing to do.”

The song, Eldorado, is about his first car and the feeling everyone has as a teenager, convinced that they can change the world. 

Mo added: “The song Too Late for Dreaming is about those moments when I was consumed by the thought that my endeavours were in vain and In the Mood is about that euphoric feeling when entering a new relationship. 

“The title track That Good Love is the one I think that captures the real message: that most things in life aren’t good or bad, positive or negative, but rather, both. And it’s up to you which part to embrace.”

Mo and the band will be performing some of his latest tracks at his upcoming shows. Fans can catch him live at the University of Exeter Great Hall on December 19, at Plymouth Pavilions on December 20, at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff on December 21 and at the O2 Apollo on December 22.

For details, visit www.mozowayed.com

 

 

REVIEW: THAT GOOD LOVE – MO ZOWAYED

 

You know it’ll be a good day when Mo Zowayed calls you up to ask you if you’d like to have the very first listen to songs from his upcoming album. How could I refuse and his upbeat sound not only helped me get through the day with ease but with a smile permanently plastered on my face.

A few seconds into the first song, Sitting on Top of the World and you are engulfed in this warm feeling. Its hard-hitting intro, featuring 50’s-style electric guitars and a fuzzy B3 organ, will make you want to hug yourself. Mo explained during the interview with GulfWeekly that this song expresses his musical journey from when he was a young aspiring artiste…and it truly captured that essence.

The first verse, which immediately places you “in the sweet haze of July, when we were crazy with dreams”, goes on to describe touching and somewhat humorous moments as an up-and-coming musician. The chorus, however, is where the song gets serious - both in its lyrics and in its non-apologetic announcement of Mo’s new sound. The driving brass section, pulsing synths, and big chants, mark a massive departure from the folk elements of Mo’s first EP. 

The second song and title track of the album That Good Love is, ironically, less of a feel-good song, and more a story of conflict.  The song comes in with a soft intro of filtered electric drums and electric piano.  Again, this is a sound we’ve not heard from Mo before. While the lyrics describe an unhealthy relationship that you can’t pull yourself away from, to us, the highlight of this song is the climax that comes in the bridge.

Mo’s fans who are expecting a folk/acoustic record will not find it here.  I, however, love the new sound, with its electrifying hooks and sweet-yet-powerful vocal melodies.  The writing is original, in the way that I’ve come to expect from Mo. Overall, the recordings have addicting tape-style warmth and I can’t wait to hear the rest of it.  It’s clear that last few years have been musical and vocal growth for Mo and these songs are a testament to that.

 

– Mai Al Khatib-Camille







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