PopArabia, in conjunction with Reservoir, signs Lebanese indie music icon Zeid Hamdan
May 17, 2021, Abu Dhabi—PopArabia, the leading music publisher in the Middle East and North Africa, in conjunction with Reservoir, an award-winning independent music company, have signed writer-producer Zeid Hamdan to an exclusive deal, acquiring his catalog of master recordings and publishing works. The deal also includes the signing of Hamdan’s latest project, Bedouin Burger, to a recording agreement, with new music set for release in 2021. This signing builds on an increasingly strong international roster and deepens Reservoir and PopArabia’s commitment to cultivating diverse artists’ voices in the region and exporting them to the rest of the world.
Zeid Hamdan has undoubtedly been one of the most important musical figures in the Middle East over the last few decades. Named one of eight “Leading Lights in Lebanese Culture” by CNN, his diversity as an artist and producer first started shaping the discourse of Middle Eastern music in 2001.
Musically, Hamdan has successfully blended his Middle Eastern roots with a spectrum of influences including punk, electronic, and folk. His work with Soapkills in the early noughties not only pioneered a regional independent scene in the Arab world by brilliantly marrying rock and electronic music, but also launched both his career and that of bandmate, Yasmine Hamdan. Through his bands, The New Government and Zeid and the Wings, Hamdan channeled his unique brand of indie-alternative rock, while continuing to push musical boundaries in the region through his imprint, the Lebanese Underground.
Hamdan’s incredible diversity as a musician has established him as an in-demand producer, working with cutting-edge artists like Egypt’s Maryam Saleh and Lebanon’s Remie Akl, among others. Hamdan has equally impressive credits as a film & TV composer, having scored music for dozens of films, television series, documentaries, and global advertising campaigns. In 2019 he produced the music for Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum, a film which highlighted the plight of Syrian refugees and was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category that year.
The formation of Bedouin Burger marks yet another change of musical direction for Hamdan as he teams up with Syrian singer Lynn Adib to create a stunning fusion of Bedouin music and contemporary electronica.
The duo has been working together for several years and released remarkable singles, including their debut ‘Taht El Wared’ (Beneath the Roses), blending Arabic poetry with analogue synths, snippets of Egyptian pop, and Hamdan’s trademark indie-pop sound.
Whether working as an artist, producer, or composer, Hamdan is without question one of the Middle East’s seminal figures in music and one who continues to evolve with each new project.
Commenting on the deal, Zeid Hamdan said, “I’m extremely honored and excited to share my passion with a team that understands my vision and shares my ambition. This is the right deal for the right time in my career, with a team that has global reach and has fought for artist rights in this region.”
Added PopArabia founder and Reservoir EVP of International and Emerging Markets Spek, “It’s such a thrill to be working with someone of Zeid’s immense talent and his pioneering spirit. I am very proud that he has entrusted PopArabia with his diverse catalog, and we look forward to working with Lynn and Zeid on bringing Bedouin Burger’s awesome music to the world.”
In addition to providing creative support alongside PopArabia, Reservoir will pitch and market the catalog for synch and marketing opportunities, while amplifying Hamdan’s catalog in the West. In 2020 PopArabia announced a partnership and joint venture with New York-headquartered Reservoir to sign and develop Arabic talent to export around the world.
PopArabia was founded in 2011 by former Canadian hip hop artist, music executive and entrepreneur Spek, in partnership and with ongoing support from twofour54 Abu Dhabi - the media zone that is home to the region’s entertainment industry. In 2020 PopArabia announced a partnership and joint venture with New York headquartered Reservoir to sign and develop Arabic talent to export around the world.
Reservoir is an independent music company based in New York City and with offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, Toronto, London, and Abu Dhabi. Founded as a family owned music publisher in 2007, the company has grown to represent over 130,000 copyrights and 30,000 master recordings with titles dating as far back as 1900, and hundreds of #1 releases worldwide. Reservoir holds a regular Top 10 U.S. Market Share according to Billboard’s Publishers Quarterly, was twice named Publisher of the Year by Music Business Worldwide’s The A&R Awards, and won Independent Publisher of the Year at the 2020 Music Week Awards.
Its publishing catalog includes historic pieces written and performed by greats like Billy Strayhorn, Hoagy Carmichael, and John Denver; the contemporary-classic catalogs of Sheryl Crow and Phantogram; and current award-winning hits performed by the likes of Lady Gaga, Camila Cabello, Bruno Mars, Cardi B and more. The company’s roster of active writers and producers includes the award-winning James Fauntleroy, Ali Tamposi, and Jamie Hartman, plus popular performing artists 2 Chainz, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and Migos’ Offset and Takeoff.
Reservoir’s collection of film music includes rights to scores created by award winning composer-producer Hans Zimmer, as heard in the motion pictures The Lion King, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Gladiator, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and over 150 other titles.
The company also represents a multitude of recorded music through Chrysalis Records and Philly Groove Records and manages artists through its ventures with Blue Raincoat Music and Big Life Management.